Can I cook on the bus?

I have had quite a few random questions while driving the Stray bus, but the one last trip really topped the random scales! I was cruising along and one of my guys popped up behind me and asked ‘Can I cook on the bus?’ …

I nearly snapped my head off twisting my neck so far around to see if he was serious! He was! I said ‘Live flame…Gas cylinder … moving bus, I really don’t think that’s the smartest idea, do you?!’. To really top things off I asked what he was planning to cook, thinking the backpacker staple of 2 Minute Noodles … but no, Fondue! He then said that it was not his idea (I bet it was the Swiss guy he was sitting next to, being fondue!), but it was his idea to ask. Ok then!

The most random questions are usually followed by either a moments confused silence or non-suppressible spontaneous shock laugh. Here’s some examples:

A girl sitting behind me as we are cruising through the foothills of Rangitata asks ‘What are the filing cabinets doing in the paddocks?’ After a moment of confused silence I click she is talking about the beehives, ‘Oh the beehives!’, she responds that she thought they were for documents regarding cows!

Arriving at Raglan’s Karioi Lodge on day one of tour, a lady with a mega-case came up to me and asked ‘Who carries the bags to the rooms?’, spontaneous shock laugh, ‘Umm, you’. If you’ve been to Karioi Lodge, you will know that the little winding paths are best navigated with a pack, I think I would spontaneously combust if I had to deliver 45 bags!

I asked a couple of drivers what their most memorable questions were. You’ll laugh at these!

Scene: Kaikoura
Guest: “Where do the dolphins go when it’s raining?”
Stray driver: “Up to the Abel Tasman, where it’s always sunny and then they come back to Kaikoura when they are hungry.”

Scene: Heading to Blue Duck Lodge in Whakahoro
Guest: “Are goats an animal?”
Driver: “?!”.

Scene: Lake Pukaki
Guest: “Do they dye the water that colour?”Stray Driver: “Of course, that’s why tourists come to NZ, for our lovely blue lakes!”

Speaking of cooking, to all the boys and girls I promised my ‘Roast Pumpkin, Chickpea, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Feta Salad Recipe’ to, here you go!

Get a Crown Pumpkin, skin, cube and roast it in a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

While the pumpkin is roasting, mix together the following to infuse the delicious flavors (quantities vary according to taste!).
– Sun dried tomatoes (bought in a jar of oil) sliced – tomato paste
– tin of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
– red onion diced
– generous dash of balsamic vinegar
– oil from the sun dried tomatoes

Once the pumpkin is roasted, pull it out of the oven to sit for 5 minutes. Gently stir the chickpea/tomato mix into

the pumpkin. Cube feta and sprinkle over. Gently mix. Enjoy!


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