Earthquakes, Windy Welly and a Confident Male

16th Feb

Just sat in Christchurch botanical gardens, hoping that there isn’t another earthquake (they had a 5.7 two days ago). It’s gorgeously sunny and I’ve just been for a cheeky 9K around the picturesque park.

We’ve got an awful bus driver on this leg of the journey: Scotty. If I ever have heaps of free-time, I’m definitely going to give him a bad review. The idea of the Kiwi Experience is if you’re staying at nearby accommodation, the drivers ought to pick you up. Last night my motel was EN ROUTE and he still said “nah mate.” So it was a 20-30 min walk for me with my big pack at stupid o’clock in the morning. And it’s not just me – the whole bus thinks he’s a miserable sod and he’s always stressed. Thing is, he’s actually quite funny. But we all hate him too much to laugh at his jokes.

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Went around the awesome ‘Spectrum’ street art exhibition. It’s inspired by the devastating effects of the earthquake a few years ago. There were lots of childhood references, which to me, refers to the innocence in it all – so many innocent people’s lives, ruined.

It was an ace exhibition; so glad we found it (no thanks to Scotty). “Christchurch is a bit of a shit hole to be honest.”

I disagree. All the pop-up shops, bars and restaurants give the city tonnes of character, and it was all quite enchanting.

Memorable moment: I was serving up some smoked salmon and missed the plate entirely. Instead, a big helping of the oily flesh plopped onto Hannah’s pristine Ray Bans, which were resting on the table. Awkward laughs and gasps all round…

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17th Feb

Arrived safely in Kaikura (a little beach town famous for whale watching and swimming with dolphins). I’ve decided to save a dolphin swim for the Bay of Islands, and I’m glad I did! We’ve been lucky with the weather so far but today it has been GRIM. Insane winds and pelting it down with rain.

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18th Feb

Time to say farewell to the South Island and head up North! The three and a half hour ferry journey felt like days but I’m finally here. I’m staying with the lovely Julie and Brett again and it was great fun telling them all about my adventures so far. It was also great fun watching Brett be sick in his mouth a little bit as we watched some weird birthing documentary, and the camera focused a little too long on some gammy placenta.

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Good lord. Now I know why they nickname Wellington, windy welly. I’ve never known gales like it! I’ve been pushed into the road several times… You open your mouth to talk and spit flies in every direction. Maybe I didn’t pick the best day to hang my washing out… When taking the pegs off, the wind swallowed my towel. It vanished in less than a second – my eyes weren’t quick enough to trace its direction. I ran upstairs to the balcony to try and get a better view of where it might have gone. Sprinting like hell; focused, frantic Liv did not see the big glass door… I now have a bruised forehead. Man, I wish I had that on film. Would get on ‘You’ve Been Framed’ EASILY.

My sore head made my Te Papa museum visit a bit of a struggle. It’s a museum of such high standards though, so I hope I can visit again one time.

In the evening I went to meet Annie, Mike and Hannah for dinner & drinkys. On the way, some guy stopped me…

He began with, “Excuse me, you were on the ferry yesterday….” (bit creepy). He then proceeded to ask, “what are you doing tonight?” No way! Chatted up on the street! Does that even happen these days!?

After some awkward small talk, I politely rejected him. I admire his confidence though. He wasn’t even a looker!

I shook my head in disbelief as I continued to walk into the centre to meet my lovely Kiwi peeps.

My jungle curry way delicious! Hannah, on the other hand has become a true traveller. Ordering no food at dinner, she instead orders an alcoholic beverage and asks the waiter for the wifi code.

It could have been a great love story

Happy valentines day! Running on very little sleep at the moment. Last night the Danish were being SO loud and SO drunk. Then whoever was on the bunk above me was snoring like a pig.

It was an emotional goodbye saying farewell to the girls as I made my way to Lake Tekapo. I’ll see Annie and Hannah again in a couple of days, but it was a sad farewell to Rachel, Jade and Sophia. Travelling is like an emotional rollercoaster. You become so close to people in such a short space of time and then before you know it, one of you hops on a bus / flight / ferry and that’s it – they’re just a memory. We’ll all keep in contact via Facebook though, and we hope to meet again as a group at some point back in England.

I’m staying in Lake Tekapo for 2 nights but have no accommodation for tomorrow night. Apparently there is NOTHING available. Oops. But hey, panicky Liv isn’t that panicky. “It’ll work out.” I tell myself.

Hurrah! It did. Someone cancelled their reservation in a nearby motel 10 minutes ago so BAM, that bed has my name all over it.

The late afternoon was spent lazing by the blue beyond blue lake.

I’ve just written a really, really long paragraph and then deleted it all because it made me sound so lame. Long story short: got talking to a beautiful man on the beach. He was hitchhiking around New Zealand. I was really enjoying his company…So much so that this panicked me and so I said goodbye. Why Liv, why.

The next day, on my little backpack trek to the motel, who am I following but beautiful man from the beach yesterday!!! I don’t believe in fate – but if I did, this would be it. I could have said hi and then we could have hitchhiked together (sod my own travel plans). We could have gone around the world together and then eventually buy a house in England, get a cute dog and live happily ever after.

Instead, I turned into a cafe to buy a coffee and a muffin before heading onto the motel. I am the worst kind of person.

***

Survived my lonely motel experience. Actually really enjoyed it! Finally had a great night’s sleep. Did a mighty solo hike up Mount John (accidentally went the extra long route) but that made it feel even better when I finally reached the summit.

Hannah, Mike & Annie have now arrived! After a chilled night in Tekapo cooking dinner together, tomorrow we will venture to Christchurch. Fingers crossed there isn’t another earthquake. 2 days ago they had a 5.7 and aftershocks are quite likely…