Sunday 19 August 2012

The Big Kiwifruit

Having decided that with our slow-roasted pork belly tonight, we would have roast beetroot and parsnip puree, I sat down to write an East Cape story. In preparation, I read through my notebook from our trip to Gisborne almost exactly a year ago and discovered that on the first night there we went to USSCo for dinner, where I had slow-roasted pork belly, roast beetroot and parsnip puree. This sort of thing is happening so often now that I don't know why I'm bothering to mention it any more.

I have been toying with the idea of writing about how much like New York Gisborne is. No, really  - well, in an offensive, big-city mocking kind of way, but sandwiched between a pseudo-genuine overlay of sincerity and an actually honest underlay of real admiration for what a liveable little city it truly is. For a start, you can eat so well: USSCo is really good, and so is/are the Fettuccine Brothers, and the pizzas at Winston's Bar at the Poverty Bay Club are absolutely the best - and there are plenty of others we didn't get to. We stayed in an apartment - very NY - and walked everywhere at night. NY's safe to walk around at night because of all the people and police on the streets, and Gisborne's safe too because, er, there are no other people on the street after dark.

There are two cinemas - maybe not quite Broadway, but the Dome especially is wonderful, with three Tiffany stained glass domes on the ceiling, and you sit on beanbags, everyone gets to vote beforehand on whether they want an interval, and if it's chilly you're given a rug ("Would you like a blanky?"). And there's bar service - and the movies are art-house. Of course it helped that what we saw there was Bill Cunningham. And where NY has the Empire State, Gisborne has its art deco Town Clock; for Central Park there's Kaiti Hill; it also has rivers around it, and a busy port. Instead of Brooklyn Bridge, there's the Waimata River rail bridge that you can walk over - that's a thrill. For Chinatown and Little Italy there are the Kwangchow Chinese Takeaway and Fettuccine Bros, for Fifth Avenue there's Gladstone Road... No Starbucks, though - there is a shop called Perfect Roast, but it sells, um, roasts. Which reminds me, must go and check on my crackling.

UPDATE: Seeing as this morning there's a report in the paper about how the good citizens of Gisborne are up in arms about the growing tendency of some people there to go to the supermarket, to the ATM and to buy takeaways in their pjs, in the middle of the day, I'm feeling maybe this is a story I'm not going to be writing after all.

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