Travel hits and misses: Otis Frizzell

Sarah and Otis, of The Lucky Taco. Photo / Supplied
Sarah and Otis, of The Lucky Taco. Photo / Supplied


A few years ago, my wife Sarah and I went on a caravan tour around the North Island with her mum and stepdad, who were visiting from northwest of England.

When I told our friends and family what we were planning, they thought we were crazy. And to be honest, the idea of sharing a single room on wheels with my in-laws for more than two weeks was perhaps tempting fate. However, it turned out to be an incredible trip. I hadn't been to Cape Reinga for about 20 years and I had forgotten how breathtaking Tane Mahuta (Northland's giant kauri tree) really is.

We were gifted with a perfect two-week window of Aotearoa sunshine and spectacular starry night skies. We cooked amazing food on a wee camp stove, played scrabble and drank loads of wine. We really got to know each other during that holiday and it formed a lasting bond. Unbelievably, it was like the perfect getaway.


In 2012, Sarah and I did a "taco education odyssey" through Mexico to try to learn as much as we could about traditional flavours before we opened The Lucky Taco truck. One morning we got up rather early as we were facing an eight-hour drive.

We packed up and left the hotel without having breakfast because we knew there would be roadside stalls selling tamales (a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of masa, steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf) all along the highway.

We found a place that had a small queue (always a good sign) and got two tamales and some chocolate atole (a delicious, thick masa-based drink). We continued to drive a short distance until we found a nice spot where we could pull over and eat. We got out and set up our brekkie picnic on the bonnet. About a minute later we both started itching. Then it got worse ... and painful.

I looked down and realised we had disrupted a massive ant colony - and they were thoroughly pissed off. Both Sarah and I started jumping around like crazy people. Sarah even started to strip off her clothes because as she'd just had a painful ant bite on her butt.

We must have looked insane to people passing. Two gringos dancing and stripping off right on the side of a main highway.


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