I got on my tour bus (egad, not another shore excursion tour bus).
We drove for 75 minutes around the Otago Peninsula, listening to snippets of local flavor, hearing about Daniel Craig and the current Bond film shooting in town, seeing fake roses getting woven onto a house front for what can only be assumed to be a future set, and otherwise mostly missing the scenery while I thought…
Another long bus ride. Yuck. This looks like another shore excursion mistake.
and, far more uncharacteristically…
Maybe I am just about done with traveling.
And then, at last, we got to Nature’s Wonders.
Go there. No, really. Make a wildlife tour reservation, and go there. Swing wide around the albatross center on the way, turn up the drive. If it’s spring, enjoy the yellow of the gorse, even if it is non-native and essentially a pest plant. Then go inside, through the gift shop. Enjoy their hospitality for a few warming moments. They’re so lovely. Then go out for a 1 hour tour on their private reserve. They will give you a drab green parka, so that you blend a bit with nature. They’ll take you on a fun, fresh-air jaunt, out to stunning views, and let you get a view of whatever wildlife can be seen without disturbance: nesting cormorants, a breeding colony of fur seals, and – if they’re around to be seen – the little blue and extremely shy yellow eyed penguins. All at a respectful distance so as not to disturb the natural actions and habitats of these creatures.
It was, in short, a great day!
In fact, it was such a wonderful day, long ride notwithstanding, that I almost hate to tell you that Steve was still laboring under the delusion that had become a couple when I arrived at dinner.
Um, hello. For future reference to anyone who is unclear on this, now or in future… I am a no touching zone; touching is by invitation only. So, outside of close relationships, gentlemen: no hugs hello (at least read the body language; stiffening and/or backing away is not a sign of acceptance), no greeting or parting kisses — we can revisit the double-cheek-brush-kiss if/when I am ever in Paris and not before — and certainly no need to lean over into my chair to close the gap/lean into me especially if I am sitting Very Pointedly as far apart as I can in a small venue. And I’m sorry that this is too subtle (my bad) but when I am backing away saying thanks-anyway-I’m-going-to-my-cabin-for-a-bit-maybe-I’ll-see-you-around-but-have-a-good-night, that is what is called a “polite brush-off” so do not try to invite yourself to join me in my cabin. The answer is no.
Eventually we did sort this out which is good because it seemed like way too much effort and hassle to have to muster up an awkward “define the (lack of) relationship” conversation, with just a few days left of vacation. (Waah!)
Plus, to be fair, he’s otherwise a very nice man. It’s just awkward when intentions are so mismatched.