Today I’m off on road trip, to spend a few weeks on my own in the North Island. So you can expect a change from the South Island scenery in recent posts. I’ll be visiting family, old friends from my days in the pulp and paper industry as well as taking photographs. Mostly on my own behalf, but also for an assignment from a local lifestyle magazine.
I’ll begin with the journey over to Picton and the ferry crossing to Wellington. As I was packing last night, I thought of a story told by a German friend with a rather cruel sense of humour. He keeps himself amused by guiding groups of visitors from his homeland on their New Zealand tour. While it’s usually good fun (he doesn’t need the money), apparently sometimes it can get tedious. After facing a lot of inane questions from one particular group, he decided he had finally had enough. They were travelling south from the North Island on the Interislander, about to arrive at the Picton terminal.
He explained that because of the parochial, independent nature of South Island people, foreign nationals are be required to produce their passports at the internal border. (This is of course not actually true, I hasten to add.) It would not be a problem however, because some recently introduced technology had sped up the process considerably. All they had to do was to open their passport at the photo page, press it against the glass of the large window to their right as they entered the terminal building and touch their nose to the glass beside their open passport. Modern image recognition technology would do the rest as high resolution cameras matched their photos with their face and checked their passport details.
Imagine what the office workers saw as the visitors lined up, following his instructions! One of the tourists, puzzled by the laughter and finger-pointing, turned to my friend for an explanation. They were not impressed to find him rolling in the aisle with laughter, along with other travellers I imagine. I think he was severely reprimanded.