Friday, March 24: Cloudy pretty much the whole day
Jugglers’ Rest, 8 Canterbury St., Picton, double room as single ($60, BBH)
The alarm actually went off @ 7:00 and the rest of the stuff was fairly easily packed away into two backpacks, the smaller one with the computer and the clothes, so that will be the satellite for this tour. Genie was up somewhat later and I had found everything for breakfast before she appeared for a shower. I gave her a copy of the book and after a short discussion of the room I grabbed my stuff, packed it into her car and we were at the bus stop @ around 8:45.
The bus driver was already loading passengers so I immediately had my stuff stowed away and chose a seat up front for the journey, and started on consuming some now month old podcasts. A couple of extra stops around town netted very few extra passengers and it was only after that were we onto the main road, some corners of which I actually recognised from 2009 or 2013. A bit of construction work along the way and the stop in Blenheim was very short. We were just a bit late into Picton.
We had passed the street where the hostel was located in the bus, so I donned both packs and took off on the just over 1 km long trek back. Once here it took just a little time to locate the hostess, Nikki from Derbyshire, but then I was shown my room and the rest of the facilities. Then a tour of town was on the books, with a lot of cruise tourists populating everywhere. Managed to get all the landmarks sorted, and did some shopping for basics. Returned for a late lunch of two fried cheese sandwiches and then to try some internet, mainly to try to locate a Chinese restaurant for a fried rice fix for tonight.
Had another look around town and complemented the shopping. Then I decided I needed to book the shuttle for Nelson next Saturday, and try to get a place via airbnb for the last five days in Auckland.
Then it was time for the fried rice. Or perhaps not. The Chinese-Thai restaurant (Thai Panda, 58 Auckland St) had pork fried rice for $12, but it was totally overrun tonight and the order took just over an hour to put together. At least it was sufficient for gaining a little weight, and in the meantime a number of patrons had taken seats and left again after receiving no service, and the people waiting for takeaways barely fluctuated. As soon as I was finished I went up to the till to pay, but the poor girl had forgotten what my order was. Well, that may be close to the last fried rice in NZ.
Organising the Super Shuttle for Nelson and sending an airbnb request to a place for $45 a night close to Birkenhead I was joined by two French woofers, Julius (a juggler) and Judith, and Nikki for their evening meal in the course of which Nikki told a number of stories about fire and circuses including the use of butane in sudsy water to produce a flammable foam (and how not to use said foam to remove body hair – it does do that, of course, but it also takes a couple of layers of epithelial tissue with it in the process). The night grew longer & longer and eventually I sent the young people off to bed after Nikki had gone voluntarily.
Walking around town I had noticed a couple of car hire places, but they had cars and few, if any, campers. That might be explained by people coming over on the ferry and hiring a vehicle here rather than hiring it in Wellington and shipping it over. That would make sense.