Expat Magazine

Meet Rocket

By Thebangtoddowenwaldorf @BangLiving

“Are you excited?”Meet Rocket

“I am, but I’ll be more excited on the way back.”

“What do you mean?”

“There’s a lot involved. If one thing hangs up it could fall apart.”

“It won’t.”

“I know, but it could.”

I was sitting with my legs against my chest, in a small car that had gotten smaller, with the five of us crammed into it. One was a seven foot Kiwi bloke dressed all business with a fishing rain jacket on. He sat in the middle of the rear and split the two to each side of him like a hotdog to bun. On the one side was a middle aged woman wearing all black who said the train had only been late three times in the last year.

“I take the early to avoid having to stand,” she told me.

On the other side was me.  I wasn’t sure who was driving but I was glad that he was. I had overheard the seven feet of all business tell the early riser that the train was cancelled.

That’s four for the year.

The bloke had a mate coming to give him a lift. The train station was nearly empty. Four of us waited in thick fog with wristwatches that hadn’t broke five o’clock. The fourth of our party was a stocky bald man with white Beats by Dre headphones and a please don’t talk to me demeanor. As he starred down the track I wondered what world those beats had taken him to.

It worked out that the Kiwi with the to-good-to-be-true friend, who was coming to pick him up, would take the whole lot of us to the next town where the next train was running. Behind a man that I had spoken so little but a showing of gratitude, next to another who’s I shared a similar relationship, I sat with my knees to my chest watching the night shift end to the light blues of the morning.

 “Are you excited?” she had said.

It was a forty-five minute walk from the train station to the ferry. I could have taken a shuttle but that option died with the train that never showed. Walking along the quay next to the 2012 rugby champs’ stadium, All Blacks, a light rain started to fall.

I shouldn’t have worn the fleece. I’ll be wet for the next few hours.

I had been on this ferry once already. The first was to give a deposit to the couple that was selling the van. I wanted to make sure they wouldn’t sell it to anyone else. After all, it’s a pretty sick van. The only way to get from the south island to the north island is by ferry. A month after I gave the couple the deposit I would return to pick up the van. That was today.

The ship is massive, and the journey takes a leisurely three hours. It’s more like an ocean cruise for sightseeing tourists than a ferry. On board there’s a children’s cinema, playground, cafes, sleeping quarters, private berths, VIP rooms,  look-out decks, gift shops, and an information center that comes with two smiles and a table of brochures. The captain’s voice over the intercom announces when to look to the port, left, and starboard, to the right, to see Maori settled islands, salmon farms, and green sprayed hills that begin at the light blue waters edge, or end there, and have interesting stories that I never seem to remember.

I stood near a giant window looking starboard and watched the town of Picton. The ferry had slowed and begun to turn using thrusters that made the ship groan. The rattling came when the ship moved aft with fine precision into the massive dock built specially for it. I scanned the parking lot beyond a building. I looked for a mix of rainbow colors amidst the blacks, maroons, dark blues, silvers, and whites. I was looking for an unmistakable image and had spotted it straight away.

We’re going to have a lot of fun in that van.

I was excited.

Meet Rocket

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