Something odd happened in the far north. Goodbye Kaitaia, hello Whangarei!

I knew there was something special about Kaitaia very early on. When I messaged earlier in the week to ask if we were able to park outside the Kaitaia EcoCentre for the day as part of our Cookie Bus Tour, they replied with “Yes sure, but there are many potholes in our carpark so please don’t fall into one!” (Exhibit A of cuteness). Then when we arrived to set up outside, I went in to greet myself & was given this tiny watermelon free. (Exhibit B of cuteness).

I know a tiny watermelon doesn’t sound that exciting. But I seem to have a heightened amount of enthusiasm for anything that is not regular sized — so giant or miniature versions of things really get me going. My staff obviously know this about me as when I walked to the EcoCentre, Hayley my baker yelled out “Can you get a tiny watermelon?” but I had already gone so I didn’t hear, so she said to Justin “Oh, De will get one, because it’s De”. Then lo-and-behold, 1 minute later I came running back onto the bus clutching a mini watermelon exclaiming “Guys, guys, guys! Look what I got! A mini watermelon!”.

So. This might explain why there is a Giant Snorlax on Tour with us. You may have seen him in our tour photos & probably wondered why he is wearing his very own Size 2XL Team Mo t-shirt. Firstly, because well, why WOULDN’T YOU have a Giant Snorlax on tour with you? And secondly, Snorlax is on tour with me because I have to prove to J that Snorlax has some greater purpose. You see, I got Snorlax last week in my final days in Taiwan. I first laid eyes on Snorlax in DanShui markets in Taipei & immediately wanted to buy him — but J being the logical half and me being the overly optimistic yet irrational other-half, told me not to get him, posing adult-like questions such as “We have 3 more weeks of travelling in Taiwan & Vietnam, De. How are you going to look after Snorlax then?” or “How are you going to bring him home to New Zealand?”,

Me: “Er…obviously I’m going to take him on the plane with me!”

J: “I don’t think the airlines will let you…”

Me: “Well then I’ll buy him an extra seat on the plane then!” (yes, because buying an extra $700 plane ticket back to NZ for a $50 Snorlax is such a good idea).

But in our final days in Taiwan, we went to the night market in Kaohsiung & there on display was a giant Snorlax to be won from a mahjong-type game. I think J could see that my eyes had turned into Puss in Boots eyes, so we sat down & played.

And the rest, well the rest is history.

Anyway, I don’t even know what the purpose of this story is. Except that, well, SNORLAX DESERVES TO BE ON TEAM MO OKAY & THAT IS WHY HE IS ON TOUR WITH US.

Anywhooo…Exhibit C of why I knew Kaitaia was a special place was that something very odd that has never happened to me before, happened here. We were given gifts & cards to thank us for coming to Kaitaia when really we should be the ones thanking them as we are the visitors and they are the hosts — this feeling was captured when Hayley said “I’ve never heard of people giving gifts because a food truck came to their town”. And that says something about the people of Kaitaia and their hospitality & aroha. There has been a lot of bad press & ill-conceived ideas about Kaitaia in the media as of late but, I just get a special feeling here. It’s a very beautiful place with equally beautiful people.

I can’t say it enough, thank you Kaitaia for coming out to meet our big little milk & cookie bus. I am simply blown away. For 7 hours straight, this was our view from inside the bus.

The community came out in such strong force that our bus was left with no dough, no milk, no water in our tank & no cups left. Supplies that were meant to last us the entire rest of the week for Whangarei. We had to make an S.O.S call back home to Team Mo in Auckland, “Clear your schedule, we need you to come to Northland NOW. And bring everything with you.”

It is now 1:44am. We only arrived in Whangarei about an hour or so ago at midnight. Work during the day, travel by night. The others are asleep — meanwhile here I am cursing myself for promising to write every day of tour. Ha ha, the start is always the hardest. They say it takes 6 weeks to form a habit — my tour also happens to be 6 weeks. So maybe after tour I’ll be blogging more regularly out of habit as opposed to force. Here’s hoping.

We have a 6:45am start tomorrow so I best be off now.

You know you love your little business when it’s 2am and you’re still excited for work tomorrow.

See you soon Whangarei — 10am-2pm outside Whangarei Pak ‘N Save (Thu, 26th Jan) or 12–7pm outside Kamo Hotel (Fri, 27th Jan).

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