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Akaroa and Surrounding Areas – Day 63
Sunday 29th May 2005
Today I was blessed with yet more stunning scenery and a place that I couldn’t work out if I liked or disliked. Akaroa was the place, and a single road led you there. It would be an interesting day, and that’s all I really ask for.
The drive to Akaroa only really takes just over an hour, maybe more when you have my car, but the scenery all around is worth stopping a few times for, and to admire. I found myself doing exactly that on a number of occasions. The road is also very winding, and takes you high into the mountains, then back down again. My car was struggling for much of the trip.
As I drove on, a warning light appeared on my car dashboard, and continued to show for the remainder of the trip. I hoped it was just where I was braking and accelerating a lot, and that the car was getting a little warm. I made it to Akaroa without any drama anyway.
As I had plenty of time this morning, I decided to do a little exploring around Akaroa before finding my hostel. I drove down various gravel roads in search of excitement and wonderment. I found some nice beaches and an old graveyard. The graveyard was small, and the stones that still stood were weathered and stained. The names had eroded from the stone, and all I could decipher from what was left was that these were extremely old graves indeed. After my morning adventure, I travelled to the hostel and was welcomed by a closed sign. ‘Closed for the Weekend’ it read, even though I had booked it for a night the day before. Wonderful! I drove on in search of another hostel that I knew was nearby.
I found Chez La Mer Backpackers and walked in to find a nice, homely hostel. I was sharing a room with two German girls, but they weren’t particularly friendly. They didn’t speak any English, and so any attempt by me to start a conversation resulted in a silent response from the girls. I gave up, but at least I tried. I decided to walk into the town area.
It is a lovely place here, with a harbour and cafes, shops and restaurants. Most people miss off Akaroa simply for the fact it isn’t on the main roads through New Zealand, and you have to go out of your way a bit to reach it, but I am very glad I have. It is also very warm and sunny, which always helps. People seemed well dressed, and I felt a little out of place, but I didn’t mind. I found the Internet café, placed my money into the machine, and then sat back to watch the computer terminal crash and eat my money. There was nobody about to help me, so I didn’t want to risk trying again. I treated myself to some gorgeous fudge, then ambled about for the rest of the day before returning to the hostel.
I tried again to make conversation with the girls, but they didn’t even acknowledge me this time. I didn’t waste any more time, but chilled out for the evening reading some of the literature lying about in the main room. Two German guys arrived in the evening, and there was much banter between the guests, and not one word, or even a glance, came my way. It was a surprise, then, when one of the girls did come to me, and said, “You will give me a lift tomorrow”
I was a little taken aback as she hadn’t bothered to speak to me at all, then somehow managed to find the right English words to ask for a lift, assuming that I would just accept this, and assuming I was going her way anyway. I thought this a little rude, and was a bit angry that her only words to me would be to ask me for a lift, so I declined, and made an excuse that I wasn’t going her way.
I managed no sleep as the four of them laughed and shouted until around 4:00am, and I was sure I was being bitten in my bed. It was a relief to be waking up in the morning and getting out of the room.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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