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Published: October 25th 2010
Hello everyone, I’ve made it from Lake Taupo to Plamerston North, then to Wellington and on to Blenheim (pronounced Blen-um).
The drive down to Palmerston North was interesting, a little bit of plastic around the glass of the windshield came loose in the heavy winds and almost came off! I popped it all back into place and continued on until it happened again. With another hour to drive at least in weather that was at best just below gale force winds and a piece of plastic chrome that won’t hand on that long I had to come up with a solution. Most of you probably think I just duct taped the thing on like an amateur (I wish, but I didn’t have any duct tape) but I’m a professional, I rummaged through my pack for something to take care of the situation and what do I find? An unopened tube of Shoe Goo! I wiped the surface down with my shirt and applied liberal amounts of the stuff (though no so much that you can see it) and held the loose piece in question down for 5 minutes before hitting the road again (though all these repairs were done at the side of it). It worked like a charm and 5 days later it’s still holding on strong.
We passed through Napier on our way to Palmerston North to see what the famed Art Deco city had to offer. The buildings were interesting, but more like 1.5 hours of walking around interesting, not spend the weekend interesting. They have some famous clock there implanted in a flower bed, but as you can see compared to my wristwatch that someone forgot to wind the daises.
Palmerston North isn’t very interesting in and of itself, their only real claim to fame is that John Cleese was quoted as saying “If you ever do want to kill yourself, but lack the courage, I think a visit to Palmerston North should do the trick.” In return for that glowing recommendation, they named a garbage dump after him.
Wellington had a bit more to offer, but parking is an absolute nightmare. It’s like trying to park in downtown Vancouver but the only flat surface of the city is the water adjacent, it’s like New Westminster if it had been wrapped around a tiny bay and accordioned back and forth until you got sever hills going both ways. I ended up parking my car at the Inter Islander ferry terminal as you can leave it there for multiple days and it’s the cheapest parking you can get in Wellington, even if it’s a 40 minute walk from the hostel. I didn’t get to see half as much as I wanted due to very poor weather and a very little desire to go out into it, but I will be going through Wellington again on my way back up toward Auckland after my stint here on the south island. Anne left for the south island a day before I did to take the train from Picton down to Christchurch before catching a plane north of Auckland for work. Maybe I’ll see her again before leaving for Australia.
The ferry ride on the Inter Islander was nice if a little expensive, 1 adult and regular size vehicle cam out to $176 NZ! They increase the price of tickets as the ferry fills like an airliner so if I had waited longer to but a ticket it would cost more (cheapest I could find them was $160 but you had to buy them at least a week ahead of time for that price)! We better hope that the people at BC Ferries doesn’t catch wind of the prices people are willing to pay here.
The Inter Islander is a bit of a different experience than any of the BC Ferries because it’s a 3 hour trip across open water, which is very rough compared to the relatively calm Straight of Georgia. The ship had a movie theatre on it as well as restaurant, arcade, gift shop, and all the other stuff you’d usually expect to find on a ferry. The theatre part seemed weird to me because you’ve paid a hell of a lot for a ticket to cross and now they want you to pay $15 for a movie ticket? I guess some people are willing to shell out for it.
I arrived in Picton at about 5:30 in the afternoon and practically the entire town was closed, though a guess for a town with a population of only 1400 that isn’t hard. I continued on the highway for half an hour to Blenheim a town of around 25,000 which is primarily known for it’s vineyards and wine. I met up with Lili and Tania (2 girls I worked at Apata with) and we’re looking for some short term work here. Our arrival date could have been better, I got here late on Thursday and they arrived late on Friday so we didn’t go out to apply anywhere until Saturday, to make matters more difficult Monday is Labour Day here in New Zealand so we couldn’t go in for an interview until at least Tuesday.
In our time off we went to a market in town where we got some fresh clams really cheap and cooked them in a pan with some onions, cream, white wine, along with some boiled broccoli and mashed kumara. They tasted great and I was happy to have shellfish again for the first time since I got to New Zealand. The next day we went down to Kaikoura and spent a little time on the beach, there wasn’t really any sand but the entire place was covered in smooth flat round stones that are perfect for skipping! There were people down by the water’s edge who were fishing and most of them were doing very well for themselves, averaging about 3 fish each in around 45 minutes. A man close to us had caught too many fish for his wife and himself so he offered it to us! I accepted and gutted it by the water before bagging it and taking it home. Gutting was easy, but filleting was a little bit harder, I’ve only done it a few times before but it did manage (even if it was a bit of a hack job). The fish is called something like Kohui or something like that and has a white meat very similar to a lingcod, I barbequed it at the hostel with brown sugar, soy sauce, and seasoning salt, it tasted fantastic but made me want salmon really bad. Now the girls think I know what I’m doing when it comes to cooking, I’m in trouble!
We applied at a food processing facility called Tally’s and it sounds promising, we’ll hear back from them by noon today.
I can’t upload pictures now because of bandwidth limitations, but they will be up later!
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