Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Whae's like us? And where are we?
NZ may be proud of its Scottish heritage, but we don't seem to be flocking here nowadays. I met a Scottish traveller at Rotorua the other day, she was the first I've spoken to since I left home. Whereas I've met any number of Dutch, Israelis, and Irish, none of whom I'd have expected to be travelling in greater numbers than us. Plus as many Germans as all the rest put together. Where are we all?
Maybe I'm just in the wrong places. There is a special breed of traveller who arrives in a City Centre hostel, and settles in to drink coffee, watch DVDs, moan about their lack of money and the impossibility of getting a job, and never moves on. Having spent only 2 nights in City hostels here I haven't met many of them, and I wouldn't want to think this was what the missing Scots are doing, but maybe...
Anyway, doesn't stop the locals paying tribute to us in all sorts of ways. A couple of examples (see photos) are a special Scottish section (which doesn't accentuate the bagpipes and silly dancing image quite as much as the photo implies) at Te Papa museum in Wellington. And a sculpture (ok, it may be coincidence) of the 'Worst Toilet in Scotland' scene in Trainspotting, from the delightfully wacky Waiau Water Park on the Coramandel Peninsula.
Regardless of how may of us come, some of us stay. I spent 2 nights with Caroline Bagshaw and family near Hamilton. Caroline's the sister of Roger whose tragic early death I mentioned in April. She was the year below me at school though our paths seldom crossed then and never subsequently. She moved here 16 years ago and the rest of her family followed. I couldn't have asked for better hospitality, especially in the circumstances, and glad I had the chance to belatedly pay my respects; I couldn't make the funeral as I only heard about it the day before.