Kutai Festival

Trip Start Oct 18, 2010
Trip End Jan 18, 2011

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Where I stayed
Night Sky Lodge

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday 6th November

The morning broke and it seemed to be shaping into a really lovely day.  Some skypeing was the order of the morning, and after a few conversations with our lovely parents we were glad to hear that the blog was being so well recieved and that you are liking the munu selections and the photo's alike.  Whilst i went for a quick run Ania did the admin tasks and just to remind us what we were missing, a grey mist came across and it started to drizzle, you know the type, it gets you soaking when you aren't looking!  Well thankfully it cleared during breakfast and the sun came out.  All good then because the order of the day was to visit MitiMiti a small hamlet right on the coast about an hour away where there was a festival going on.  Quite frankly we were excited, we had been prepped by Stephany that the seafood chowder was a good choice but all the food was pretty fantastic because it was a Mauri event.  So we pottered off in Katsue enjoying the scenery along the journey.  To get to MitiMiti involved traveling on a dirt road for a good half an hour and we began to think that this event could be on a smaller scale than we had thought, we weren't thinking anything too grand but the road to get there was such that we wondered how many people would have made the effort.

We should cast aside the image of community as it stands in England, here absolutely everyone seemed to be at this little festival and then they had brought their uncle and auntie with three kids along with them.  We arrived at the field about 30 meters away from the beach, and realised that we had only brought 4 dollars with us, so we went to find the local shop to get some cash.  Turns out that the field with the few buildings in was in fact the village, up the road was the school and then the beach.  So with 2 dollars burning a hole in our pockets we arrived at this truly fantastic Maori event.  It had a sort of village fete feel but with festival connotations, there was music, events, food like you have never seen and with that, many a podgy Maori walking about, but it seemed like everyone was having such fun.  The compare for the day was the special guest from the local radio station, Tio Pepe he was full of life, jokes and was keeping everything moving along.  So on arrival we quickly realised that we did look a bit different to everyone else there, but no one seemed to be holding it against us.  We had arrived just in time to see the kids dancing competition.  There was a large lady at the front of  group of kids doing some great moves to some Maori inspired music, she seemed to be being incredibly economic with her movements but they were good ones all the same.  The kids were all trying to follow, with great success, everyone seemed to know how to move and it was definitely a spectators sport, you couldn't help but smile.  With our limited funds we bought a seafood chowder pie and a ice cream sunday, they were both ace and were consumed with vigor.  

Good job too because the next event was the slippery pig competition, this was the start of barrage of games and events which would be banned double banned and then outlawed in the U.K. This first game did what it said on the tin really.  A small pig had been greased, and then placed in a large fenced off area.  The kids at the festival were to then try and catch the slippery little blighter, with the winner getting some ice cream.  Everyone gathered around and the pig was soon caught.  Next we saw an old morris car, with a sign reading 'Guess how many kids we can get into the mean green machine' again one for the health and safety officers.   Continuing along the same lines the next event was under- tens in groups of four, having to pull the car with the sign on, bare foot only.  Next was wood chucking, this basically involved big pieces of wood, axes and men.  The oldest man being 76 years old, he got a huge 10 second start on the younger competitors some of whom must have been at least 10 years younger! We watched on in trepidation making sure there were no heart attacks.  All was well however, plus the whole event was in aid of raising enough money for a defibrillator, which was on hand with the local St Johns ambulance man, we thought that with the shenanigans going on it made be needed sooner rather than later, no fret however.  We decided that we would skip the other few games, such as teenagers pull a tractor, and head to the beach as it was supposed to be really very lovely.  We drove away feeling that we had just been incredibly lucky with experiencing a snippet of another culture at such close quarters, we couldn't stop smiling about it and felt very privileged to be part of it.  With warm hearts we drove down the road and onto the beach.   We found a fantastic vista for lunch on the roof of the car, we have seen some good views so far on our trip and this one was no exception.

We drove back stopping at the local shop to buy some meat for dinner, as we had promised to cook for the whole family.  Ania whipped up a tasty Bolognese and I taught the girls to make fresh pasta.  The food was great and we got to hear some of Kerrin's stories.  He has to be one of the most well travelled men either of us have ever met.  7 years and many countries means lots of great stories, and he happens to be very good at spinning a yarn or two.  We tradd some stories and the girls did some fantastic singing, bartering songs for stories.  They sang fantastically well and the Maori and samoan songs were really lovely to listen too.   An entertaining evening was had by all.   

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