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Rockville Centre, New York
March 27, 2007
From journal New Zealand Misadventures
February 27, 2007
You won't find Barrytown in a guidebook.I am officially badass because I have just made with my own barehands a mean, mean knife out of a big stick of steel. So my advice to you, is don't mess with me. We leave Abel Tasmen and are carted off in a different bus with a different driver now. Wazza is his name and the bus is definitely from the Reagan-Cold-War era. We are on our way now to another middle of nowhere place.We drive for a few hours with barely any stops to make it to the pancake rocks to see the sunset. Whatever the pancake rocks are I have been assured that you must see them when the sun goes down. I saw them and now can assure you that they are a sight not to be missed at sunset. I'll just give you a few hints, huge rocks, mountain, western facing sea, sunsets, rainforests. The sky opening up and pouring on us as rainbows formed during sunset all added to the effect. We are staying in a pub in Barrytown, total population: 60. There's a heater in the room tonight. But, alas, the power goes out as we are enjoying our spaghetti dinner.The next day we go knife making, why I feel compelled to spend $80 to make a knife, I don't know, it's just been highly recommended. We meet at 9:30am outside our hostel and get carted in groups of three in a coupe to Steve's house. Steve lives in a right on the water. The first thing I noticed is a shrub next to the driveway with axes planted in it. Steve, a hearty man in his sixties, walks out with his ancient sheep dog chief who hobbles and regularly bangs into the sides of doors and table legs.His front yard is a welder's playground. There are all of this machines there, steel, logs and coal fire pits. From the start of the day Steve talks about his homemade brew, and it is a low whispered rumor that Steve is rarely found without large traces of his moonshine in his system for a day of knife making. Steve has horses, and birds, and ducks, plus an organic farm to boot. He has knives lying all over his home, with beechwood, jade, and whalebone that had all washed ashore. Our knives took about seven hours to make, and for our lunch break his wife made us all toasted sandwiches with a little sandwich maker. It was nice to be in someone's home. We watched this short film on the history of the samurai sword.
Steve was a loud jovial man and his personality made the day. He'd make a great documentary. We had his rubbing alcohol concoction at the end of the day, and I must admit that it was smooth. Then Steve finishes up our day in the late afternoon by pulling out a joint.