Kiwis Might Fly, by Polly Evans
This is the second book I’ve read by Polly Evans, and her books are the ultimate in armchair travel entertainment. Follow Brit Polly as she takes a solo motorcycle tour of New Zealand, just weeks after getting licensed to drive a motorcycle. The bike she rents is so heavy she can’t pick it up when it falls over, as happens more than once. With Polly, we see all the amazing sights, cities, and wildlife of North and South Islands, while seeking to discover if the original Kiwi bloke still exists. Speaking of Kiwis, her description of a guided nighttime hike looking for the flightless kiwi birds is hilarious. She finds the people friendly, and visits with many friends of friends or relatives, and finds many of the men quite manly, but with a softer side that makes her wonder if they’ve all gone modern. Even the tough sheep shearers are affectionate parents. Kiwi ingenuity is widespread, but many immigrants are equally creative. There is quite a bit of history in the beginning chapters, but then the reader gets caught up in Polly’s adventures as she travels around the country. Polly claims to be a bit cowardly, but goes on marvelous adventures, and doesn’t even get seasick. Hiking, climbing, tethered flying, fishing, kayaking, and sheep shearing are all described. Only two things really seem to scare her: falling off her motorcycle, and bungee jumping. Driving through a hailstorm isn’t fun, either. Previously she rode a bicycle all over Spain, and in later books she takes public transportation around China, rides a horse and tangos in Argentina, and learns to drive sled dogs in the Yukon. We don’t own her books, but they are available in nearby libraries, and can be requested through interlibrary loan. For more about Polly’s travels and photos from her travel’s, visit her website. Also recommended is Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country, about travels in Australia.