3. Invercargill – Final Preparations

Monday, February 13: Heavy rain overnight, clearing by morning, with rain again in the afternoon

Walking: 6.0 km

Randa’s

Sleep resembled the real McCoy more closely last night, including a dream or two, and by the time I was up (8:30) nearly everyone else was ready to go. The breakfast toast was improved on no end by the vegemite. I emptied the dishwasher before settling down to work: There was an expression of interest from Bunkers Backpackers about more detail for the kayak trip and an email from JR Duty Free about the missing Bundy. I eventually abandoned the enterprise of getting my duty free delivered as there was no promise of anything arriving anywhere, and even their refunds policy seemed a little iffy. Either I sent the credit card details by unsecured email; or I called them with them, which I decided to do in the course of the afternoon.

Did some hand washing of sox, undies and sweater, and hung them on the line to dry. Put a message through to Tony (and eventually got a reply – he is in Queenstown). Randa arrived around midday to change her gear into interview class and I got an ice cube maker from her for the egg-boiling. It was getting on for lunch so I decided to see if there were any eateries along the North Road. After a couple of industrial buildings a Couplands Bakery turned up so I bought a frozen large sausage roll ($2.3) and a cold mince & vegetable pie ($1) which I defrosted and reheated in the microwave. In the meantime the margarine was packed into its container. The pastries were, of course, too much, but the pie was remarkably nice for the price, and the vegetables were well concealed.

A page for the spot tracker had been set up by Michael and I published the URL on Facebook. Sent a message to Jack and then moved the clothes into the winter garden which was quite warm & might get the clothes dry in spite of the forecast rain. Called up the rain radar page from metservice.com and more rain seemed to be expected in the course of the afternoon so I packed in the raincoat and left for what was hopefully the last shopping trip: Cash, toothpaste, disprin, then a bit of a search in the rain for a suitable lighter (funny how the Chinese staff of the $2 shops never seem to improve their English), a phone call to JR for the duty free refund, and finally a chemist’s for the deet. Was shown some lidocaine-containing local anaesthetic, which I might try if the polidocanol I have with me is ineffective against the sandfly bites. That would be alternative medicine. Noticed when picking up cash that ANZ charges $3 for the privilege (so much for feeless withdrawals, just wonder how long it will be before they’re all on the bandwagon). Called by the Doc for a six-month hut pass ($92, valid in all $5 huts), which won’t be completely used. A pity there’s no combination hut/camping pass.

On the way back picked up some beer and once here met the boys M and J, who are quite tall and variably active. It was also Gonsalo’s birthday and the meal that was offered to me yesterday by Randa was replaced by an excursion to Burger King for the event. We must have presented the ultimate patchwork family – one Chilean, one Chinese, one and two half Egyptians, two half Kiwis and an Australian Plastic Paddy.

Back here the boys were treated to the cork-swappping magic trick, then they concentrated on their video games. I had to send a spot message, but couldn’t work out when the machine had received the GPS signal so I waited a long time before switching it off, recharging the batteries & trying again. Eventually just sent a signal which was almost immediately received & shown on the page. Stalkers: Get on your marks!

Now for some technical stuff with the cameras. Took a while to get a couple of cards formatted and updated with CHDK and the latest scripts. One of the cards lost its locking slider and the thing was so fiddly to fix I threw it away (nothing lost except the card) so that in the end I have two extra cards for each of the two cameras, which should be enough. Will try to take all the batteries.

Received messages from Tony and Executive Cars (for the trip to the airport tomorrow), put the margarine in the fridge & hope not to forget it tomorrow.