NEW ZEALAND

Hidden Gem: Hostelling Horror Story

My upcoming departure has me reflecting on my time here and I know that there are a few stories that have been past down amongst my friends like urban legends but for one reason or another I made the decision not to blog about it.  One of the favourites amongst everyone is my hostelling experience in Queenstown.  This particular event occurred during my second trip to Queenstown.  It all started out with an early Saturday morning flight to Queenstown where I was running on absolutely no sleep due to my own stupidity (sadly, this happens more often than I’d like to admit!).  In order to be functional when I met up with the tour group the next morning, my plan was to have an early night to recover.

I was staying at the Base Backpackers and as I enter the room, a Welsh girl (her nationality has nothing to do with the story so don’t take this as me being judgmental at all) is freaking out because she’s lost her passport.  I told her to retrace her steps and it turns out it was in her purse all along (In hindsight, should have taken this as signs of things to come and found another place to stay).  Anyway, as a thank you she begged me to go out with the group but I politely declined and got ready to for a good’s night sleep.  Several hours later, she was back, shaking my bed, and asking if I was still awake.  Well I was now and I whipped around to find a guy taking off his shirt.  It only gets better as one thing leads to another and he has to run out to buy condoms (of course, this is not before the moment where he briefly turns on the light and says, “OMG, you’re actually cute”).  Long story short, turns out it wasn’t his lucky day after all as he passes out shortly after he returns and she dumps him off the bed and goes to sleep herself.

At this point – couple #2 walks into the room and not far behind them is couple #3.  Each of the couples is off doing their thing all the while the girl from couple #2 is judging couple #3 for being all “Jersey Shore“.  The girl from couple #2 is also trying to convince her guy (he’s Irish – again, no judgement) that she’s technically from Edmonton but that’s essentially the same as being from Vancouver (took everything I had to pipe down on this one…crazy lady from Deadmonton!)  Sadly, at this point, we’re well into the wee hours of the morning and due to all the activity in my room, I still haven’t really gotten any sleep (can you say grumpy and if I wasn’t so tired, I would have whipped out my video camera to make a buck or two to support my traveling habit).  Anyway, this is when the Scottish guy (again, no judgement) who’s got the bunk below me returns to the room and flicks on the lights.  He’s extremely drunk, smoking, and annoyed by the naked guy wearing only a condom passed out by his bed and decides something needs to be done.  After debating with the 4 other naked people in my room – he proceeds to dry shave the guy.  Not everywhere – just one leg, one eyebrow, and his balls.

Thinking back on it now – the banter was pretty funny as things like, “I met her at Ferg Burger…first ferg burger then fucking” were said.  Surprisingly, when I left, the events of the night wouldn’t be the only thing that would haunt me that day.  When I walked into the bathroom – the floor was covered in blood and I put two and two together and realized that our floor was missing the passed out condom guy.  At the end of the day, the moral of this story is to not forget to book your accommodations as the last-minute scramble can sometimes lead to an interesting story but not a whole lot of sleep.

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Just Me, Myself, And I

Chris Booth sculpture on the island's southern headland

For some strange reason, I am slightly obsessed with exploring as many of the Hauraki Gulf Islands as I possibly can before I leave the country.  Rotoroa Island has been high on the hit list ever since it opened itself up to visitors late last year but for one reason or another it was never the right time (okay, truth be told it’s because of the weather – hello, what happened to summer!).

So what‘s a girl to do?  I can’t get a soul to commit to an all day island excursion with me and the weather (once again…surprise, surprise!) isn’t playing ball either.  As this is my second last weekend left in the country, it’s a now or never decision.  Sadly, it’s also one that I made while half asleep and set off for Rotoroa Island on my own despite how glum it looked outside with the hope that the clouds will burn off by the afternoon and I’ll have a beautiful day on the island (sometimes I deserve a punch to the face for my optimism).

By two o’clock, the delusions have faded and I’ve quickly come to terms with the fact that it’s a total shit day and I have nothing left to

View from the top of the North Trail

do.  All the trails have been done with a stop at every look out  – even the steep ones that I was trying to avoid at first.  I was cold and grumpy and if I could have rocked up to a bar until the ferry came to get me then solo drinking would have been my activity of choice to pass the time.  A little ironic as this island was originally off-limits to everyone except for a few people who were isolated there for alcohol and drug rehabilitation.

Sadly, there was no bar, no booze (let’s not delve too deeply at things I left back on the mainland), and boredom had set in.  That said, I have no regrets on going to the island as it was something that I wanted to do.  I would, however, not recommend anyone else go there on anything other than a beautiful summer’s day or on their own as there just isn’t enough to do to keep yourself entertained for an entire day.

 

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Just Your Average Shoeless Joe

Something that Britney and the kiwis have in common

It’s down to the wire to get rid of everything that won’t nicely fit into my suitcases and so I did what anyone in New Zealand would do when faced with the challenge of de-cluttering their life: list shit on Trademe.  One by one, my auctions ended and the bidders came and picked up my junk (oops, I mean the gentle used items they won in the auction).  Out of everyone that I met, there is one in particular that sticks in my mind.  The thing was, this bidder was the one who came to pick up a dresser but for some reason felt it was unnecessary to wear shoes.

If I was living anywhere else in the world this would have been rather disturbing (truth be told, it still is to me!) but here its just a way of life.  It seems that in New Zealand leaving your house without shoes on is common so why would it be a big deal to show up at a stranger’s house to pick up a dresser sans any form of footwear.  For some strange reason, there is a large number of people here who  think that its okay to stroll around without shoes.  Since arriving, I’ve seen people driving cars, buying groceries, strolling downtown streets, walking around in malls, and even pumping petrol without shoes on. WTF.  I don’t get it.  Forget about dirt and hygiene for a second and think pain as the streets have rocks, glass, and other sharp and painful object that can become embedded at any given second.  Don’t even get me started about syringes and contracting unwanted diseases because you stepped on something you shouldn’t have!

Anyway, that’s the end of my rant as this is one of those things that I’ll never understand and kiwis will never understand why I find it as disturbing as I do.  Word to the wise, don’t bother asking a kiwi about the shoeless thing as they either agree with me or think its weird that I would frown upon it.  Last time I brought it up, I was lectured on the freedom of being shoeless and I was just jealous because the climate of my home country won’t allow me to do such as thing.  That said, all I hope is that my disapproving thoughts about those that roam around without shoes wasn’t expressed all over my face when I opened the door to the man who came to pick up the dresser.  Despite what I think, the last thing I wanted to do was offend the man who was taking my dresser off my hands and giving me a little more spending money in the Cook Islands.

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Battered and Bruised!

The dry/damp forest under our feet

I woke up feeling like I was beaten while I slept but then it all came rushing back to me.  The truth is that there’s no domestic abuse fairy that lives in my room as all this pain was self-inflicted.  The thing is, the day before I completed (barely, I might add) the Goldies Bush – Mokoroa Stream Circuit which is graded as easy/medium.  What they forget to mention is that it’s easy/medium if you’re Spiderman or some other amazing super hero!  Sadly, I am not.

The nine of us out on this particular day decided to do the walk leading up to the falls which means we would tap the stream track first.  What they forgot to post at the entrance of this track is that there are numerous stream crossing and slippery rocks so it’s for experienced trekkers only.  Without having this vital piece of information, we set of on our walk.  In the water, out of the water just to get back into the water again and that quickly turned into face-plant into the water or face-plant into the mud only to slip back into the water.  We all bailed at one point or another as we left chunks of skin all throughout the circuit. It would have been awful if it wasn’t so damn funny and so we laughed at each other and our own misfortunes as we made our way to the waterfall.

Ah the memories.  There was the time that I ate it at the steam’s edge only to get hit by the current and roll around some more

The Waterfall

(sometimes, you just can’t be wet enough) or when another fellow hiker face-planted in the mud and the majority voted that she just slide into the water instead of attempting to stand up.  One after another, there was the mud or the water or some combination of the two that was the root of an epic spill for someone.  There was no going back as the thought of what we had experienced was so horrifying that it was best to just continue onto the unknown.  All we could do was help each other out as we moved forwards.  The moment that makes me laugh the most was when the experienced woodsman of the group asked if it was okay to touch my bum to give me a boost onto a rock.  I might have said sure but I was secretly thinking of saying why yes, touch whatever you like as long as you hurl my body onto this rock.  Please and thank you!  Its moments like this that will make me look back fondly on the day.  The circuit wasn’t anything to write home about but it was the people who I was with that made it amazing!

 

Categories: NEW ZEALAND, nz: auckland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Feels Like Deja Vu?

The Airline That I'll Be Flying With

I’m sitting in my room making piles of keepers, maybes, donations, and trash where the only thing that I’m certain of is that I suck at packing  (sadly, this blog entry may be my way to avoid the task at hand but anyone in my shoes would do the same exact thing!).  The thing is, earlier this year, I made the discussion to quit my life in NZ and in two short weeks, I’ll be setting off to anywhere but here.  It was a decision that I wasn’t planning on making at this time but certain circumstances forced my hand and so here I am attempting to jam my life into two suitcases once again.

Yes, I said two suitcases as I’m now taking an extra bag despite the fact that the airline I’m flying with only allows 1 checked bag with my international ticket that cost $1749.63.  At the time I booked, my rational was that a  12 day stopover in the Cook Islands on my way back to Vancouver was well worth the hassle of only 1 checked bag but I’m now starting to reconsider that.  Turns out shipping anything into Canada costs a pretty penny and so I’m left with a lot of packing, weighing, unpacking before repacking it all once again.  Eventually, I’ll get it right but right now its the one thing that stressing me beyond belief as there are certain sentimental items (and shoes) that I refuse to leave behind.

Categories: NEW ZEALAND, nz: auckland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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