Day 62

Level 2 Chi Kung. Microcosmic orbit. Swimming with the children. Bus trip to Amalfi.

I have travelled in matatus in Kenya, local buses in Tanzania and Zim (which, at the time, most whites regarded as a fairly reliable way to commit suicide) and rode (many times) in Harari’s notorious ETs (emergency taxis). And I have of course, many, many times, traversed the Hill. For South Islanders, no further specification is required. For the benefit of others, I am, of course referring to the Takaka Hill, gateway to Golden Bay, which I am now told is a ‘spiritual centre’ but which I knew more as the type of place where 13 year old girls occasionally boarded the school bus too stoned to speak (and no, I don’t mean me). Long before the road was fixed up and smoothed out and tamed to its current, fairly-civilised form, I was driven over it by a boy-racer with a death wish (no, not Nick), by a Newman’s bus driver who casually delivered newspapers as he drove (rolling them up and heaving them out the window as he wrestled the enormous bus around the hairpin bends) and have driven it myself in mid-winter on black ice, in a mini with erratic steering, in mid-summer in an unfamiliar sports car in a state of shock and grief… But I can safely say that I have never experienced a more hair-raising journey than today’s bus trip to Amalfi. It started off well enough – we zipped through Minori and Marmorata, hardly killing anybody. It was just the other side of Marmorata that we met a stream of traffic coming towards us, lead by an enormous bus, identical to ours. There was a shouted exchange between drivers, but with no way to pass and nowhere to turn around, something had to give. So we passed through Marmorata again – backwards and rather more slowly. We eventually reached a part of the road where, if our driver pressed our bus right up against the cliff, it was just possible for the other bus, and the cars following it, to edge past us along the very edge of the sheer drop. The waiting was obviously hard on our driver’s nerves though, because, before the stream of traffic coming towards us had dried up, he suddenly started moving forward, with the result that we quickly got stuck again. This time however he was not going to be the one who backed down, and I feared for the lives of the two women in the car and the girl on the scooter, who had to somehow manoeuvre around us. Even the locals looked a little alarmed.

A very ornate church in Amalfi.
A very ornate church in Amalfi.

20140813 Ceramics on the Amalfi Coast

When I see the garish ceramics on sale here (often at very high prices) I begin to understand why visitors to NZ who make it as far as Brightwater, tend to fall into Royce McGlashan’s arms and buy up the shop.


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