Today I spent a lovely day in Browns Bay. The reason for my trip was quite mundane. I had to get my fingerprints done in order to send in my FBI request for my background check for my next round of Visa applications! Hooray! It’s that time again! We are all so joyous, can’t you feel it?
After getting my prints done up I had the afternoon to wander around and enjoy the town. And while I did not get into the residential areas of town, it’s still lovely. It’s actually what I think of now when I think of small towns on the coast in New Zealand.
There’s a main street that has all of the shops and cafes, the little bakeries and chemists. There’s the housewares store and the book store. The camera shop and the pet shop. And there’s the jewelry store and the cafes. About half dozen cafes in all, not including the obligatory Starbucks. There are offshoot roads that lead to more shops, including a wool shop with very friendly staff!
But just behind the row of shops is exactly what I think of when my brain ponders the East Coast of New Zealand. An expanse of green grass, not too long, and a smattering of trees that leads right to a small drop of and poof, you’re in sand. And just there, a ways from the green grass, is the water.
The tide was out while I was there, sitting on the grassy knoll and looking out across the bay. The sand stretches quite a ways when the tide is out, you could probably easily walk thirty or forty, or even fifty feet, out from ‘shore’ and still not be in too deep of water that you could not get back. Since this was the first sustained ‘nice’ day in a while, everybody was out along the water with their kids and their dogs. And tourists and visitors as well. You could watch the dogs race along the beach, happily chasing one another, or a ball, or a stick three times their own size. Or squawking unhappy seagulls. Or you could lift your eyes a bit and marvel at how the light hitting the water changed the color so dramatically.
For most of the bay the water seemed to be that typical dark blue that most people associate with a large body of water. Blue, not brown. This is so far from the Atlantic Ocean and the East Coast of the US that the two are not even comparable. the only place that I’ve seen a coastline similar is Maine, and the water there is dark blue and brown and bitterly cold. The sand in Maine is more like fresh rocks, and not quite sand. Although the Beaches that I’ve visited so far here have been full of their own rocks as well, and seashells too. not the fragments of shells that we see in Delaware, but full shells, and gorgeous.
But I’m digressing.
The water changed to a brilliant cyan, almost aqua color as the light hit and played on it. I think some of that also had to do with depth, because there were some areas within the turquoise beauty that held onto the deep blue of the wider water. You could almost look and see just how far you could walk out, simply by the colors in front of you. A bit further out, was the bright orange and red and yellow of somebody’s sailboat, enjoying this weather and the water.
And then further east still there is more land, you could look across and see the homes of those that lived high on the cliffs, and the shiny walls of a big business. And ever present in the slightly southerly distance is Rangitoto. That large volcanic island’s presence ever looming over the East Coast Bays Region (Kiwis are so awesome at naming things. Seriously), with a mix of magnanimous permanency and that subtle reminder that it’s still a volcano, and capable of just about anything.
But those are thoughts for the back of your mind, not the forefront. No in the foremost part of your mind you’re sitting there, enjoying your tea or coffee, and the shade of the large pine tree, watching a small pit bull drag a stick three times his weight after his owners. You’re looking out over the sand and the rocks and the waves and not thinking much at all. Other than just how beautiful this place is. And just how New Zealand this place is.
And how so very lucky I am to live here.