Wednesday morning, the bus starts up and we head out of the Cathedral Cove car park with the usual stares at a little car trailing behind the bus. Funny site this morning as we were leaving Hahei. Two hitchhikers on the side of the road with their thumbs out. They put them down when they saw our bus assuming we wouldn’t be able to stop to pick them up where they were standing. Next minute one of them catches a glimpse of a small car coming up behind us and the thumbs go up again then a total look of bewilderment as they realise no one is at the steering wheel. Love our little tow car.
Off we set to dig holes, Hot water beach here we come! Arriving nice and early we got a great spot to park the bus, relax for a bit, then headed down to the beach.
It was a funny site watching as people began to gather and take their place on the sand with shovels in hand in wait of the low tide. People seemed uncertain at first as to where or when they should start digging. I watched one man standing on the shoreline with his feet buried in the sand so decided to go say hi and see if his toes were toasty. Burying my feet next to his I had to remove them quickly as they reached the hot spring water under the sand and felt like they had been burnt. It was an unusual experience to be standing in the cold waves of the ocean and feeling the sensation of very hot water only inches below the sands surface.
More people began to show curiosity and slowly made their way closer to ask if the water was warm. Fun to watch their reactions as you encourage them to bury their feet next to yours and they feel the heat.
Once people began to hear our chatter about the hot water they began to converge shovel in hand and the dig was on!…..Then it got interesting.
I quickly worked out by noticing patterns in certain places of the sand where you were going to find the hot water. Patterns caused by the hot spring coming to the surface. People were madly digging, then I began to notice something. Listening to the chatter of several different languages you soon worked out that some were getting excited about the hot water while others made sounds of disappointment as they continued to dig cold pools of water literally a foot away from the others. We managed to dig right on top of one of the places the hot water was surfacing which made it too hot for us to dig. We began digging next to our original hole finding cold water to flow into our hot pool.
A small crowd quickly gathered around us asking how we found the hot water, I think having a kiwi accent people assumed we knew all about the beach. Some people caught on quickly and found their hot spots while others still dug in frustration trying to find theirs.
Our biggest problem was we didn’t have a shovel so I was burning my fingers trying to dig our hole deeper while the people next to us had a shovel but kept producing cold water. I suggested we connect our holes so they could benefit from our hot water but then all our hot water started to disappear as it drained into their hole. Problem solved, I asked to borrow their shovel so we could get our hole deeper, yay for collaboration! Then it began, others started to connect holes and share water to get the right temperature so everyone could begin to enjoy the experience. Then others came up with great design ideas for placing sand to get the best results of capturing and sharing water. By the end we had quite the community going on with all enjoying the company of others. Connections were made, people were laughing, and a new community was born!
Be it for a moment it was great to sit back after we had enjoyed our little hot pool and observe how people were working together to produce the desired result, not just for themselves but for everyone involved.
This got me thinking about or lives in general and how most of the time everyone is trying to build their own life and there own space. Some do well and become very successful but usually at a price. Others seem to struggle and continue to dig up cold water. The saddest thing about both is neither of them will ever connect and possibly find a better way to do things. To collaborate and produce a life where everyone is laughing and enjoying the experience.
I wonder what our country would look like if we were to begin to connect more, to bring together our ideas and strengths. Building a real sense of community. I think Hot Water beach will be one of those experiences I will never forget and how much fun it was to briefly connect with others and enjoy a common goal making the experience great for everyone involved.
Were there barriers? Yup the most obvious being language, quite a mix of tourists from all over. Did it stop us for connecting? No, to be honest the variety actually made it even more interesting and fun.
I look at our country and there are so many barriers, different cultures, wealthy and poor, religion, and the list goes on. It’s almost sad that we feel we have to stick to our own. I would love to build a giant hot water beach and invite everyone in New Zealand to gather!
One of the best things with travelling is the people we meet. Living in a bus seems to pull down any barriers and it has been an amazing privilege to connect with all the people we have. People we never normally would have otherwise.
Here’s a fun idea, this week maybe go out and connect with someone you never normally would (heck really go mad and find someone living in a car and take them home), invite them for a meal and just hang out, you just may be pleasantly surprised not only how much fun it is but they may just be the people you need to meet right now to move forward with your next step in life. I really believe it is time to build a true sense of community in this country and begin to collaborate and create a new way to enjoy life.
One thing I have learnt is we can continue in life believing it owes us and becoming victims and playing the blame game or we can begin to build a life where people come together and build something of value that everyone will not only enjoy but benefit from. One that will benefit our future. Start digging!