Philly's Favorite Barman Knows All
As promised, this week we attack New Zealand-which
I visited recently.
I saw only the south island, but it seemed like the whole world
was represented there-Ireland meets Hawaii with the Alps in the middle, and
Scandinavia and the Caribbean thrown in. The cities seemed like well-kept English
We'd decided that a campervan would be a great way to see
the country, but it wasn't necessarily a great way to meet the natives. Unless
you threw in a faulty battery and a wonky clutch.
We were stranded a few times, and met many helpful people. Very
friendly people who would drive you into the nearest town and back, and think nothing
of it. If you're ever lonely in New Zealand, just pop your hood up, sit back
and enjoy the friendly curiosities of a different culture.
We hiked most days by turquoise lakes, dark fjords or blue glaciers.
The Kiwis refer to hiking as "tramping," which of course got me all excited
when I saw a sign for a tour company advertising "trips 'n' tramps."
On the morning of our departure home, we thought we'd take one last drive to
the end of this dramatic peninsula. The clutch decided to leave us on a steep hill
outside a small Maori community. There was much grinding and smoke. Technically
speaking, we were bollixed. We had to be at the airport in a few hours, and our
van wasn't going anywhere.
Well along comes the cavalry in the form of a Maori woman all
dressed in green. Polly was her name, and she greeted us by rubbing noses with us
and saying, "Kia ora." She was wearing an Irish rugby jersey and a jade
shamrock around her neck. It turned out our savior was born on St. Patrick's
Day and adored everything Irish. Call it "the luck" if you like, but we
were grateful. She made calls for us, drove me back and forth to her house, and
was totally hospitable. The rental company sent someone for us, so we packed all
our belongings into trash bags (our suitcases were back at the rental office), piled
them on the side of the road, and basically dumped our campervan where it sat. The
driver finally came to pick us up, and we made it to our flight with nothing to
So there you have it. We traveled halfway around the world to
be saved by a paddy-loving Polynesian princess. Slainte!
Got a burning question for Fergie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fergie presides over Fergie's Pub (1214 Sansom St. 215.928.8118. www.fergies.com)
and has interest in other watering holes around the city.