A Travellerspoint blog

Hostels and Backpackers....

sunny

Hey everyone!!!

Well, I'm still stuck in this crap town and I'm the only traveller in the hostel because today a basketball group came to stay and they took up all the rest of the rooms. So I'm stuck in the hostel with a bunch of screaming kids ranging from 13 to 15. Great. The parents and coaches are very friendly, though. The kids are just really loud. But I can usually deal with that pretty well. I can just imagine the mess I'll have to clean up tomorrow.

Which brings me to my next topic. Traveling alone and staying in hostels is very hard on you, emotionally. Every time I start to get to know someone really well, they are more than likely leaving the next day. Like last night, for example, I went downstairs to the basement and played pool and cards with my friends Katrina, from Germany and Michael, from Australia. Here's some pics:

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It was good fun. But the next morning they were outta there. While I was cleaning the bathroom I saw them leave. Suckage. Katrina is actually heading up to Christchurch and she'll be there for two weeks so I'll get to see her one more time before she goes back home. But I wish I could've done the road trip with them up to Christchurch and I totally would have if I hadn't made a commitment to clean for Lisa. And I also probably wouldn't have felt too crappy if Oamaru was actually a fun place to be in. But it's not. It sucks. Oh, and another thing that sucks is I had to switch rooms today and the new room I'm in doesn't have a wifi connection. So now I have to pay for it. Again. Oh well, I wasn't expecting everything to be perfect when I got here so it's all good in the end. Just as long as I know that I'll be out of this crap town soon. The thing that makes it not crap is having nights like last night just doing whatever and talking. Getting to know new people and what their travel plans are and what kind of music they like. Michael, by the by, has awesome taste in music.

Oh, I forgot to post these pics from my last night in Queenstown of my dorm mates:

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That's Carly. She's from Australia. She's working as a chef in one of the resort restaurants in Queenstown. She's staying in hostels until she can find a flat to move into. She's super cool and way funny.

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That's Stu from England. He's the one who also likes Ricky Gervais which makes anyone number one in my book. You can't see him that well but Carly and I were trying to bug him while he was sleeping as you can see here:

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He wasn't really sleeping, we're not that mean. But he was tired and to be fair I was about to go to sleep until Carly came back into the room. So she was keeping me up, too.

Ah, for I do miss Queenstown. I know I've said that a billion times but I can't help it!!! I missed it even more today when I asked the hostel manager if there was a Starbucks nearby. Nope. Well what about an internet cafe??? Nope. Wonderful. But I found a cafe that has wifi connection but you have to pay for it. No worries. I did the good deal and got the whole week for 20 bucks. Which is probably less than what I spent on it in Queenstown itself so that's one good thing so far.

Right now I'm drinking a mochaccino. It's actually quite good. One thing they do here in New Zealand is they serve little marshmallows on the side of your coffee. Every place does it. I don't know why. It's not like it's hot chocolate. But whatever. It's cute.

Okay, I guess that is all for now. Talk to you guys laters!!!

Posted by Squarabara 19:49 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Oamaru.............riiiiiiiiiiight.

sunny 30 °F

So yesterday I arrived in the west coast town of Oamaru.

And there ain't much to say about it.

And I should've known because I told 3 different people where I was headed and the first one said "Oh yeah, that place is small." The second one said "That's an interesting choice." And the third one said "Really???" like in that are you joking or serious kind of way. Great.

The thing I loved about Queenstown, is that you didn't have to leave the place you were staying to feel the energy of that city. I was sitting in the lounge of the backpacker's place and I looked out the window and saw people parasailing right in front of me. But you didn't even need to look out the window to know that there were all kinds of things going on out there. You could totally feel the vibe. And you didn't need to leave the building to feel it cuz the energy would come into that hostel every day. Although Oamaru is beautiful and it's right by the ocean and there's amazing scenery, this place does NOT have that energy/vibe. And that makes all the difference in the world. Especially when you're traveling on your own.

Thankfully, however, it's still been easy making conversation with new people. Last night I met 3 English people traveling together (2 girls 1 guy) and they were on a round the world trip. It seems like a lot of English people do that. But anyway, they were way sweet and easy to talk to. There was another guy there from Birmingham, England who sounded like a mix of Ozzy Osbourne and Ringo Starr from the Yellow Submarine cartoon. Not the same accent, but he had the same tone to his voice but with the accent of Ozzy Osbourne. It was insane. He was funny though. There was another nice English kid who was very sweet (who's name I also forgot) and a kid named Michael who's from Australia. He is also very nice. I haven't met one mean person in a backpacker's place yet. *Knocks on wood* This hostel has a basement with a pool table and we stayed in there all night drinking a local beer that was quite good (New Zealand has excellent beers) and just talking about our travels and anything else. They were very chill people.

Speaking of the hostel, this building is incredibly old. It was established in 1867, I believe and used to be the home of someone important. I can't remember the exact story but you can totally tell how old the building is cuz you can hear it everywhere. The stairs are loud, the floor is loud, you can hear the other person's room from your room that's down the hall but it's not bad. It's not dirty but it looks like it's falling apart in that "Wow, this is a really cool old building ." kinda way. The bed's are really comfortable but the building is very cold as you can imagine an old building would be. I have my own room and also free internet. Which is great since I'll be on it a lot while I'm here.

I started my cleaning duties this morning which wasn't that bad at all. This German girl named Katrina is the current cleaner for this hostel and she showed me where everything was and helped me with the cleaning. Together it took us about an hour to get everything done and when she leaves it'll probably take me about an hour and a half to finish everything on my own. Not bad for not having to pay for my bed. Basically, I'm doing what I should've done while I was living with my parents. Haha.

The most I'll stay here is 2 weeks and then after that I think I'm gonna head to Christchurch. I like that city much better and I would enjoy working there more than here. I just wish Queenstown wasn't so gosh darn busy!!!

Tonight I watched "Almost Famous" with the Australian guy, the German girl and the guy from Birmingham that sounds like Ozzy Osbourne. That's one of those movies that when you watch it you forget how good it is and it's one of those feel good movies. And I felt like I could relate to it a lot now because they do a lot of traveling in that movie, moving from city to city, meeting new people. I looked at it in a whole different light. I love it. I brought the DVD with me and I think I might watch it again tonight when I go to bed.

Tomorrow, I think I might go out to the beach and take some photos. See if I can see some of the blue penguins. They look really cute. Talk to you guys later!!!

Posted by Squarabara 03:22 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (1)

Pros, Cons and fun....

sunny 30 °F

Hello my friends and to anyone else who can understand the King's english!!!

I think it's about time to let you know the things that I like and dislike so far about New Zealand.

Transportation-
Pros: There are MANY different options. And apparently, hitchhiking is very popular here. In fact, it was highly recommended to me by many of the locals. More so than any other form of transportation. Wether or not I feel comfortable doing that, I don't know. Don't worry, mom. I won't be doing that any time soon.
Cons: If it's a taxi.......VERY expensive!!!

Food-
Pros: They have pretty much all of the same stuff that we have in the states. And the stuff that they eat regulary (which I've noticed seems to be either museli or toasted sandwiches) are actually quite good. But they do all the same kinds of things that we do like muffins, cereal, sandwiches, etc. And they have Starbucks, Subway, McDonalds, Burger King and the like.
Cons: VERY expensive, again. Although I am also in Queenstown which as I have said before, is the touristy resort town of New Zealand during winter. The sizes for drinks are much smaller than in the U.S. And you pay more for them. That sucks. My friend Donna told me about this woman she met that had traveled to many countries and she said New Zealand was her favorite. But she said the food was awful. I would not go so far as to say that the food is awful cuz it actually is quite good. I would say that there is not much variety whatsoever. And right now, until I get a job, I'm pretty much living off of peanut butter sandwiches. Oh and also, Dr. Pepper is no where to be found. I have found 2 places that have it here. One is at this candy shop in the town center. It cost me $3.50 in New Zealand dollars which is about $3.15 in American dollars. But I was so desperate to have one that I bought it anyway. Then I found it at the local super market which was much cheaper. $2.10 a can. So about $1.80 in American money. Crazy. Needless to say, I won't be buying that very often. Which I'm sure will make my mom very happy. And they also don't believe in ice for drinks here. You order a fountain soda at McDonald's and they don't put ice in it unless you ask. Mental.

People-
Pros: I've never been around such pleasant people in my life. Ron said that maybe all New Zealander's had to take a "Taking care of special ed people" class in school or something. This one woman helped us with parking for the hotel we were staying at and she gave us way more information than we asked for but it was information that we would more than likely need later. Ron said "Thank you, you've been very helpful." And as we drove away he said "And so have the rest of your countrymen." I've never had such a smooth trip before. I was expecting many more difficulties getting into the country. Especially with me staying for a year. But no. Cake.
Cons: I really have none right now.

The guys who are staying in my dorm room are from England and they are really cool guys. They are acutally on a round the world trip and have been traveling for 9 months now. They've been to southeast asia and Australia and now New Zealand. The first night I was there we got to talking and they asked me if I had an editing program on my laptop. I said yes, of course, since I have a mac and all. They asked if they could edit a short video on it because one of their best friends back home is getting married and they are unable to attend, obviously, because of their trip. So they were gonna film themselves with a speech they planned out and everything and edit it together on my laptop. So we planned on doing that the next day (last night). When we got around to it, I don't know what was going on or what but they couldn't bring up the video onto my laptop. I don't know if it had anything to do with different regions or what have you but last I checked, macs are universal and it shouldn't have been a problem. They tried for about an hour and couldn't get anything to work so we went to the local internet cafe and they gave it a go on there. They were able to get it put together a bit on the computer there but I am curious to know why it wouldn't work on mine. I mean, after all, most major motion pictures are edited on macs nowadays. Oh well.

When we got back to the lodge they treated me to a glass of champagne for helping them out which was nice. Then we hung out in the lodge for a bit and worked on a crossword puzzle. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that one of them was a huge Ricky Gervais fan which is always nice to find out. We started talking about the podcasts and he told me how he used to go to bed listening to them at night which I have done myself quite a few times. We were quoting our favorite bits and talking about other British things we like. It was good fun. After that I got a bit tired and decided to hit the sack. I went to bed listening to the Ricky Gervais show on my ipod since I had been talking about it all night and was in the mood to listen to it. Funny.

Well, it looks like I am going to be heading over to the east coast in the next day or two. I can't find any work here and there are no positions to work for accommodation in the area and if I don't do something soon I'll be running out of money. So I'm heading over to a town called Oamaru which is famous for it's blue penguins. The town looks really nice, too, and apparently, there is some work available over there. Which is what I need right now. I've already got a place to stay. I responded to an ad to work at a backpacker's place for my bed. Just a couple hours a day. I can handle that.

That is all for now. Wether or not I stay here one more day I am not too sure but I'll let you all know either way. Love you guys and miss you!!!

Sara

Posted by Squarabara 18:43 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (2)

First REAL day alone...........

snow 30 °F

So I woke up this morning to find snow all over the ground and a beautiful view from my window. It was nice to look at but I thought "Ah, crap. I have to check out today and lug around my suitcase." That sucked.

I had to check out at 10am but I couldn't check into my new place until 1pm. So I had the hotel hold my luggage so I could go to town and look around and do some internet and what not. But then I found out that the busses weren't running because of the snow. Great. So I had to walk. About 2 minutes into my walk, a van pulls up beside me and a chick yells out at me "You want a ride into town???" Heck yes!!! I got in and there was a guy names Roger and the girl was Michelle and another girl was named Sonia. They were way nice and Roger had been to San Diego before so he was familiar with where I was from. Very cool. They dropped me off and I said thanks. That was really nice.

So I went to the internet cafe, answered some emails, uploaded more photos and what not. You can see those ones on my myspace. After that I walked over to my backpackers place and checked in. The sweetest girl from England, I believe, was at the desk and she helped me out with everything. I'm in a room with one other girl and 2 other guys. I haven't met them yet but I hope they're cool.

Then I had to go back to the first hotel and get my luggage. The busses STILL weren't running so I had to hike it. By the time I got to the next stop there was a bus waiting for me. YAY!!! I went into the lobby, called a taxi and waited. The guy who picked me up was from Dublin and he only charged me 5 bucks for the ride back to the backpackers. I was telling him how it's been really pricey for me to stay here and he told me that to stick it out and give it a shot cuz the town is just wonderful and he's been here 5 years and loves it. He also told me where to go to find work which is good cuz I had no idea where to start. I'm gonna head over there today. One thing is for sure, I'm gonna lose a lot of weight living on my own cuz I have to walk EVERYWHERE!!!

I need to sort out laundry and some phone calls but other than that, I'm good for tonight I hope. I need to find some places to work for accomodation so I don't have to worry about paying to stay somewhere.

Thanks for all the nice emails and comments that some of you have sent me. I'm pretty sure that I replied to most of them. I'll be in touch.

Until next time!!!

Posted by Squarabara 19:13 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Wow.

I know, I know. You've all been wondering why it's taken me so long to update or check in. Well, it's because the internet prices in the hotel are outrageous and I had to wait until I had time to get to a cafe. So here I am. On my own. In a cafe.

The first week here has been amazing. Ron and I had a blast. I was sad when he left this morning. But we made some great memories. I'll start from the beginning.......

Ron and I left at about 2pm on June 30th. Our flight left at about 9:45pm. We had a lot of time to spare while we were waiting for our flight. But better to be early than late. Here's us on the plane:
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The flight sucked. Not in terms of the staff or the plane. But it was overnight and 12 HOURS. You couldn't get comfortable at all. Thank God I got that neck pillow. Thanks, Pips!!! Also, they had a tv in each of the head rests so I watched "Be Kind, Rewind" which was cute and "The Other Boelyn Girl" or however the heck you spell it. It was good. Then Ron let me watch his Family Guy Star Wars movie. It was hilarious. The staff on the plane was the nicest staff I've ever had on a plane ride. They were awesome. I highly recommend Air New Zealand.

So we got to Auckland. That was cool. This is Ron and I after 12 hours of flying:
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And this was the trash can next to the couch we were sitting on:
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I don't get it, but whatever. New Zealand must have a spitting problem.

So then we had to switch planes to fly into Christchurch. By this time I just wanted to go to bed but we knew that if we were to sleep we'd be up at 2 am New Zealand time and then we'd be tired during the day when everything would be open. Not to mention we had to drive for 6 hours the next day. But to be honest, when we finally arrived in Christchurch, got our luggage, went through customs (which went remarkably fast) and got our rental car, we were both wide awake. But in that tired wide awake kind of way. It also really helped that everyone we talked to was nicer than the person we talked to before. The guy I talked to at customs asked if it was my first time in New Zealand and I said yes and he smiled and said "Cool." and I was all "Sweet". The guy who picked us up in the shuttle and took us to our rental place was great. He gave us advice on driving on the left and talked to us about the latest news and what not. The girl who helped us with our rental car upgraded us to a nicer one at no extra charge and every time we said thank you everyone's reply was "It's alright." I love it.

Needless to say, Ron was a bit worried about driving on the left and it was really hilarious watching him drive that first day. Here he is laughing nervously:
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But luckily, no accidents were caused. Another thing the cars being different, the blinkers are switched to the right side as well. Ron kept turning on the windshield wipers when he wanted to signal. He said we were gonna have the cleanest windshield in Christchurch. We probably did.

We stayed at the Crowne Plaza in Victoria Square. Gorgeous area. This was right outside our hotel:
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I love it. We spent that day exploring the city and did a bit of shopping. I picked up some post cards to send to a few friends and my dad. They are nice ones. Then we went to go have dinner in the hotel and had a few drinks and went to the casino. I put in 20 bucks on black jack, won it back and walked away. I took it as a sign. Ron lost 80 bucks. Loser.

The next day, we woke up at 6 am to get ready for our drive. We were on the road around 9ish after having breakfast. The ride from Christchurch to Queenstown is unbelievably beautiful. Every turn we made I wanted to snap a picture. We pulled over 5 different times to take photos of the scenery. This is the first one we got:
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That one turned out great. Then we came up on Lake Tekapo which has some of the bluest water I have ever seen in my life. There was another lake close by called Lake Pukaki. Here's me by the lake:
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Freezing cold there. But gorgeous. Our 4th stop was to look at the river along the road which I don't know the name of but it also had some of the bluest water ever. The 5th time we stopped I got this picture:
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I'm pretty sure that that river was used for some Fellowship boating scenes and also the scene where Aragorn falls over the cliff and is floating down the river. It looks the same. So pretty. So was the drive into Queenstown. When you come over the hill and see the city, it's just surrounded by The Remarkables which were used as the MIst Mountains in LOTR. Absolutely amazing. Here was the view from our hotel room:
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How would you like to wake up to that everyday??? Well, for right now, I am. ;) That night we went out on the town for a couple hours. We didn't want to stay out too late cuz the next day we had our horse trekking tour to do. Queenstown is having their winter festival this week so the first night they were doing Mardi Gras. It was pretty cool. We found a bar called The Boiler Room that was super chill and also has the hottest guy I've seen in New Zealand so far. His name is Peter and he's from Australia. Man, is he hot.

At around 10 we got back to the hotel and went to sleep. Woke up at 6 to get ready and took the drive to Glenorchy to do our horse tour. The people were super nice and they knew a lot of different things about the movies. Here's Ron on his horse, Yogi:
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Originally, I was gonna ride Yogi but he was a little too wild for me and he took off trotting when I got on him. Extremely scary. I almost said I didn't want to do the tour. But then I switched horses with Ron and I got on Randall. He was super chill. I think Yogi smoked a crack pipe and Randall smoked a fat joint before they took us on their tour. Just as well cuz Ron has a bit of riding experience. After that I felt much better and relaxed. Horses can sense your fear so I tried to talk to him in a calming voice and constantly told him what a good boy he was being. The tour was amazing. It goes through the forest where the battle of Amon Hen takes place at the end of the first LOTR movie. We saw the spot where Boromir had his death scene and the bit where Frodo and Galadriel look in the mirror. Our guide, Beth, showed us which mountains were featured prominently in the movies. We saw the mountain that the Fellowship is climbing when Saruman sends the avalanche to stop them. You can see the flat edge on the side where they did their movie magic to put the Fellowship walking along there. Very cool. Right near the end of our tour, it started to rain so that was good timing. I'm really glad we decided to do that tour. It was a good way to see a lot of amazing scenery. When we got back to the stables, we got a look of their largest horse, Drum Major. He is a Shire horse and so adorable. This is him here:
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He was a sweetheart. After that we headed back to Queenstown which, by the way, is also a beautiful drive. What a surprise, huh??? We went walking around the city for a bit that day and walked in the park by the lake. Here a photo with a me and a big Ent:
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Later that night we found a giant Kiwi:
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That was pretty cool. We got a taxi back to the hotel and it was nice to go to sleep that night cuz we knew we didn't have to get up for anything the next morning. That was great. So when we woke up, we took the bus to the center of town and we decided to take the gondola to the top of the mountain. Here's some misty mountains:
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And here is me at the top of the mountain:
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That one's a bit blurry but you get the idea.

We hung around town a bit more that night and we got a FergBurger which is like the biggest burger in the world. They're good, but huge. I think I ate half of mine. Then we went back to The Boiler Room to see the cute bartender and then we headed back to the hotel. When Ron left me this morning, I was so sad. I didn't want him to leave. Only because I don't know anyone here yet. So right now, I'm in an internet cafe and next I'm gonna go to the local backpackers and try and find a place to stay for tomorrow night. Wish me luck!!!

I hope you all enjoyed my update. Once I find a backpackers place to stay I'll be able to update more often. I also took a lot more photos than what I put up here so I'm gonna put those up onto photobucket the next time I'm online. I hope you guys are all well and I miss you all!!!

Sara

Posted by Squarabara 18:46 Archived in New Zealand Tagged transportation Comments (1)

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