We had been dropped off at the beginning of this road by a local in the morning. We told him where we were headed and he wished us good luck. Seven kilometers later we were still walking and had no idea how much progress we had actually made (7km was what we thought the whole walk would take). Seven kilometers wasn’t a whole lot but with fifty pound packs it wasn’t much fun trudging along on concrete. The road was reasonably hilly and surrounded on most sides by cleared farmland. Cattle gave us inquisitive stares as we walked uncomfortably close. Often they followed us as far as they could, running parallel to the road and then stopping and watching and running again to keep up.
The car pulled up next to us and the man inside asked where we were headed. We told him and he informed us it was another seven or eight kilometers up the road. He couldn’t help us out much as he was just going up to the next house. He pointed. It was at the top of the next hill. Five minutes walk. He offered us a ride but we told him thanks anyway, it seemed pointless. He seemed unsure about the situation. He clearly didn’t think we could make it. We must have looked tired or something. He drove on, but we knew he hadn’t stopped thinking about us. As we suspected when we reached the top he was standing at the end of the drive. He told us we had two options. Either we continue on walking, or we come in to the house and have lunch with him and he’ll give us a ride after. Like almost every local he was very generous and had a good sense of humor. It seemed like a pretty obvious choice. This wasn’t actually his land or his house. He worked the cattle on the land. It was one of several properties his boss owned in the area.
At the house he introduced us to another man; they were both presumably in their sixties. The second guy said we could go inside, his wife was in there and lunch would be ready soon. Lunch was melted cheese sandwiches with 'pickle'. They were very good company, constantly joking at each others expense in the most good humored way imaginable. Many New Zealanders are like this.
After lunch was finished we got our promised ride all the way to our destination. Of course now that we were in the comfort of a car it started to rain. Once again in our travels, an almost disastrous day saved by the grace of the locals.
Then, later, the rain started coming down again. It was harder this time. There wasn’t any wind, not even a breeze but the rain was intense. The rain. It was escalating. Not gradually but in sudden increments. It would die off for a second and then come back harder and more intense than before. And then we realized as the rain thundered down, hitting the concrete ground just outside of the roof with tremendous force that this was the most intense rain we had ever seen. I’ve seen storms back home when the wind is blowing gale force and the rain is sweeping off the roofs of the neighboring houses, so thick in the air you can’t see more than fifty yards down the street. But this was different. It was just the rain. There were no other forces intervening to make it look worse. Just pure rain. The storms back home usually only lasted half an hour at most. The rain would dissipate and the sun would be instantly showing itself again as if it couldn’t wait for the rain to actually stop first. And sure, there are sun showers here. A lot of them in fact. But after, the rain just keeps on coming. It doesn’t stop. It never stops. The weather here seems to come in weeks. One week of sun. One week of rain.