35. Karamea

Friday, March 17: Sunny and warm

Rongo

Had a restful sleep until 8:00 and then started on a simple breakfast of two rounds of ham sandwiches with coffee. Had a little discussion with the American couple who were leaving later today. Cecile was a bit taken aback by being asked for $30 for the shuttle to the Heaphy and decided to hitch hike it.

Went down to the i-site for some basic internet, met a Belgian woman, Christelle, just off the Heaphy who was weighing up the pros & cons of the various overnight possibilities and she was asking me about Rongo which I could recommend. Then it was over to the hardware store, but their gas cans were just as expensive as in the supermarket and they only had citronella mozzie coils for exclusive outdoor use, and probably not as effective at killing sandflies as the genuine ones are. Anyway that meant going to the supermarket where peu a peu I was collecting stuff, so I decided to make a whole job of it and buy everything I needed. There was a sultana-nut mix (“trail mix” which corresponds closely to the German Studentenfutter) for $4 for 400 g, a salami from a local butcher that appeared to be genuinely dry, and wasn’t much more expensive than the prepackaged salami on special offer. That really only left some OJ (mixed juice was cheaper & chosen), the mozzie coils were nondescript, so were left out, some Pams muesli bars were bought & will suffice, some “bacon” bought for lunch today and breakfast tomorrow, to which only two hardboiled eggs from the old batch had to be added, both double-yolkers, then some beer for tonight. Then it was time to head back to the hostel.

Lunch was cooked, Sally arrived back and disappeared under the shower. Christelle was now also installed, and while she was cooked her de-Heaphy lunch showed interest in doing the Queen Charlotte Track in a double kayak. Sat around with the woofers as they were having their lunch and engaged in a long discussion with Debra. Paul had still wanted to do an interview with me on Radio Karamea after he had discovered that I was one of the 3PBS founders, so when he eventually turned up I settled his bill, leaving me with just on $60 in cash, after having added on the Wangapeka transfer for $50. Will desperately have to see about getting some more cash. In any case I also paid for half a washing load, and three eggs which, if I can cook them without breakage, will see me through the next track.

Wandered back into town to the i-site to see if they could find out whether there were any cash machines in Tapawera, but they couldn’t find anything; a subsequent search on their computer turned up a news item which confirmed that there was no ATM there. Tried the ATM in the Four Square but it cancelled two attempts. Decided I would pay for tonight’s meal with the card and try perhaps one last time tomorrow morning before taking off on the track.

Paul grabbed me for the interview when I got back and we did almost exactly half an hour, so I hope that I have contributed something. Needed to boil my three eggs which at least didn’t break any of them this time around. Left them to cool and went down to the pub for fish’n’chips with salad ($15) and a large Tui for $6.7 at the Karamea Village Hotel (Waverley St., Karamea). Sally turned up a coupe of minutes later, and then it occurred to me that the Chinese/Australian couple from the shelter/Perry Saddle Hut were there with the woman’s daughter & mother for their off track celebration.

Back at the hostel Tristan & Sonoya were having chicken for dinner & I joined them for a chat, with Tristan bellyaching (rightfully so I thought) about the woofers taking over everything and how poorly behaved some of them are.

The hostel had been rather empty but people started returning for the night. One last chance to see the ISS was caught on time and I had about half a dozen spectators for the flyover, which was quickly spotted and followed for pretty much the entire duration.