Monday, 26 April 2010


Beautiful place. I checked in to my hostel and not wanting to break from tradition, went for a walk around the lake. Branching off along a riverside track I saw what looked like a man floating down a river on a ring of inflated bin liners. When I caught up to him it really was a man floating down a river on a ring of inflated bin liners, beer in one hand, fag in the other. Because I was staring at him the man shouted out in a Spanish accent 'how you doing?'
'I'm good thanks. Are they bin liners?'
'Yes, it's cheap'
I'm not sure why but it seemed appropriate to take off my cap, bow down and say 'Sir, you are a genius'.
I passed the man and carried along the path but a few hundred yards later it finished. There was no path on the other side of the river either so how the hell the man was going to get back to his car I don't know. Unless, perhaps, he had concealed within his vessel a paddle made from lolly sticks (and I wouldn't put that past him, it would have taken a fair amount of Blue Peter skills to attach the bin liners leaving room for a person in the middle.
Back at the hostel I played scrabble with 3 English girls and a 17 year old German and had to hold on to some monster scores because I didn't want to look like a dick playing words like ee which I know is a word but justifying it would have meant admitting that I play on-line. That and the fact that one girl got away with words like zam meant that I finished third. I am ashamed to say I didn't like this and was a poor loser.

Next day I researched some long walks in the area and booked a trip for 5 days kayaking the Whanganui river. This had taken weeks to do as no companies would rent to someone who wanted to do it on their own, they were all guided trips. In the afternoon I walked out of town to a great free attraction, a hot spring fed pool 30 degrees in temperature, then past that to Huka falls and Aratiatia dam (both pictured below)

Day 3 in Taupo. Got drunk with some people who were celebrating finishing work the day before. It was a mexican themed party which consisted of eating some quesadillas and the 4 of us writing sombrero on stickers stuck to our caps. It was good fun but to be somewhere so beautiful and do something I can do at home felt very wasteful.

More Wellington

Decided I would like to see the Weta cave, home of Peter Jackson's studios where they did the CGI and prop making for Lord of the rings. It was a couple of hours walk out of Wellington and on the way I passed a woman taking a bite out of a potato. The Weta cave itself advertised the part open to the public as a mini museum. It was the size of my bedroom but there were just enough props and swords from the films that it made the trip worth while for a geek like me. There was also a film that talked through the work they do at Weta but as Mum has the extended 600 hour special edition box sets of Lord of the Rings it wasn't anything new.

Day 5 in Wellington was the day I'd been waiting for. New Zealand Black caps v Australia in the fifth One Day International. I walked to the Westpac stadium (known as the Cake Tin) via the art gallery and spent a day watching the black caps stuff Australia, the highlight being Ricky Ponting getting out for a golden duck. Even better than that, he was caught off his helmet so shouldn't have been out.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


Got the ferry from Picton to Wellington heading out through the unsurprisingly beautiful Marlborough sound.
Day 1: Couldn't be arsed to be sociable so went and watched Avatar in 3-D (Terribly brilliant or brilliantly terrible, 4 stars)

Day 2: Visited the excellent national museum where my personal highlight was bizarrely their Anne Frank exhibit. Bought a ticket to the 5th one day match between NZ and Australia and so had to book a further 3 nights in the hostel. In the afternoon I saw a middle aged woman smiling broadly and I was tempted to tell her how good it was to see such an uninhibited smile. I didn't though and I regretted it, everyone likes a compliment and if it's well received it is as much fun to give one as receive one. Mymind then wondered to other compliments for other people and I began to play a compliments game. The rules, I decided, were that every person you pass you have to give a genuine compliment to. Men and women old and young... not kids though, telling an eight year old she has good posture is creepy.
I chickened out of playing the game out loud but played it in my head and had a lot of fun imagining what I would say. The compliments started out quite mundane 'Nice tattoo', 'I like your socks' then after a while I got a bit carried away. 'You conduct yourself with an air of coolness', 'You're amazing I want to be you, then I'd want to be another you so that I could be you, hold you and be held by you'. It was for the best I was only playing the game in my head.

Day 3: Walked around the city and botanic gardens then to the pub for the 4th one dayer, New Zealand lost. I stayed on at the pub for a pub quiz. The couple I joined told me they were waiting on a friend, a serial dater, who had been on a date. I conjured up the image of a desperate girl with a personality disorder who I would endup flirting with anyway. I wasn't far off the mark. She was good fun but I'm glad I didn't know her for any longer. We came 2nd last in the quiz so didn't even win the booby prize of a round of drinks.