But my favourite episode happened early on in our travels.
Picture this: Two women are strolling around Rotorua Lake contentedly lapping at the double ice-cream cones they have recently purchased. Ahead of them is a group of three Asian men (from Korea, China, Japan or somewhere like that). They are busy engaged in taking repeated photographs of themselves from various points in front of the lake.
As our intrepid duo draw level, one of the men looks up and stares because one of them was black! (One of them is always inevitably said to be black; but in this case, it happens to be true). He then flags down our heroes and through the universal language of mime, asks that we take a photo of them together: all three in front of the lake in contrast to the previous shots of their individually-modelled stances.
We oblige and then make to pass and continue.
There is a hurried exchange in a language I can’t understand, write or read and then the taller of the men steps forward respectfully and asks in broken English (and yet more mime) if it would be OK to have a photo with us.
We agree, and his friend promptly hands Auburn the camera! Guess they get a lot of tall, pale, auburn-haired women with freckles in The Orient then ;-).
Before I know it, I am surrounded by bobbing, excited forty-year-olds whom I’ve only just met and am wondering how they’re gonna explain me to their nearest and dearest when they finally get home and have the pictures developed.
So we take the photos: quite a number of them – to ensure that I come out or something – and I’m trying real hard not to drip my boysenberry ice-cream over my shoes.
We say our goodbyes (More bobbing, demonstrate more expressive mime skills), start walking and marvel at how life is made up of such wonderful and touching moments: only to look back to see that a small argument has broken out amongst our Asian friends.
There is a quick exchange followed by some shrugging; followed by the little one running over and handing HIS camera to Auburn (touché!).
We repeat the above – this time with Auburn and me trying to hide our laughter and amusement for fear of causing offence.
Only one more page to go.