Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Puzzle Dude

Matakana market

Today, after a tip-off from one of Husband's new colleagues, we took the car on a run out of Auckland. Over the bridge – scenic in itself – we found ourselves travelling through the most breathtaking environment.
Rolling hills, tree ferns, bubbling streams, and because it is spring, the most gorgeous newborn lambs, calves and goats. Not to mention, breathtaking beaches.
Soon, we arrived at Matakana markets. Unlike the farmer’s markets we are used to, these were very small, yet charming (and busy). Hardly any fruit; things like chocolate, beer, wine and meats. Husband literally drooled at the local butcher shop, but without an esky or proper cooking facilities, we had to go without. But the kids managed a couple of bargains at a used toy stall. With our belongings taking longer and longer to arrive, they needed a few comforts to help them feel at home. The Princess nabbed a My Little Pony storybook and pirate game; Little Man grabbed a teddy and Hot Wheels game.
Husband splurged on a pair of stainless steel earrings for lucky me, made and sold by the artist herself. She couldn’t believe it when he said we’d take them – think we were her first sale all day! Later we were told that Kiwis have a reputation for being ‘tight’ – so most people probably um and ahh for ages.
The kids tuck in ...
In the afternoon, after a nap, the kids and I wandered into the CBD to finish off secret Father’s Day shopping.
On the way they nibbled at Donut Dude – this time Donut Dudette. And on the way home, Little Man talked me into a brief foray into the market.
There’s a guy there, whom the kids have dubbed
Puzzle Dude. He has a stall selling loads of puzzles aimed at kids, and grown-ups. I don’t know his name, but if you’re at Aotea Square on a Friday or Saturday, you must visit him. He’s the guy where dozens of big and little kids try their hands at solving puzzles.
“Don’t touch,” I said, as the Princess’s busy fingers reached for a nail and began banging it into a puzzle with a part of another puzzle.
“Excuse me, it’s fine if you don’t want her to do it,” Puzzle Dude interrupted. “But if you’re okay with it, she’s welcome to touch. That’s the idea, it’s engaging kids and getting them to learn through play.”
Anyway, with his permission, the L. Man managed to solve one of the adult puzzles very quickly. The guy said if the L.Man could do it again, he’d give him a puzzle. So Little Man did. I couldn’t believe it when the man gave C. a small version of the puzzle, and refused any money.
“I won’t take a cent from you,” he said. “The little bloke deserves it!”
It seems like in NZ you CAN get something for nothing.

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