Monday, 14 December 2009

From Collingwood to Sydney

I'm getting really bad with this, i just keep putting it off and then i'm left with so much to catch up. But i know its worth doing because otherwise i'll forget half the stuff that has happened! So now im going back about two weeks, which is about when i arrived in Collingwood.

The place itself is pretty odd. Unique might be a better word. Back in the day, there was a gold rush in the area so the place was heaving, and had something like 30 pubs. Plans were drawn up in England to build it up into the capital city of New Zealand. But then the gold ran out, and everybody buggered off. Nowadays i has a population of about 300, and it really is the end of the road. There's nowhere to go but back the way you came. Anyway, i got to the hostel, and they were still cleaning so i went down to the beach. Had a little wander. There's an inlet that runs beside the town, and it fills up with the high tide. After i went back to the hostel, had some lunch and came back down, the tide had gone out. The inlet was empty and the tide had gone out an insane distance. It was all really flat so it all goes so easily. I had a wander down 'main street' which was basically a few shops, a pub and the place where they organise the farewell spit eco tours. This was the main reason i had come to collingwood. There's this big spit of sand at the top of the south island which is 6km long, has a lighthouse on and a whole load of wildlife. I was thinking of doing the tour the next day, but was planning on taking the cheaper option, and borrowing a bike from the guesthouse, getting a lift up there and then cycling back (it's a fair old ways). The hostel had kayaks that we could use, but we had to wait for the inlet to fill up again, and when it did at about 5pm i went off for a paddle with two german girls and an older canadian guy. They'd done the farewell spit tour that day, and said it was worth doing. Anyway, we had a bit of a paddle. The canadian guy was about 50+, and just really pissed me off. On our way down there he said he wanted to run over some safety things, because he's done lots of kayaking before. The thing is, it was an inlet, pretty flat. We were wearing life jackets, it was just ridiculous! He was also running over how you should paddle, and saying things like 'its best to go in a straight line because that's quicker'. Well done you. But beyond that, it was pretty good fun. We paddled a fair ways, and turned round, drifting back with the wind. I talked to the german girls, it was one of their birthdays that day, and her friend told me she had made some kind of secret dessert for her friend.

So there was only myself, the three i've just mentioned, and an older english guy who had just finished the heaphy track staying in the hostel as guests. There were 3 japanese girls who were working as the cleaners, and the english guy who owned the place. The evening was good, we all sat around the table eating the suprise dessert and talking.

The next day, every guest except for me left. This wouldn't have been such a bad thing, if it hadn't rained all day. So there was absolutley nothing i could do! It was just heavy rain, all day. So i sat around and read the book i was reading at the time, catch 22 (which as awesome). Ate a bit, the fat cat kept wanting to sit on me bu i think i was allergic to it. It was the laziest cat in the world. It just lay sprawled out on a beanbag all day.

So yeah, that really was all that happened that day. A couple of other people arrived, but beyond that, nothing! I'd already booked my bus ticket back to nelson for the next day, and the weather was still crappy so it was a wise idea to escape! The bus picked me up, there was only one person on it at the time, this japanese girl with dreads. She was awesome. She'd been doing some woofing around the area, as well as helping a guy out at his yoga place. She had been living in the area for about 4 months but had decided it was time for a change so was heading for the north island. We had to change buses 3 times, but we just chatted away. She jumped off at nelson airport, and i got the driver to drop me back at the bug backpackers. I got in and saw anthony, the owner, and was checking in. Went to grab my wallet, realised it wasn't in my pocket. Oh crap. Figured i'd left it on the bus. Anthony called them up and turned out i had. I would of been pretty damn screwed without at. So jumped on a bike and went to pick it up.

It was odd going back to the hostel, as when i'd left i knew most people, and knew most people's faces, at least. So the only people i knew when i got back was mark, rudi had had to move out to another hostel, and everybody else had moved on. The atmosphere of the place was still the same though. Two of marks friends he met in the north island were there, and they were awesome. A girl called molly who had been working at oxfam on the north island had just arrived, there was a new cleaner who was canadian. Etc. More great people. We sat round playing cards in the evening, which was a load of fun. I didn't really have plans for the next day, except maybe go back to the beach if the weather was good.

Well, it wasn't. It rained pretty much all day. But unlike collingwod, there were people around! Ha. So we sat around playing games most of the day. In the evening we rounded up more people and played a few big games of mafia, which is an awesome game i hadn't played since being at OBC. That was a lot of fun. Had a few beers too, pretty late night.

6 days before i had booked a train journey from picton back to christchurch, as laura had said it was a really awesome journey. I got it for $29 to, which is cheaper than the bus! So i got the bus to picton which took a couple of hours, had some food, jumped on the train. It was a 5 hour journey, with something ridiculous like 40 tunnels and 50 bridges. It carves its way along the coastline, through the mountains. Around the kaikora peninsula there are a whole bunch of seals just chilling on a beach as we whizz past. There was a viewing cabin at the back, which was basically open air. Lots of fun. Very windy. Good stuff.

I got in about 6pm and got picked up by dave and laura, we went shopping and had an awesome dinner. Dave had found a job, but it involved getting up at 4.30am to go to work though. After he finished work the next day we were going to go mountain biking. We went to pick up some good bikes from one of his friends, and were back late enough for laura to come too. So we drove the place, off we went. It was so much fun. Really great trails, winding through trees, ups and downs. Banked corners. So we did that and by the time we finished the loop, the sun was pretty much setting. In the evening laura went to bed fairly early because she was tired, but me and dave sat up, working our way through a fair few rum and cokes + black russians. Dave had chucked a bunch of music onto my ipod, including some kiwi reggae, so we listened to that, talked about the usual rubbish. Twas a good night.

In the morning they took me out to breakfast, to a place called the honey pot. It was amazing. I had salmon with eggs benedict on english muffins. Ohhhhhh. It was so good. After this we went to another great mountain bike place about 15 minutes away from the airport. This one was more twisty turny than the other, still a lot of fun as you'd see how fast you can get away with going into a banked turn bend. Probably not the best idea when i was supposed to flying in a few hours. Oh well! After this we went straight to the airport, checked in, they hung around for a bit, eventually i went through after deciding not to buy some rum in duty free.

The flight to sydney was short and sweet. Immigration was all good, i got picked up by phil and gaye, and got taken back to phil's place. It's in an area called paddington, which is just down the road from the cbd central business district) and harbour bridge. In fact, i can see i tout of the window as i type this! That's pretty sweet. Anyway, the firt night we went out to a pizza place just down the road, which was great. A few beverages in a pub that my dad used to live in when he was over here in 99. Phil is currently trying to sell his house, he's just moving 10 minutes away, but over here they often have auctions for houses. The auction is a week from this saturday. I'm staying in the basement, where he used to have tennants, but now there's just a bed and a few bugs. It's perfect though, it can only be accessed from outside and i've got my own key for it. So i can come and go from there as i please. I only really use it for sleeping as there's nothing else down there, but it's good stuff!

Still about 9 days behind, but that's all i have the energy for at the moment!

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