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Orange men

Another favourite orange thing.

(addendum: I’ve recently read more of this guy’s work. Have now discovered that he is in fact all the things I hate about the world I live in. I’ll shell my eggs the normal way thanks.)

touring recipes : camembert pasta

There are two universal truths known to cycle tourists; first that one should never carry any unnecessary weight on the ride and second that at the end of each day there is a ravenous feeling of emptiness that can only be filled by food packed with carbs and preferably (though not always necessarily) deliciousness.

These two truths can sometimes contend with each other. For example, do I want to carry all this ham up that hill? And, yes it would be lighter to just carry this loaf of bread, but I’d really also like to carry this leg of deli ham and block of hard cheese to make this bread even more delicious. And so forth.

So, unless you’re doing what’s called a ‘Credit card tour’* you’re going to have to carry food. In my time without a tour (known also as the wilderness months of sadness and dissolution) I will endeavour to record creative and delicious and economical and light (in weight) meals to satisfy the touring stomach.

My first receipe is a bastardisation of what I usually eat when I’m not touring, and what’s available at the time. There’s nothing more delicious than a beautifully cooked pasta meal. And I mean, delicious pasta. Homemade pasta, sauce from scratch – as in the only thing from the bottle is maybe tomato paste.

Obviously this not possible when touring because it takes too long to make and also because you don’t really want to carry all the ingredients. So my first suggestion when touring is to get a little herbs and spices box. I think a few little tins could do this job – like those vintage tins that hipsters use to keep their mints, or just an old mint tin. Whatever. Fill one with pepper, one with salt (and rice to stop the salt from absorbing too much atmospheric moisture) and another with your most versatile mix of herbs – I personally would choose some basil, oregano, rosemary and maybe some lemon grass. I would also have a fourth tin for dried garlic – just because I have a problem, and this problem is to always be surrounded by deliciousness.

Then all you need to pack in your pannier is some pasta (flat pasta types are best for space economy), any tomato-type sauce, and then some camembert cheese. I know this sounds crazy – but just go with it. Here’s what you do. Cook the pasta in boiling water as usual, and then pour out most of the water – keeping maybe a quarter of a cup in with the pasta. Then pour in your sauce and herbs and stir it until the sauce has picked up some of the temperature and heated up. Most bottled pasta sauces don’t need to be cooked – just heated up.

Obviously by now you would have stolen some packets of sugar from every cafe or shop that you stopped at to fill up on water supplies. Sprinkle about half a sachet of sugar over the pasta and stir it again. This takes the edge off the acidity of the preservatives in the sauce. Season the sauce and put in some extra herbs if the bottled sauce needs a little something-something to get it going. Then toss in some chopped up chunks of camembert cheese and continue to stir until the cheese is melted and the colour of the sauce has changed from a bright acidic red to the sweeter red of love. Serve immediately and eat – I recommend eating it straight out of the pot and then using a couple of slices of bread to wipe up the remaining sauce and cheese off the sides.

If you need meat, then adding a tin of tuna could also go into this meal, or if you’re in a fancy mood, carrying a couple of vacuum sealed chorizo sausages should be easy. The only thing about this would be that you have to fry it up in a separate pan. Although the fat juices from the chorizo would make a lovely addition to the flavours in the meal – and would give you a little extra kick for the ride the next day.

The best part about this meal is that it could take less then 15 minutes to prepare; it’s cheap and it’s crammed full of carbs. It has the bonus of being delicious, with a few ingredients and a great flavour too.

Now here are some carb-related images to tide you over while the water boils:

 

*For rich people and others who have sugar daddies (which if I continue to cycle as much as I intend – I may be hot enough to attain said sugar daddy, in which case – stuff this, put all my food expenses on this Gold Credit Card made of real gold).

photo book : queenstown to the end

day x (where x = the remaining days) : Haast to Greymouth

Dear Gerwood,

The final leg of my ride, as you know, was along the South Island’s West Coast, the land of the sandflies and moderate hills and wonderful rainforest-like scenery – but mostly the sandflies.

It was New Years Eve when I rode the easy ride from Haast to LakeParinga. There were three moderate inclines, but they were all long the beach front. Every now and then, through the trees I would see a glimpse of a blue horizon where I couldn’t tell the difference between the sea and the sky. A small battle with a gravel pathway was my only obstacle, and before long I was at the top of the mountain at Knight’s Point.

As I pulled into the lookout I did a quick round on my bike to check for escapes, in case of zombies, and also to see where to best stop with my bike. As I rode around I felt eyes watching me, and I quickly found the head to which they belonged. Eating lunch at the lookout were also two other cycle tourists. Shortly after stopping we greeted each other. The Mexican had lived in Auckland for some time and was cycling around before going home, and the Beautiful French, like me, was on holiday. We soon discovered that we had been visiting and staying in the same towns, but we never seemed to cross paths. Their plan was to continue past Lake Paringa and sleep on the beach somewhere, where they would have been eaten by the sandflies.

After some chatter and realising that we had also met the same people along the way – the most interesting being the Russian expeditionists who had already travelled all around America – we parted ways as they had finished eating. I later continued to Lake Paringa.

I had settled into my room and explored the grounds when the Mexican and the Beautiful French arrived at the grounds. They had decided to stay and together we’d ring in the new year. Usually I spend my New Years eve drinking wine and making and then eating Mexican food – so I figured this was close enough. We later also met some hikers who were also staying at the grounds as well. They were from all over the world. We ate banana cake and drank champagne until it was 2012.

The next morning I left early for an easy ride into Fox Glacier. I arrived half an hour before the Mexican or the Beautiful French and went to the glacier (another gravel road). The glacier was beautiful, and lovely to touch, but as the Beautiful French said ‘There are much more beautiful in Europe’. Of course. Then we drank more wine to celebrate the end of my trip and the continuation of theirs. It was a nice and surprising end to the trip.

Now I have caught first the bus to Greymouth (dirty ugly city) and then today a train to Christchurch where my journey ends. Ah – it has been such a lovely trip. I think next time I have to take more time to do it slowly, and I will try harder to camp… maybe.

I will share my photos with you soon, dear Gerwood, I didn’t want to carry more cables with me than was necessary.

Thank you for keeping me company on this trip, and already I am researching a tour through Europe, I think. 🙂

Love & affection,

s.

day eleven : makarora to haast

Dear G,

Before leaving Queenstown I watched an episode of ‘Sensing Murder’. Which I shouldn’t have since my friend Monica had told me about it previously. It’s a show about psyschics who talk to dead people and solve crimes. I know it sounds crazy and illogical but it was late and I couldn’t sleep. The episode I watched was about this deaf girl who was taken just off the main road and strangled almost to death, and then beaten to death with a brick. Then she was rolled off the road and down a ditch never to be found again. Never watch shows like this – EVER!

Today was the last long ride. And of course it started in a closed, quiet road, that looked perfect for committing murder. And of course I was now in areas untouched by mobile networks. So even if I didn’t get murdered, there was no way to call the police.

It was 80km on a mixture of up’s and down’s. The largest incline was long behind me by 9am. There was another crazy hill down by way of a ‘reward. I was just grateful that the roads were a lot emptier and they were a lot less narrow.

Surprisingly the terrain has changed completely since the ride into Queenstown. It’s almost a little surreal thinking about how much it has changed since then. What was previously dry and arid terrain was now lush and beautiful forestry. There were a number of river beds along the way, but all of them were quite dry. Still it was a different kind of beautiful.

The winds were quite high, this side of the island, and it got a little dicey – but not the end of the world. I did round a corner and I was faced with a stray cow that I had to swerve around. It was mostly black with a white face, as if it was branded with the white hand of Sarumon. It was a bit of a shock, and it just looked at me. I’m telling you they’re trying to get back at me for eating them all.

I didn’t stop at all for today’s ride. Not for lack of want, but because whenever I stopped I was engulfed in a swarm of sandflies that wanted to eat me. So I rode all the way to Haast. When I arrived, my motel was closed so I consumed a giant sundae at the local cafe.

Now I’m lying in a bed massaging my knee. For some time now I’ve been struggling with an ache in the knee and today’s ride ended with me pedalling with just the left leg. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Love & affection.

s.

day ten : queenstown to makarora

Dear Gerwood,

I think I was more than happy to leave Queenstown behind. It was too busy and too full of delicious steak.

Today I had a three hour bus ride to Makarora. The bus driver was a very friendly man. Paul is an expat from Dublin who had lived and worked in Germany for a few years before moving to New Zealand to a lifestyle that suited his adventurous nature. He was so happy and jolly – also he was in great need of sunscreen. His whole face was red.

He drove us back down the road through Cromwell, where I had already ridden and through to Wanaka, and then Makarora. Before we got to Makarora we stopped at a cafe and being the only person on the bus alone I sat with Paul. He told me about all his adventures travelling around New Zealand and about how he loved driving the bus because he could tell people about the country that he loved and they had to listen to him. He was riding up to Franz Josef where he was going to meet some friends and then travelling down the coast for the new year. He was very kind.

Makarora is just a tourist centre with some A-line cabins attached. There are a few walks, but I was super tired so I read a few papers, read the first few chapters of The Scarlet Letter (seemed appropriate in an A-line cabin) and then slept for about 14 hours. I must have been sleepy and not noticed until I was able to indulge in the sleep.

It was so lovely.

Talk soon G.

s.

day nine : rest day queenstown

Dear Gerwood,

I don’t know how I’m possibly going to get back on a bike tomorrow without throwing up, for today I ate a whole cow. I have been feeling like the cows in the pastures have been giving me accusatory glares since I’ve consumed so many of their kin. One herd even started running alongside the fence as I rode past. Do they want retribution?

There are several things that I have learned in Queenstown:
1) It’s very busy and full of European tourists – which I guess is better than American tourists.
2) In the Qu’ran there is still much knowledge to extract unlike the Christian Bible, from which all that can be known is known. Or at least this was according to the strangely mutli-cultured family (their family resembled my family gatherings) I had creme bruleè breakfast with.
3) One should always eat ribs like it’s going to make love to you later.
4) Botswana Butchery, their steaks, oh my God Francine, their steaks! Uh-maze!
5) Fergburger is also amazing, it’s literally the burger that makes you want to sew your butt shut so it’ll never leave you (not being vulgar, referencing HIMYM)!
6) Gypsy pants & hidden yarn stores with possum and silk yarn.

That’s all I have for you today G.

Love & beef,
s.