Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kiwi Quest 2010 - Hiking Day 6

Photos: 1) View of the river (looking downstream) from our holiday park campsite, 2) Rose I stopped to smell, 3) The Shaky Bridge that didn't shake much when Louise and I jumped on it, 4) Restaurant I didn't frequent in Alexandra. ****Please note that photos (and explanations of them) have been added to previous Kiwi Quest 2010 blog entries so you might want to go back and check them out.****

Day of R-E-S-T! A day off!! Showers and laundry!!!!!

So funny to think about how excited our group got about simple things such as showers and laundry. Back home, they're rather mundane and ordinary, but after 5 days of being mostly in the bush, one comes to better appreciate the little things in life.

This morning, we're up early again, decamping our little encampment at Cannibal Bay to head into Alexandra, an old gold mining town in the Central Otago region of the South Island.

It's a day of choices which is a bit strange after having had most of the previous 5 days already mapped for us. Mirijam, Jane, and Gerald have opted to go cycling for part of their day off while the rest of us will get camp ready at the holiday park in Alexandra and spend the day faffing. I have a few errands on my list of things to do, washing clothes and myself chief among them!

Soon it was time to drag out the poor tents yet again and set them up to dry in the lovely sunshine and warmth. Our camping spot is right next to a pretty river so I strung my portable clothesline between some trees next to the river as a scenic place for my clothes to dry. As there was some waiting to be done to use the wash machines, plus I had a yard sale in order to sort my clothes and repack my bags for the zillionth time, I ended up walking to town by myself since the others were ready first. I literally stopped to smell the roses on my 20-minute walk, and it was a bit weird to be seeing so many people at once as we'd hardly encountered a soul in the last few days while hiking.

I ran into Sean after my trek to the post office. He laughed when I said I'd just mailed more postcards home after buying even more, asking if there were any left in town now for someone else to buy. The group is amused by my spreadsheet of addresses (40+ for the record) to which I was determined to send a postcard. What the group didn't know was that many of these people, friends and family alike, had been instrumental in various ways in helping me complete my Kiwi Quest that was 9 years or so in the making. Be it donating their empty liquor/beer/wine bottles to me (I saved about $250 that way) to helping me co-ordinate seemingly impossible travel ideas, it was my way of thanking them and telling them that they were on my quest with me in a way. Maybe my card will inspire other "Postcard Wall of Fame" ideas!

After updating my blog at an internet cafe while half-heartedly listening to the older Kiwi-now-Aussie-resident bloke beside me rattle on about cleaning out his mother-in-law's apartment after sticking her in an old folks home, and semi-enthusiastically praising his ability to recognize me as a Canadian by the way I pronounce "Tronno" (aka: To-ron-to), I was hailed by Louise on the street and we walked back to camp together, stopping briefly to attempt to make the Shaky Bridge shake. It did, but not by much.

Tonight is a "real" dinner! Not that our hiking dinners have been anything to complain about at all; on the contrary, we eat REALLY well! It's just that this is our first dinner in a restaurant on this trip. Groomed and showered, our whole group adjourned to Monteith's Brewery Bar for some pub grub. The bikers had fun telling us about their adventures and the rest of us recounted our forays into civilization. Torn between all-day breakfast (which horrified Juli) and a burger with fries, I finally ordered the massive burger which came with a fried egg on it! It was my first encounter with such a thing, but seems to be the common Kiwi (and English too as my Dad informed me) way of doing things. When in Rome...

Back at our holiday park camp, I went to retrieve my regular laundry (the quick-dry clothes had been hung by the river) off the common drying racks outside the shower/laundry/whatever building. Much to the amusement of the guys up on the second floor balcony watching me, my dry clothes had blown off the line as I'd been too lazy to peg them. Stooping to scoop my purple underpants with sparkles off the ground, I realized someone must have felt sorry for me as a lone sock and one pair of underpants had been left pegged. Hey, at least they're clean!

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