The trip from Franz Josef to Motueka was kind of uneventful, minus the crazy bus driver who kept forgetting his seatbelt was still on when he went to leave the bus to pick up a passenger. There was also the time he forgot to close the luggage door before moving, but in his defense, he was quite distracted with reading the manifest.
One thing I’m glad I won’t see anymore are the “Danger” signs that were posted along the highways. Basically the possum population is so out of control that they put food laced with cyanide in the forests to kill them off. I knew rabbits were a problem here, but I had no idea about the possum. One night in Queenstown I was sitting with the door open in the hostel (everyone leaves their doors wide open here – no central heating, mom!) and a possum went running down the deck. I followed it because I wanted a photo, but it jumped into a tree before I could get one. Frick tells me that when they were kids they use to go out at night and shoot them. He says they just used to look for the red eyes and take a shot. I understand population control, I mean, we do have a seal hunt in Canada, but it seems kind of cruel and “overkill” to use cyanide. I guess clubs aren’t any better though.
I will miss the blue blue blue rivers and lakes. When snow melts on the mountains it picks up silica that turns the water a lovely blue colour. I could have killed the bus driver for removing the magic from it for me, but it makes sense.
My travelling is for the most part over though. I managed to spend a small fortune in one month and it’s time to buckle down and stay in one place for a little while and work.
Frick picked me in Richmond and took me the 20-minute drive to his town, of course, not before we picked up a case of beer. We spent most of the evening drinking with his two roommates, James and Doug, whom both work at the DZ as well, and chatting about old times and old friends.
The closest shop is about 5-minutes away, so one morning I walked there to pick up some more phone credit. I’d like to take this moment to tell Rogers Pay As You Go to shove it! I have spent $60 in the past month on my phone and have sent over 400 text messages and made numerous phone calls, some of them international. I put another $20 on my phone and I’m sure it’ll last for about two weeks.
The town center is about a 20-minute walk, which actually isn’t too bad. There’s the normal stuff there – banks, shops, cafes, bars and a library. It takes only about four minutes to walk through it. The drop zone is about a four-minute drive away, which, by the way, I have finally done. My first time driving on the other side of the car, on the other side of the road was with a standard vehicle through a twisting narrow road that winds up and down around mountains. Of course, at the end of that road was paradise – gold sand beaches. I thought it was a good first test.
So I’ve driven, found a place to stay (Frick’s roommate James moves into his new house on the 20th), and I may even have a job on the packing mat, so things are coming together. Next week I am going to the staff Christmas party with Frick. Supposedly it’s at the beach, there’s some drinking, a boat and some water skis involved. Sounds interesting.
I have no idea what my plans are yet for Christmas. I was going to visit Dan and Andrea in Auckland, but it looks like I may have to work during that time. People here tend to just go to the beach and have a bbq for Christmas. So I will probably attend a skydiver’s orphan party or something of that sort. There’s a mini boogie going on here at the time, so I guess I’ll be jumping too. I am a little nervous to jump. It has been 3 months. But I guess I should be used to long delays. Hahaha.
I’ve been in Motueka five days so far, so I’ll see what happens before the week is out.