We walked on the beach with our heads down. Shells and smooth rocks littered the sand. We collected shells in the past but told ourselves it would be crazy to start again on this extended trip around the world. Our little roll-on suitcases are already full. Still, we couldn’t resist looking. Then we spotted this beauty. Well, maybe we can find a little extra room in the suitcase.
We hadn’t even intended to take a beach walk. The cloudy sky called for a different walk. We consulted our map and chose a neighborhood with street names like “Kestrel Heights” and “Coral Sea”. Off we went, out the back gate and down the path to cut through Arkles Strand.
Once on sandy Arkles Strand, we spent a long time walking from one end to the other, adding a new shell or two or three to our pockets. Then off the beach and onto a neighborhood street, we picked up a little walking speed until we reached a storm water retention pond. Many ducks call this pond home and glide through the water happily.
Walking in new places has led us to many happy discoveries, and one of the best in Whangaparaoa is the pedestrian walkways. Many roads are not through streets but are connected for walkers by marked paths. These paths can also provide access to beaches and parks. So, our walk that day led us down a pedestrian walkway into a large open lawn where three spur-winged plovers wandered in the distance. They flew away as we cut across the grass in search of the next walkway.
The clouds hung low and the sun blazed down as we walked on. We had become thirsty. A shopping area ahead drew us like an oasis in the desert. “A Coke float, please,” Beth ordered. We got a blank stare. No floats in New Zealand. Determined to have her coke float after a hot and long walk, Beth improvised. First, she ordered a scoop of chocolate ice cream in a very tall cup, “Yes, like the smoothie comes in, please.” Then she asked for a straw, spoon, and Coke on the side. No problem. She put it all together in the tall cup. Wow, it was delicious!
And, wow!, it had been a great day in the “slow zone”.