Sunday, February 14, 2010

my valentine

I'll always remember the Valentine's Day Jon and I both forgot. It was back in 2004 during our bike tour in New Zealand. Just before the summit of Lewis Pass, on the South Island, we stopped for the evening to stay at a hot springs resort. The guidebook said there was a hostel, but we learned they had closed that accommodation and had no vacancies. They would, after our pleading, allow us camp on the grounds and provided towels and access to the natural pools.

We soaked in the pools that later afternoon, then had dinner in the cafe before turning in for the night, hanging our towels on some nearby trees. Our only accommodation was an outhouse (which in NZ is called a "longdrop").

It rained that night and in the morning we decided to go inside for breakfast. I should add that the staff was pretty cool to us the night before, which was such a contrast to the warm welcomes we'd received every other place we'd stayed, so we were hesitant to return to the cafe. But we were cold and didn't feel like starting our day on the wet lawn next to our tent.

We took our seats and noticed a man at the next table covering the tabletop with flowers and red confetti. We looked at each other. February 14. It was Valentine's Day. No wonder the place was full! Was that why the staff were stressed? We laughed at ourselves at how we'd lost track of the days except for knowing the dates of our ferry and train tickets back to Auckland.

Today, we know it's the 14th. We're going to take surfing lessons. What else? I don't know. As long as we're hanging out together, it's a good day.

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