Saturday, March 7, 2009

If It Crawls, It's Dinner

Out in the drizzle and mizzle this morning. We thought if it was going to continue all day, there was no point waiting. Rewarded with an even closer view of the white heron we have seen every morning here. If hshe can stand the wet, the least we can do is be out there to marvel at hir beauty.

Another reward for braving the rain was that as soon as we returned to base, the sun came out and it has been a mainly fine day ever since. But what can you do?

We shall be leaving Hokitika on Monday morning, and not a moment too soon. Next weekend, starting Friday, one of the town's greatest attractions takes place. This is the Hokitika Wild Foods Festival. Clearly a great draw for many, this would be a nightmare for me. It is a very small town, but the population swells by anything up to 20,000 for the event. So, black mark number one in my eyes, immense crowds.

There is of course, despite attempts to control it, a very large amount of drinking and drunkenness in the streets, Gay was talking to somebody the other day who, at last year's Wild Foods, filled 5 bin-bags with empty bottles from his garden and round about – and this is in a street with signs up saying “alcohol-free zone” (we have never seen those signs anywhere else but New Zealand, and they are common here).

What all these people come here for is the opportunity of eating all sorts of horrors like huhu grubs, wild boar and snails. One review of last year's Festival said “If it crawls, its dinner at the phenomenally popular Wild Foods Festival, during the second weekend in March. Opossum, kangaroo, and grasshopper are among the tamer entrees”. Not quite our scene.

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