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Travelling to Invercargill – Day 56
Sunday 22nd May 2005
Day 56 of my New Zealand adventure and already I am at the southern point of the South Island. A trip that was suppose to take about 1 year to complete, is now taking just a few months, yet I still feel I have achieved so much and crammed so much in. Today I arrived at Invercargill.
I awoke early, although, in truth, I never really slept last night. I was quite glad to be leaving here today, not because of the place – which is a very nice place indeed minus the walk to the toilet block – but mainly because of the company I was keeping. They were not wrong to be enjoying themselves as they were – they have every right to, especially being young and foolish – but I think I was out of my depth a little. Wrong place wrong time. My idea of a good time straying a little from those of drinking until I drop.
I set off for Invercargill early on, battling through the thick fog that had lingered here for the entire time I have been in this hostel. The fog would accompany me for the duration of my journey to Invercargill. For this reason I was unable to see any scenery on this trip.
At one point I stopped to make a call home to my family as I was feeling a little home sick this morning. Having heard their cheery voices, I was happy enough to continue on my way. The newly acquired smile was soon to be wiped from my face though.
Up ahead was a large bird feeding on a road kill, and I slowed to avoid hitting the bird. As I got nearer I was expecting the bird to fly away, and I sounded my car horn to initiate this process. The next part is all a bit of a blur, but I remember getting very close to the scene, wondering why the bird hadn’t flown away yet, and why it was still feeding on the dead animal when I was fast approaching. I moved out to avoid a collision, but felt the thud of an obvious hit. The bird must have flown at the last second, but flown sideways into my car. It didn’t bode well.
As I looked in the rear view mirror I spotted what looked like a dead bird. So now there was a road kill next to a road kill. I stopped the car anyway and walked back up the road to inspect my dirty work, and to make sure there was no suffering in process (something my parents taught me from an early age). To my surprise, though, as I approached the bird it suddenly took flight. Although its flight was erratic, almost drunk-like, and his legs were swinging from side to side. It was obvious his legs were broken, and that he wouldn’t survive for long, and I felt very bad. It would have been better to kill it than to leave it suffering like that. Or I could have just stopped on the road and let the bird carry on feasting until it had filled itself up and flown away. Oh dear, I am sorry bird.
Feeling a little ashamed, I drove on. Along the way I saw a couple of interesting sights, one being a large sign depicting a surfer riding a wave, the other being what looks like a witch on her broomstick, having ploughed into a road sign. Both were down seemingly quiet country roads, and their relevance is unsure to me. I guess the witch must be some kind of scare crow, the surfer I’m not really sure. Is it surfer territory here?
I arrived at my destination, and found the hostel I was looking for – Kackling Kea Backpackers – and walked into the converted house through the open door. The driveway was muddy, and I was conscious of bringing dirt into the building, and so wiped my feet vigorously on the mat before entering fully. I looked around what appeared to be a deserted house, then found a large note addressed to me telling me to make myself at home – someone would be along later to check me in. the note said to make myself a cup of tea if I wanted. I did want, so I did. I also made myself some lunch.
Later, I took a trip into the local town to visit the laundrette, and to use the machines inside. I accomplished this task along with some shopping that I needed and returned to the hostel to find people walking about. I was able to check in properly and to have a chat with a couple of the other guests. I booked a trip to Stewart Island for tomorrow and got my things ready for the day. I wanted to hire a bike a cycle around the island if it is possible.
The evening drew in and I relaxed in the company of the other guests and played a few games before retiring to my bed. It seems like a nice place here, and I am sure I will get a better night sleep tonight.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
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