Kaikoura stole my heart!

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June 25th 2015
Published: October 21st 2015
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I spent a whole week in Kaikoura, working for accommodation at this lovely hostel in town. During winter, Kaikoura is known to be very quiet and empty because the town thrives off the whale watching industry, and the extremely cold water at this time doesn't allow for much of that type of tourism! I was working in a hostel alongside 8 other travellers (one from Sweden, one from China, one from Malaysia, one from the UK, three from Germany and one from France). We all got along so well and spent basically 24/7 together (and I mean that literally because all the workers are put in one room out in the back of the hostel while the paid guests stay in the front). We were expected to work between 2-3 hours a day and in return got to stay for free and occasionally got some free food. Work involved anything from helping the reception with guest checkouts, cleaning the facilities to chopping wood for the fireplace. It was a pretty sweet gig mostly because of my incredible team. We had so much fun with it! We would spend the rest of the day going down to the beach (albeit in tens of layers because it was so chilly), cruising around town, playing lots of board games, talking about our travels, etc. We found it especially funny that there were only a handful of guests in a hostel with 9 workers…as we called it, the WOOFers (those who work for accommodation) outnumbered the actual paid guests! Two of the members of our team, Max and Yannick from Germany, were the first to leave. It was really sad saying goodbye to them but there were lots of promises made about visiting Germany one day (and Canada for them) and keeping in touch. To say goodbye, we had a little picnic at the beach (okay…there was no food. It was mostly just a beer picnic but it was fun, okay?) The best part of this picnic was that we had the privilege of seeing an orca (yes, a KILLER WHALE!) in the distance! It was so incredible that none of us thought about taking a picture…lol. We were so stunned! I especially was very moved because I've always thought of it wrong to see these animals in captivity (ahem sea world ahem) and I always said to myself that if I get the honour of seeing one, it will be because of timing and because I was lucky enough to be in the presence of one. Well, YAY! The seal colony very close by to this siting was spectacular. We spent a lot of time gawking at the seals (and them at us) and taking heaps of pictures. The little ones were so curious and I even got chased by one! It was very funny. I got a few aggressive grunts from the older ones when I tried to say hi to them….they definitely did not like the fact that we were disturbing their naps.

One night, we headed to a local pub called the Whaler for trivia night with the WOOFing team and our newly made friend from America, Chad. Chad's part of the Army (and thus is stationed in Japan but was taking a break and decided to fly down to NZ) and during our two days together, took the absolute piss outta me for being Canadian and saying "about" weird. This reminded me so much of my American cousins especially Varun and Gautham, who used to do the same thing! The night before I left Kaikoura, the team and I had a potluck dinner. We were supposed to make dishes from our respective countries and everyone begged me to make a poutine, which I thought was hilarious. Our German friend, Dominic, made this incredible German strudel that just melted in our mouths. It also helped that he is a professional chef so he really knew what he was doing. Xiao and Rachel (from China and Malaysia) made some yummy asian noodles and fried rice, while Oskar from Swedan made this rice pudding porridge with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg. It reminded me of Indian Keer and it was really good (apparently its had in Swedan during Christmas time). Saying goodbye to the team was really tough, especially to Steve and Dominic, who I particularly got really close with. I'm really hoping I see them again, soon!


22nd October 2015

whoa! killer whale!
I love your stories... and I LOVE that you got to see an orca in the wild. that is so cool. I'm glad you're having such a fun time. someday, i hope to hear these stories in person (we can still change your return flight to stopover in SFO for a few days, ya know!). and, you can WOOF while you stay here.. :) love ya ashimaam
22nd October 2015

haha!! I would LOVE to Woof at your place (actually though…that would be so fun).

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