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  • The West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand, Rains.
    It really rains...
    I know I have chosen to live in the UK, which is not known for its arid landscape,
    but it rains less here than on 'The Coast'.
    There are sandflies, many of them, I think it's all the rain, they laugh at mosquito repellant and try to suck the blood from the inside of your nostrils and eyes instead, infuriated you do the dance of the crazed, slapping wildly at your body, trying to out run them.
    We spent a night near Haast in our tent, it didn't rain but the sound of the sandflies beating on the tent was as loud as rain, they were caught between the tent and the fly and could smell new blood, the locals couldn't understand the fuss (I think they eat a lot of Vegemite down there).
    So... apart from rain and blood thirsty flies, the southern West Coast has most remarkable scenery.
    Early settlers tried to farm there -
    They sent the Polish to the most rugged uninhabitable bay (Jackson) to see how long they could survive. They almost starved to death, cut off from the rest of the population, their crops failed when the rain caused massive land slides on the cleared land, they walked out and were re-homed in New Plymouth.
    There are some landscapes made for looking at, not for living in.
    I found this poem on a card in the Visitor Center down the West Coast, (you need to be acquainted with the Visitor Center there, it's somewhere to dry off, and find out how much rain is due).

    It rained, and rained and rained,
    the average fall was well maintained,
    and when the ground had turned to bogs,
    it started raining cats and dogs.
    After a spell of half an hour
    we had a most refreshing shower,
    which wetted the party to the skin,
    and then at last the rain set in.

    Anonymous, written about the South Is, West Coast, NZ
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