It's a long day of driving today, not much to see until we arrive in Wellington tonight where we plan on going for a good seafood dinner.
We made our lunch pit stop and I had a very very interesting experience. The ketchup containers here are very different and 3 of us all struggled to figure out how to open them. I was the first to find out. It sprouted like the geyser we saw the day before...all over my pink dress.
Then as I ate my lamb burger with a bun the size of a loaf of bread and a patty like a silver dollar, dripping that awful mint sauce.
We heard clippers and lots of baaahhaaaaing so wandered down the path to find a shearing demonstration. Hysterical. Can't upload the video so here it is...
Bulls is a town where all the businesses have signs that play on the word.
Trans-port-a-bull = moving company
Const-a-bull = police station
Bloom-a-bull = flower shop
Bank-a-bull = bank
Stopped off again in a little roadside town and I'd like to say the following.
Hello, my name is Nancy and I'm addicted to Hokey Pokey ice cream. Now you say, Hello Nancy.
Wellington is the San Francisco of the southern hemisphere. They in fact imported two wooden Victorian homes from San Francisco as an experiment to see if they would withstand the earthquakes. I was able to pick them out going up the steep hill to a fantastic look out point like Twin Peaks. Absolutely gorgeous city!!!
They call it the windy city and let's just say that I walked back from a swim at this fantastic pool
on the waterfront with my hair wrapped around my head. I hardly saw a thing.
Ended up going out for a cocktail at a bar where this time I came prepared. I ordered a double, double in two glasses no ice then a small bottle of ginger ale and a lime and I made own damn cocktail right in front of the bartender. His eyebrows went up so high they got lost in his hairline so I explained, I come from the home of the martini. You people might think you make martini's here because you use that type of glass but I can assure you that you have no idea what a martini really is. He laughed at that.
Then we wandered down to the waterfront to find our seafood restaurant at $40 an entree. It turned out to be a thumping club with an open air restaurant on the 3rd floor. We ate some weird fish I won't even try to repeat here to techno music. I insisted on a cab home being completely frozen.
Spring. What spring? It's the damn rainy season here. You know how cold it gets in SF during the summer well I won't hesitate to say it's even colder here. In fact, I don't think I've been warm since I arrived and I didn't bring anything warm to wear. I did bring my raincoat that Natasha gave me for a birthday and she was right at the time in observing it's not something I would pick out for myself but it has really saved me here. It's been raining pretty much the whole time. Not complaining though, since I love that.
You know how in life annoying things like being stuck in traffic happen, or missing a connection? We just feel frustration that things didn't go according to plan. However, I've started to suspect that when things don't go the way we want them to it's perhaps a way to avoid disaster but because we can't see the "what if" we feel cheated.
Upon entering the Wellington Hostel, I groaned audibly to see that we had metal bunk beds. (they creak and wiggle)
So I prayed I would get a considerate upper bunk mate. Well last night ding-bat in the bunk above me tossed and turned all night long. I even made her bed so that she wouldn't wake me up when she came into the room later because it was already midnight when I got back. I slept but I was woken often. I finally got so disgusted with her that I got up and asked if she was ok. She said yes and I said 'Ok just wondering because you haven't stopped tossing and turning for the last 2 hours and I can't sleep'. She calmed down a bit but started up again soon after that.
Anyway, she started rolling around again this morning and I was going to go back to sleep when I thought hey maybe I should check the time. 7:10. OH MY GOD.
Frenchie overslept, he was my alarm clock. So I raced to his room, woke him up and we had 15 minutes to get ready or miss the only ferry to Nelson.
It was an exciting morning to say the least but we made it.
As we pulled out of port the wind was so fierce that we actually saw huge sheets of water whipped up 30 to 40 feet high. It was a 3 hour journey where I spent the vast majority of my time outside shivering or at the inside observation deck, shivering.
Arrived at Picton. The scenery coming into port is simply indescribable but I'll try...turquoise clear water, lush hills with thick forests, white sand crescent moon beaches dotting the coastline along the way, large voluminous clouds heavy with rain overhead, a smell of purity and clean unlike any detergent commercial you have ever seen on TV.
We hopped on the magic bus and headed to Nelson.
Stopped off again at a roadside cafe that is famous for their chicken and Camembert cheese pies. We both got one and about halfway through I suggested that it must be like a "king cake" because we could not find the cheese.
Let me explain. In French countries, it's called Le Jour Du Roi. It's a special day of year when you buy this pastry that has a bean hidden in it and share it with friends and the person who finds the bean is the king for the day.
I finally found a tiny piece of cheese in mine, Maxime never found his. Pity, it was good. I bought a couple pies to go, they were so yummy. I even called ahead to book my room for tomorrow and Steve who took my booking asked if I was calling from the ???? place (couldn't understand him) so he clarified, 'the pie place', ah yes right, right. You know they make the best pies on the South Island they do.
Oh and no lunch would be complete without that hokey pokey ice cream. mmmm
Our driver, Mike who's as nice as Greg and Ian and the size of both of them combined explained all sorts of weird and wonderful things on the way. (They love to say that here "weird and wonderful", right right, -long pause-)
Forestry is a large business here, sections are cleared and replanted. Plywood is made out of most of the branches that are trimmed, and I believe them. I stayed in a hostel where the floor, the door and the bed were all built out of that stuff, and they didn't cover it with fake veneer either. They should have called it 'the plywood room'.
In fact, I have also seen plywood tents.
Spending a quiet night in Nelson. Laundry, some soup, some bubbly and met some fun people. Watching a movie in a loft space in an old converted Victorian house. It's a cozy homey place and a good place to relax. Except for a lack of hot water in the showers. There are 3 of us in the room and we all want to go to bed early. Hehehe.
The room next to ours looks like a laundry mat. And the door lock and handle installer must have started happy hour early the day he worked on our doors because as you can see, I don't think he could make up his mind how to install them.
Left Nelson bright and early after a good nights sleep (had two blankets on me again so I was nice and toasty). Heavy fog today and light drizzle. Perfect.
Winding our way between tall mountains in the deepest part of the valleys. Low hanging clouds look like ghosts hugging the tops. A river follows us most of the way. Single vehicle bridges must be crossed once in a while. Some of the road is so narrow and windy that mirrors are used to see around the bend. Along the road are these grotesque signs about driving accidents. They usually say something harmless like "tired? have a rest" but the image is of a dead body with the name tag on the big toe or a kid screaming and looking terrified.
Our breakfast stop was at another cute roadside cafe where they finally made a hot chocolate hot enough for me (but not without some grumbling and cheers at the end of the odorous task) and walked around town. Cute houses with flowers planted all around and bathtubs holding more colorful plants. Saw a whole group of Pukeko birds again.
Buses. People live in buses here. You'll see chimney stacks out of the top with smoke coming out. Wonder what the buses were used for before they became homes. There are even Internet cafe buses.
Pukey girl is puking again. That's it, I'm giving her a gift of motion pills next pharmacy I find. (and I'm going to have to find hiking shoes since mine are in my suitcase at the bottom of the cargo hold) Actually ended up buying some super cute flip flops that worked just fine.
Decided to forgo the glacier hike for instead a kayak trip on the mirror lakes at sunset. (I WILL use my dive and swim gear at least once, and if I'm feeling brave, or perhaps stupid, I'll take a dunk in the crystal clear water).
So let's talk sheep. Why is it that if you wash wool in water it shrinks and yet these animals are in the rain all the time and they don't look like a fat girl in tight Jordache jeans when they get wet?
Another weird and wonderful thing...our driver has a huge umbrella and since it's been raining pretty steady now for the last two hours I asked him when we stopped for the seal viewing along the Tasman sea if he was coming with us or staying on the bus, he said, on the bus so I innocently asked if I could borrow it.
Well enjoy yourself with your umbrella Mr. Mike. (I take back that comment that he's nice)