Tuesday, November 25, 2003


Well I�m still in Valparaiso, trying to learn spanish! Damn these verb conjugations! So, what has been happening to me... mmmm. I had a rather awkward experience yesterday. I had to go and see the doctor just to check up on a problem I�ve been having with my prostate for some time, and I�d been putting it off for ages cos I knew that the doc would probably want to have a fiddle with my gonads, and well, it�s just not cricket is it? So anyway, I finally made the appointment to see the only guaranteed english speaking doctor in town, who was apparantly some german woman.

Woman wasn�t really the word I would have used to describe the sexy blond young thing that greeted me when I walked into the surgery... My doctor turned out to be a very attractive german girl who can�t have been much older than me! On the one hand it was good: I mean, much better to have a sexy lady handle your bollox than a fat smelly old man. But on the other hand, could I trust myself to remain, shall we say, "bored", through the examination? So, after chatting for a while the inevitable moment came and she asked me to hop up onto the table and whip down my pants. Desperately trying to fend off images of german porn movie scenarios (yah doctor, i haf zis problem u see... iz zat better?... ohhhh, yeahhhhh... oh doctor!..), I lay myself on the table and lowered my trousers, leaving my boxers on just in case there was still some chance she wouldn�t want a full fiddle. "If you could just slip them off as well...." Damn. I did as I was told, and at least the surgery was warm, saving me some embarresment....

"Mmmmm, let uz zee..." she said as she began to play with my balls. "It�s ok" I thought to myself, "it�s purely scientific. That�s my scrotum there that she�s examining, and that tube inside must be the Vans Deferens, and I guess that bit she�s fondling now... Examaning! That bit she�s EXAMANING now must be the shaft.. No! The base.... Arggghhh! It�s impossible, if she keeps on going like this there�s no way I�m gonna be able to keep myself from.... " "Ok, you can pull your pants up now". Damn.

And the sad thing is that that�s the closest I�ve been to getting any for quite some time.....

Anyway, moving swiftly on. England won the rugby!!!!! I know that�s old news to you guys, but I�m a bit behind here! I can�t believe I didn�t get to watch it after investing all that time in NZ teaching myself to like rugby! Ok, I�ve been in this Net cafe for bloody hours now downloading free spanish tutorials (the ones they gave us at school are shit) so I�m gonna shoot.


Friday, November 21, 2003


Well, I have to admit, those first couple of days in Santiago were a bit miserable. I met approximately NO people at all, spoke about 20 words to another human being, and slept about 6 hours. But all that changed yesterday.....

I was supposed to meet up with Paula (girl I met on the plane) the night before for drinks, but when I called her she said that she couldn�t make it, but that the following day she would be going to Valparaiso with her brother to visit her grandmother and did I want to join them? (wow, long sentence!) So of course I said yes, and decided to pack my bags and move to Valparaiso, despite having no idea what it was like. That night I changed rooms as I didn�t want to spend another night in that noisy room. My new room was on the fourth floor, and had a big window that let in the sun. As soon as I moved into this room I felt better. It�s amazing how much having sunlight in a room can change your mood! I woke up yesterday morning feeling good for the first time since being here. I had finally had a good nights sleep and the sun was shining onto my bed, and also I actually had a plan for the day!

Paula was picking me up at 12, so I went for breakfast at a cafe near my hotel. For the first time I sat down at the table, and when the waitress asked if I wanted a menu, I said "No gracias, Quisiera un Sandwch Churassco Italiano y una caffe con leche por favor" and she smiled and nodded and walked away to get my breakfast!!! Hooray! This amazing feat of fluency was actually achieved by ordering exactly what I had the day before, plus 10 mins spent studying the menu in the window outside... :) After my sandwich of thinly sliced beefsteak, avocado, tomato and mayonaisse (mmmmmm), I headed to the elecric shop, where I successfully asked for a transformer ("transformer" en espanol) but unsucessfully didn�t find one to fit my stupid bloody sony MD player. Then i went back to the hotel to wait for my ride.

At 12 there was a phone call for me. "Billleee! I am so sorry, we are running a bit late! We�ll be there about 1 ok?". No problemo I say, and go back to reading my book about working class irish people eating pigs heads. At 1:30 I get another call. "Ello? Billy? Ehhhhhhhhh, iz brother from paula....ahhhhh... Paula says... ehhhhhhhhh...... she... ehhhhhhhhh.....mmmmm.......otel...... ahhhh.... 30 minutes....... ok?". No problemo.

At about 2:15 Paula turns up and I meet her brother Alfredo and we all jump in the car. Finally I start to feel the excitement of being on the road in a strange country again! 24 hours ago I was lying in my cell of a room staring at the ceiling wondering what to do, now I�m speeding along the highway with two new friends to a place called valparaiso, listening to pumping latino music and being asked if I like to smoke marijuana.... things are looking up. When we drive into Valparaiso I am blown away. It�s the coolest town ever. It�s hard to describe but I�ll do my best. There is a semi-circle of hills surrounding a harbour bay, with a flat area at the base of the hills. The whole area is completely covered in buildings. The buildings down on the flat are larger and make up the downtown area with all the shops, offices etc, but the hills are just completely covered in the most motley collection of houses ever. Every one is a different size, a different colour, facing a different direction. It�s like it was designed by an anarchist architects convention. The whole area has become a world conservation site, so there are buildings that are crumbling and falling down next door to beautiful restored houses and everything just seems to complement everything else. Now, the hills are not rolling hills, they are like pimples sticking out of the ground: small in diameter but tall; making them very steep. And yet somehow the buildings just perch there on the sides, some of them on 50-60 degree slopes! To get to the top of each of the pimple hills, you can walk thru a wet little tunnel that takes you underneath the hill, and then get in a lift (more like a metal box attatched to a rope) that lifts you to the top! Once at the top the views are mindblowing. The whole area is a haven for artists and the goverment are trying to promote it as the cultural capital of chile, so the place has a very bohemian feel. There are murals on the walls of houses and bright colourful buildings everywhere.

As soon as we arrived we had a quick bifter and then wandered around giggling and taking photos. We met so many funny people that day! First we went to get a drink from a little bottle stall in a quiet little area on one of the hills. The old lady running the stall was really sweet, and Paula started chatting with her about tourists, and she said it was a shame she couldn�t speak english, because she would like to be able to chat with the tourists. So, we decided to teach her one line of english, and wrote it out in spanish phonetics so she could read it. "cud...yoo...giv...mee...sum...sing....too...reee.....mem.....bver....yoo...bai.....?"... She tried to read it but every time she got to about the 4th syllable she would burst into fits of laughter and have to start again. She was so amazed that she could speak english just by reading those sounds.... it was quite a moment. :) Later we tried to drive to Paula�s relatives house, but the way the town is designed makes finding anything virtually impossible. To make it even more difficult loads of it is one way and on 60 degree slopes. We stopped at a red light and asked for directions from a very smart looking businessman wearing a suit and holding a document case. He started by saying hello to the 3 of us in the car including me in the back, and then launched into the most animated directions I�ve ever seen, waving his arms everwhere. Apparantly he was quite the comedian, coming out with lines like "then you take a right, but just cos you �take�a right, doesn�t mean you should �take� drugs! ahahaha! then you go...."! A few minutes into his speech, the lights changed, and the cars behind started honking their horns for us to move. This guy just waved a dismissive hand at the cars behind and said in english "One moments, one moments!" before carrying on as if they weren�t there. Anyway despite his lengthy directions, we ended up asking for directions after literally every single turn, and then being told to go back the way we had come. It really struck me how different the people here are to in england. In england, most people would rather drive around lost for an hour before they pluck up the courage to do that most terrible act of talking to a stranger. Even then, if the directions fail they�ll drive around for another hour before asking again! This is quite strange, because in most of england (not big city centres) people are always happy to help you out if you ask. Here it�s completely different. I often got the impression that Paula already knew the people she was talking to from the way they spoke to one another.

Eventually we found the place and soon I had found a nice hostel to stay at. So I checked in and Paula and her brother went to have dinner with their grandmother and promised to to pick me up at 10:30pm..."mmmm, no make that 11 to be on the safe side".... to go out on the town. At 12am I was still sitting on the steps outside the hostel having a few beers with some guys from the hostel. At the end of our alleyway a film crew was setting up for a shoot. Some film directed by a german woman about a guy meeting an old version of himself in an alleyway or something. When they arrived at some time after 12 we headed off to try and find a bar that was still open. Twice we had to walk thru the film set going "sorry... sorry...sorry....". The only bars still open seemed to be a long strip of salsa bars, all almost identical playing the same music and full of people dancing salsa. We decided these were too expensive and eventually found a bar and started drinking the unfortunately named local spirit, Pisco. Today i am still suffering from the after effects of this Pisco stuff. In fact I think i need a lie down..... all this writing is making me dizzy....

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Mi cuarto es muy ruidoso!

God Damn! I did it again! After wandering around the streets of Santiago yesterday, I went back to the hotel about 4pm and just lay down for a second to collect my thoughts..... and then woke up completely lost once more, not sure what time or day it was! Luckily it was only 8:30pm so there was still time to go and get some food. I headed off to this little cafe i found at lunch time which was cheap, and was once again forced to choose something random off the menu. This time I opted for "Pollo Asada d/ Salade Tomate". Well, I knew Pollo was chicken, and I figured you cant really go wrong with a tomato salad. How wrong I was. The chicken turned out to be delicious. It was pretty much half a chicken roasted with some nice tasting seasoning, and served with a bed of sliced tomatoes. It looked pretty good, and the tomatoes here are really tasty, so i thought I{d done pretty well. But when I shoved a mouthful of tomatoes into my gob I was surprised to discover that there was a layer of salt about 1mm thick over the whole lot. It was, quite frankly, disgusting. That didnt stop me eating it mind you, which might explain why i was up half the night with a stomach ache.

Yep, it was another sleepless night for me Im afraid. It doesnt really help that at 3am the street cleaners come past my window with incredibly noisy machines, and my room is right on the street. well, it was. I just changed rooms to a lovely little room on the 4th floor with sun streaming in the window. I think maybe tonight Ill sleep after all.... :)

I apologise for the lack of apostrophes in this entry, but I cant figure out how to do them on this keyboard, its a weird spanish one..... is it "weird" or "wierd"? I can never remember. I think its the former, but the latter makes much more sense if you ask me: wi-erd. see?

Not sure what to do today... guess Ill go and find out how to get a bus to somewhere.. or at least figure out how to ask for one!

ok, hasta luego

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Painful flights and Sleepless nights...

Buenos Dias!

I�m now in Santiago, so I guess I�d better give you a quick run down of what�s happened to me since my last blog entry:

I left Wellington and started hitching North after catching a train to a town just outside the city. I got a lift after just a few minutes and was soon on my way to somewhere or other... My second lift was with a middle aged kiwi couple who gave me a running commentry/guided tour of the highway for the entire journey: "Now those trees over there are indiginous trees and they flower twice a.. oh look, this town is an old railway town, and these houses are all railway houses...", "No they�re not dear", "Are they not dear? Oh no, that�s right, they�re not railway houses, but they�re very old... and up ahead is Mt blah blah blah".... It was a most informative journey I can tell you!

Eventually I arrived in a place called Turangi which I decided would be a good stop-over, and checked into the "Extreme Backpackers", which was run by a deceptively un-extreme old couple. Anyhow, they were extremely nice, so that was ok. I wanted to do the "Tongariro Crossing", which is a cool walk along volcanic craters, but the weather decided I shouldn�t go, and I ended up just going for some small walks in the rain with a few lads i met instead. After the walk we went to the local "Hot Springs". I was expecting natural rock pools full of steaming clear water, but it wasn�t like that at all. It was actually a load of small rooms with concrete pools in and the water was fed into the pools through a series of pipes. Boring. Anyway, we went up to the counter and asked for a hot pool. "Normal or Magic water?" asked the overweight mouri girl behind the counter. We hadn�t anticipated this and were a bit stumped to be honest. What was this "magic" water? Was it hullucenagenic? Did it make you immortal? No, it turns out that the most magical quality this water has to offer is that if you get any up your nose it will give you amoebic meningitis and kill you. Now that�s magic young man! So after a very relaxing time in the pool trying not to scratch out noses with our wet fingers, we eventually headed home.

Back at the hostel I met a couple of german guys who started raving about this hostel they�d been to up in the north of the North island, and then they said "Actually we�re driving up that way tomorrow, why don�t we drop you there?". So that was that, I didn�t need asking twice, and me and Greg (one of the lads) both got a lift with these two fantastic german doctors all the way to the small village of Waipu (pronounced "why poo?") and the incredible Ebb and Flow hostel. It was without a doubt the best place I stayed in NZ, and the group of friends I made there in just a few days were like best buddies. The owner, a crazy german ex-punk, instead of making me fill in forms, show my passport, and pay up front, just showed us round, introduced us to everyone, and then when I started playing my guitar, brought me a crate of beer and told me to drink it!!! Bargain!

Anyway, it couldn�t last forever, and after a few days of rugby watching, beer drinking, and nocturnal Charlie kicking, it was time to leave. I got the bus to Aukland and caught a flight at 5pm to Santiago, Chile.

Now you might think that coming to S America would require a certain degree of planning. I mean after all, S America always conjures up at least a few images of scary shit in most peoples minds, so best to be prepared eh? Well you�ll be pleased to know that I bought myself the "Footprint South America Handbook".... 2 hours before i got on the plane! I started reading it in the airport before i checked in, and I have to say that the "What to do before you go" section was a little demoralising! Anyway, it was too late for regrets now, all I needed to know was how to get from the airport to a good hotel. About this time I suddenly realised that I had absolutely no idea what the time difference in Chile was, how long the flight was, or what time I arrived. Mmmm, perhaps a little bit more planning would have been not such a bad idea after all....

I finally found out what the flight duration was when boarding the plane... 11 hours!!! God Damn!! I didn�t think it was anything like that long! And I also discovered that my flight arrived at midday, which was a bit of a godsend really, as I so didn�t fancy arriving at night! The flight was pretty awful tho. Lan Chile economy class sucks arse. The seats were so cramped that you got Deep Vein Thrombosis just from looking at them. Luckily I was sat next to a really friendly Chilean girl called Paula who was on her way home after a year in NZ studying english, so I had someone to chat to. After a while I needed the loo, but every time I looked over my shoulder there seemed to be about 10 people crowded around the entrance waiting, so i�d decide to wait a while before getting up. Eventually I could wait no longer, and I headed up towards the toilets/stewards area, where i was amazed to find that the toilet was actually free after all!! All the people crowding around the area were just "hangin out" and munching free food!! The poor stewards were trying to prepare the breakfast for later whilst squeezing through this mass of old ladies gossiping! It was quite a sight!

Eventually, after a sleepless and freakily short night (god knows how many hours i lost with the time difference!) we finally arrived in Santiago. I said goodbye to Paula and promised to call her after a couple of days when she�d finished her family duties, and got on a bus to town. By the time I arrived at my hotel I was too tired to even take a shower and I just crawled into bed and fell asleep. I woke up at about 8pm feeling incredibly disorientated, and figured I�d better find some food, so I headed outside to look for a restaurant. The area I�m staying in is really beautiful. All old buildings and cobbled streets, which is such a welcome change after NZ (Look at that building! It must be at least Fifffffty years old!!!). I found a nice restaurant, and picked up the menu. It was about then that I realised that i don�t know how to read spanish... then the waiter came up and I was reminded that I aslo don�t know how to speak spanish... mmmmmm. In the end I opted for the only thing on the menu that I understood, which was "Fettucine Neapolitana", and only after it came did i realise the irony of my choice: 2 months of surviving on pasta, and when i finally get to eat in a proper restaurant, what do I order?....

After dinner I headed back to bed, and had a really good sleep and woke up feeling refreshed and alert..... at about 2am. Shit. To add to my disorientation, I wasn�t actually sure whether my watch was right, as I had only guessed at the time difference and hadn�t checked with anyone. I kept thinking it must be morning by now and peeking out of the windows only to find the same orange glow of the street lights... So I tried to go back to sleep, but in my confused state of semi sleep I kept having THE wierdest dreams ever remembered by man. In one of these dreams I was stood in the street with about 3 other people around a gas cooker. On the cooker were 2 saucepans with boiling water in them (and maybe an egg), and one frying pan with a mixture or corn and beans simmering away. Now comes the wierd bit. For some reason, someone was really sick, and we were trying to get them to hospital, but the pans of boiling water were inextricably linked to the the ill persons life, and therefore the cooker needed to go the hospital with him. Luckily the cooker was on castors which sat on a set of rails going down the street. Unluckily, the rails ended and a wall blocked the path of the cooker. We kept checking that the water was still boiling as if that might somehow help the situation. Incidentally the corn and beans simmering away had nothing to do with the ill guy and were in fact our dinner. I distinctly remember at one point thinking "fuck it, let�s forget this guy and just eat the food, I�m starving!!". Selfish, I know, but hey, I was hungry and I didn�t even know the guy! Why couldn�t he find his own cooker to boil his metaphorical life force on? Ok, I rekon by now you�re probably starting to appreciate to a certain extent what a fucked up night I had last night, so I�ll stop.... :)

At about 6am I decided it was better to turn the light on and just wait for the sun to rise, and by 7am I was out on the streets looking for shit to do.... and I�ve been there ever since! Well I�ve just spent 1.5 hours in this net cafe, and I think it�s about time I had some lunch.... but i still haven�t got round to learning spanish! damn! I refuse to give in and get McDonalds! I guess i�ll just have to order something random and see what i get....

ciao for now.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Bedding down in a Borstal...

After a pretty uneventful ferry ride over the Cook Straights, I arrived in Wellington at about 9:30pm, and was picked up by a guy from "Rowena Lodge" where I had booked a bed. The wind was so strong that the van was rocking violently from side to side and it was bloody freezing, but I didn't mind because I was looking forward to seeing the hostel, which was described by The Book as being small, welcoming and homely. When I arrived I walked into the reception area and was surprised to find it was a cavernous affair, with huge high cielings. The girl behind reception was friendly enough and gave me my key. "You're in room 51" she said. 51!!!? How many rooms did this place have?? I was used to being in room 3, or maybe 6, but definitely no number higher than that. She pointed towards the kitchen, tv room, and pool room, all of which were painfully depressing, and sent me upstairs to find my dorm. My dorm, it turns out, was little more than a broom cupboard with 3 bunk beds squeezed into it. There wasn't even any room to put my bag down! The beds were those rickety iron ones that you would expect to find in a rumanian orphange, and they had thin matresses to match. The room stank of beer BO and I started to get a fairly good impression of what I could expect from my room mates.

All in all the hostel felt like a young offenders institute and was not at all "small, welcoming and homely"! It was about this time that I realised I had traced a slightly less than horizontal line accross the page of my lonely planet to the phone number of my chosen hostel and ended up booking the wrong one! Oh well, it's only one night I figured. I headed downstairs to the enormous but messy "communal area" where a few plastic chairs and tables made up the rooms only furnishings. There were a few people sat around so I joined them and played a few songs on my wee guitar before heading for bed.

When I walked into my dorm, the lights were out, and from the light coming from the door I saw a rather large guy climbing/falling from the top bunk next to mine. "Shit beds aren't they?" I said, and he replied, rather oddly, "I'm not gay!". This seemed a rather unusual response to me, but then I noticed that the bunk he had just climbed down from was still occupied! "Okaay" I said, and started trying to get to my bunk. At this point I reslised that all the beds in the room were full, and that the smell of beer had become stronger since their arrival. I decided I had to turn the light on briefly to find my torch, but this turned out to be a big mistake. Once the light was on, the big guy who wasn't gay and the guy on the top bunk who he apparantly wasn't trying to have sex with took the bright light as a sign that they no longer had to be quiet and launched into a loud drunken argument over who had been the most successful at "almost pulling". Eventually I managed to get into my bunk but these two drunken idiots, who were of course English, continued arguing in a tone and volume of voice that suggested that they thought all of the other inhabitants of the room must be finding them amazingly entertaining. Luckily for me my super japanese airtight headphones from the future saved me from their mindless drivel and I was soon asleep.

The next morning I was up at 8:30 and out searching for another hostel. I found one round the corner which seemed much more up my street. It was run by an eccentric and grumpy old singaporean who apparantly has gained a real reputation as a complete freak. The house is a complete mess, with years of junk and random paraphenalia scattered around the floor/tables/shelves in every room. Just like home! I checked in, which basically just involved saying hi to a german guy called Urs who was apparantly running the place, and 5 mins later was sat outside in the overgrown garden enjoying the free breakfast and having a rather interesting discussion about the number of words in the english language. :)

Since then I have been to an exhibition of Wim Wender's photographs (guy who directed Buena Vista Social Club), been out on the town, watched 4 games of Rugby, and been to the beach. All in all I think Wellington is a pretty cool city. But alas, I have to leave, as I fly in about 6 days and I have to hitch to Aukland. Anyway, S America soon! Woo Hoo!

Friday, November 07, 2003

I'm 26, but do I look it?

I went into the supermarket the other day to get some groceries. After finally managing to force myself to the checkout without picking up the kalamata olives, feta cheese, nachos, salsa, and countless other delicious things that were screaming from the shelves to be eaten, I was confronted by a young girl sat behind the till. When i say young, i mean like about 12 years old! So as i'm stood there in my own little world wondering what the legal working age is in NZ, I suddenly realise that the little girl is talking to me.

"Do you have any ID?", she asks.

The question fails completely to make any sense in my already distracted mind, and I hesitate for a few seconds as I try to figure it out. Why could this girl possibly want to see Identification? Does she not believe I am who i am? And what does it matter who i am anyway, I'm just buying groceries?! For a second I think it might have somethingto do with credit cards or something, and then dismiss it as I haven't shown her a credit card. Eventually i pull myself together.

"Umm, yeah I have, what do you need it for?" I ask.

She looks a bit embarresed and points at the crate of beer in my shopping. Ahhhhh! Of course, how stupid of me! It's been such a long time since I've been "carded" (as everyone calls it here) that I'd forgotten that it actually happened!

"How old do I have to be to buy alcohol?", I ask her.

"Eighteen", she tells me.

"Oh, ok", I say, and show her the page of my passport that has all my details on it.

"What am I looking for?", she says, scanning the page.

"My date of birth", I tell her.

"Ahhhh, ... mm.. yeah, ok". she says, and then looks back at me and smiles as if to confirm that all is well and I've passed the test. I take my passport back, and then ask her,

"So how old am I then?"

"Ummm, I dunno", she says, starting to go red.

"Then how can you sell me alcohol?", I ask.

"Cos i just just check the number, and if it's 84 or bigger then i can't sell it to you... or is it 85? It's one of them... Oh no, hang on, it depends if it's this month... I forget which one...". She starts to look over for guidance from her supervisor who is grinning broadly and enjoying the whole affair, but none is forthcoming.

"Well actually i'm 26", I tell her, and she goes more red. I decide that enough is enough and move onto her supervisor, who informs me that by new zealand law, you only have to be 18 to buy alcohol, but you have to look 25!!! How insane is that. At first glance it may seem like a fairly sensible precaution, but think of it like this: I go into a shop to buy alcohol, i get refused, i ask why. The girl tells me I don't look old enough. I ask her how old I look. She says I look 23. I ask her how old I have to be. She says 18. I tell her I am in fact 23, and her guess is bang on accurate. So she thinks I'm 23, I know I'm 23, we both know i only have to be 18, and yet she still can't serve me a beer..... now that's pretty fucked up if you ask me! Anyway, I'm not complaining, if people think I look younger than I am then I'm happy! :)

Ok, enough rambling. I think I should tell you a little about the last few days/weeks.

Firstly, you will be pleased to know that my birthday was awesome. I got up in the morning and headed out to sea in a boat. I then pulled on a wetsuit, a hood, booties, flippers, and a snorkel, and jumped in the water with about 30-40 Dusky Dolphins!! They are incredible! They're different to the usual bottle nose dolphin that we all think of when you say "dolphin". They're smaller, have a more streamlind nose and body, and beautiful colouring. In order to attract their attention in the water and get them to play with you, you have to act like a dolphin, which basically means making stupid noises down your snorkel, pumping your pelvis like your trying to shag the plankton, and making futile attempts to dive into the deep whilst wearing an ultra bouyant wetsuit. I found that the dolphins responded most excitedly when i sang "Ooh baby i love your way". Incidentally, they despise Coldplay. After about 20 mins, all the Dolphins dissapeared! So i was there spinning around in circles thinking that it was all over, when all of a sudden a pod of... wait for it... 200 dolphins rocked up!!! It was unreal! They were doing synchronised underwater swimming with me and all sorts! Anyway, eventually i had to get out, and it was only once I'd swum back to the boat that I realisd my hands had frozen into claw like shapes and couldn't be opened. They were completely numb! I managed to haul myself up onto the boat using my elbows and my useless jelly-like claws, but I had to get someone to help me do everything after that! I couldn't even hold a cup of hot chocolate!

When we got on the bus to head back to town, a blond girl and a red haired guy walked past me and sat at the back. I could have sworn I knew them! They just looked so familier it was unreal. For one person to just look like someone you know would be understandable, but 2?? nah, it had to be them. When i got off the bus I waited for them, and as soon as they got off they recognised me! It was Fergus and Emma, 2 friends from my university days!! So now I had friends to have a drink with on my birthday!! Thankyou God/Allah/Buddah/Krishna/Gaia/Mother Earth/OB1!!!!!!!!!!!

After that I headed home and jumped in the hot spa pool, and then an Israeli woman who I had smiled at a few times presented me with a birthday cake!! Wow! Amazing how things have a way of working out if you let them..... :)

ok, that's enough for now. I have to go and catch a ferry to the North Island. Seeya! :)

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Well, I finally left Nelson. My mate Rob dropped me at the edge of town and I stuck my thumb out and soaked up the early morning rays. Within about 20 mins I got a lift with the principal of a local primary school. When he found out I was english, he wanted to know if I was a Royalist. I told him I thought the Royal Family should be moved into council houses and all their treasure sold and their money taken and spent on worthwhile things like education and healthcare. He tried to defend the Royals by making out that tourism revenues from the Royal Family were one of The UK's major sources of income. I'd always thought Arms dealing was our main source of income, but even if he was right, I pointed out to him, there was really no need for the Royal family to actually be present. We could simply move them out under cover of darkness, and then every week we'd get a lookalike of the queen to pop her head round the curtain at buckingham palace. The Royal press office could contimue leaking scandalous stories to the tabloids, and no one would be any the wiser! I mean let's face it, how many tourists who visit the UK actually SEE a Royal? None! They just wanna see their houses! At about this point i remebered that this guy was actually giving me a lift, so I said he was probably right after all and changed the subject...

He dropped me in his nondescript hometown of Blenheim, from where I was supposed to be hitching North to Picton where I could get a ferry to the North Island. My plan was to be in Wellington, the capital, by the end of the day... but somehow I found myself on the wrong side of the road hitching south instead! I could pretend it was an accident, but really it was just that i couldn't face the thought of going to a city, and someone had mentioned that Kaikora was really beautiful, so I just started heading there.... that's the beauty of hitching! No tickets, no fixed destinations... and no money!! Anyway, Kaikora is stunning. Today I walked along the coast as was blown away. Luckily someone caught my trouser leg and pulled me back down to the ground again.... (groan) no really, it is amazing. The mountains (snow capped of course) literally come right down to the sea, which is the deppest turquoise ever. There are seal colonies living right on the beach so you can walk up to within a metre of these awesome creatures. I might go swimming with dolphins tomorrow, but it costs 115 bucks, so not sure....

It's gonna be my birthday on Monday and it looks like I may be spending my first ever birthday alone with no friends! Sad huh? So please feel free to e-mail me a card! That way if I have no one to talk to on my birthday I can come in here and read mails! :)

ok, better be off, tummy's rumbling! (made green curry again last night!)