10.19.2008 0 °F
Well, I have made it to the lovely Bay of Islands and it is just gorgeous here!!! I am so excited that this is where I'll be spending the summer months. Just like Queenstown, everywhere you look is a picture perfect view. I will be posting pics as soon as I can get batteries for my camera so I can actually take the pics!!!
I left Auckland this last Friday on a coach bus. The ride was so beautiful. Rolling green hills, little towns, a few rivers here and there. Gorgeous. It was about a 4 hour drive and halfway through we stopped at a cafe called "The Swinging Cow Cafe". And there was a picture of a cow with her rear end facing you and her udders swinging in the breeze. Lovely. Then when you went to the bathroom the ladies door has a picture of a cow and it said "heifers" underneath it. I know someone who will get a kick out of that. I arrived in Paihia which is the main town in the Bay of Islands. It’s beautiful. I stayed at a backpackers called the Saltwater Lodge. Very nice. New, clean, comfortable beds. After checking in, I decided to get something to eat as I was not up for cooking after traveling all day. Right next door to the backpackers is a place called The Salty. They gave me a coupon for a pizza meal deal and it was SO good. I got a little mini pizza, some garlic bread, a salad and a pint of beer. All for 12 dollars which is REALLY good in New Zealand. It was the perfect meal. That night I only shared the 4 bedroom dorm with one other person. She was from England and she was headed out the next day so I didn’t get too much time to get to know her.
The next day started out really nice. But like all island weather it changes every minute. First it was hot, then it was cold, then it started to rain. But it didn’t start to rain until after I had explored the town a bit, so that was good. Paihia is a really awesome town. When the summer season kicks off, it’s really gonna be a fun place to be. Lots of little shops, restaurants, bars and what not. The beach is right there and you can see Russell across the way plus some of the smaller islands in between the two towns. I took a walk on the beach and you wouldn’t believe all the beautiful shells that wash up on the shore. They’re HUGE!!! And so pretty. There are some rock pools nearby with shellfish and starfish. So awesome. I went to the nearest supermarket to pick up some stuff for dinner and thank god they had Dr. Pepper there. I really didn’t think that they would have it, being that it’s such a small town. But they did. And not only did they have it, but it was the cheapest price I have paid for it yet at $1.50 a can!!! I was in shock. Needless to say, I was a happy camper.
When I got back to the hostel, I met a girl named Emily who was from Arkansas. YAY!!! Someone from the states!!! I haven’t met many at all. The funny thing was, she saw that I had Dr. Pepper and said “Oh!!! Any time I can find Dr. Pepper I get as many as I can!!!”. It was so funny. I told her how I drink it like water and she said she does the same. “I paid 3 dollars for a can in Auckland!!!”. “Oh yeah??? I paid $3.50 for a can in Queenstown!!!” So funny. She went out after that and I didn’t get a chance to talk to her again before I left. There was one other lady who was staying in the room named Beverly. She was from Vancouver and she just retired from teaching high school. I thought it was so awesome that she was going around traveling on her own and doing it old school style. Most women her age would want a room to themselves in a posh hotel. But she was just fine with staying in a hostel with other travelers. Awesome. She was out on the deck drinking red wine and eating cheese and crackers and I sat down and started talking to her and we talked for a good hour or so about what our plans are and where we came from and all that good stuff. She was so easy to talk to. She then went down to make herself some dinner and she came back up to ask if I wanted any. She made a salad and she had too much so she shared with me. So nice!!! After that, she went off to go see a Maori show that they do every night in town.
Speaking of Maori, I went to a show when I was in Christchurch that I forgot to talk about. It was an organized one for people in the travel industry so I got to go for free seeing as we booked their show at Charlie B’s. It was really interesting. It’s one of those mobile type stories where you walk along from place to place and they act out the story for you. It basically took place around the time that the English arrived in New Zealand and how guns and alcohol had an impact on the Maori people. It featured two different chiefs who were prominent during that time. I only took a few photos but I will post them when I get around to it.
I stayed in again that night as I had to get up early to check out and work out my ferry ticket over to Russell. So I woke up, checked out and I had about 3 hours to kill before I had to meet up with my new boss. So I went around town again and got something to eat. Then I went over to the local bookstore and found the newest copy of Empire Magazine. YAY!!! This time the featured cover was the 100 greatest characters of all time as voted on by the reader. *Start Rant* I knew that I was gonna see Jack Sparrow in there. The question was, which number??? Well, I’ll tell you. NUMBER FOUR!!! Are you freaking kidding me??? If the pirate sequels had not been made, I would definitely put Jack Sparrow in this list. Well, I would still put him in my list but it would be based off of what I have seen of him in the FIRST movie. But he would not be in the top 10. In the top 50, yes. But I would never put him in the top 10. You may think this is not a big deal, but let me tell you who he beat out. Luke Skywalker, Obi-wan Kenobi, HAN SOLO, Gandalf the Grey, Gollum, Aragorn, Chewbacca, Yoda, Lt. Ellen Ripley, E.T., William Wallace, The Godfather, Tony Montana, Forrest Gump, Hannibal Lecter.......do I need to go on??? MENTAL. What are people thinking these days??? I do, however, agree with the number one choice. Indiana Jones. One of my all time favorite film characters. He wouldn’t necessarily be MY number one, but for the general public I am very glad that he was put in the top spot. At least some people are thinking clearly. *End Rant*
I went back to the hostel to get my luggage and then headed over to the wharf to catch the ferry to Russell. It’s about a 20 minute ferry ride and it’s SO gorgeous!!! Tons of boats sailing everywhere, people kayaking, little tiny islands in between the two towns. So awesome looking. I got off the ferry and started walking towards the main road. This german girl came up to me and said “Excuse me, I have to ask, are you working at The Gables???” I wanted to say, “I’m sorry, are you a psychic???” but I just said yes. She then said that she was working there as well and the reason she could tell was ‘cause our boss, Bernard, told her that I would be arriving at the same time as her and I was the only one on the ferry with a whole bunch of luggage. Fair enough. We didn’t have to meet up with Bernard for about 45 minutes so she invited me to come with her and her friends for a small picnic on the shore. That was very nice. Her name is Lena.
We then went to go meet Bernard and I got a look at the restaurant. It’s small, but nice. Really cool artwork on the walls by a local artist. They have a beer garden in the back and of course, regular dining inside. Apparently, I will be working split shifts. Blah. And since I have more waiting experience, I will be working inside ‘cause the outside is more casual eating. Lena will be working outside which I wish I was ‘cause she gets to work from 11 to 7 or 8. I have to work from 11 to 3 and then 5:30 to 10. Suckage. I don’t like split shifts. But I need money so I just better shut up.
After the tour, Bernard and his wife took us over to where we will be staying while we work here. It is SUCH a nice flat. Really clean and tons of space. Lena and I share a room and then there is a girl from China named Aki who is in the other room. There is another girl who lives here named Rowan but she is not working at the restaurant. She just knows the owners and rents a room from them. She is really nice. We all get on very well. In fact, Rowan’s brother works on a fishing boat and she gets free fish all the time. Last night she made us a curry fish type dinner and she showed me how to prepare it. I told her that she needs to teach me all kinds of cooking skills as I don’t have any. Oh, and she went outside to pick some watercress for the dish. Not from her own garden as she doesn’t have one. Just from the plants that grow around in the area. That is so freaking awesome. Speaking of the area, it’s so beautiful around our flat. There is a duck in our backyard who just had babies and she walks around all day with the little ducklings. It is so cute. But the sad thing is, she started with 10 ducklings and now she only has 3 as some of the other predatory birds have eaten them. SO SAD!!! But Rowan has a cat named Timon who is super sweet so he makes me feel better. I feel a bit more at home having a cat around the house.
As far as the town of Russell goes, it’s smaller than Paihia and there isn’t much that I can spend my money on which is a REALLY good thing as I need to save for when Curtis comes to visit near the end of summer. So I can really only spend my money on paying my bills and getting my groceries.
Oh, and I did check. They do have Dr. Pepper at the Russell supermarket.