|Previous Post||Next Post|
Travelling to Opotiki on my Birthday – Day 33
Friday 29th April 2005
My journey was to Opotiki today, and it was a fair distance through mountainous roads. But I had a great feeling inside me today, as today is my birthday. I wanted it to be a day to remember, but wasn’t sure how I could guarantee that. So I just hoped it would be a good day anyway.
I packed my things and said goodbye to the people in the hostel. One girl was coming with me, as I was to drop her off at the airport nearby. As we left I waved goodbye to the French lady and her daughter, then set off towards the airport.
As we arrived I couldn’t believe how small the place was. It wasn’t even an airport, but more like a field with a small building taking up some space. There was a small plane just sitting outside, and this would turn out to be the plane that Anne was going to take. It actually looked like fun. I said my goodbyes to Anne, then drove off towards Opotiki.
The roads were great to drive, and took me high into the mountains. It was still fairly early and the sun was still making its mark on the earth around me, warming everything in view. The morning mist was clearing and the day looked promising. I felt good, and began to sing happy birthday to myself as I drove onwards. Technically, though, back home it was not yet the 29th April, so I held off singing any more, or at least until it turned 12:00.
I stopped in one of many picnic spots dotted about along the road, and looked out at the impressive views all about me. I had my lunch here, and as I was finishing, a few old cars drove past. These cars were obviously part of a precession, as more and more passed by, some extremely old yet well maintained vehicles among them. They were great to see, and I wondered where they were all headed for. I also thought about somehow filtering back onto the road in amongst all these lovely cars, especially as mine was very much on the contrary.
It turns out that there were hundreds of these cars all descending upon a particular place somewhere in New Zealand. I had no idea where, but as I carried on through my journey, these old cars were absolutely everywhere. They were in front, behind, at petrol stations, along the sides of the road, all around little towns that I passed through and just about everywhere that I could see. It felt as though I had travelled back in time, and I could feel myself being conscious of the fact that I was an odd one out. Such was the sheer number of these vintage motors.
I carried onwards, admiring the sight of each new motor passing by and switched on the radio for a little atmosphere in the car. “Mr Bojangles” came on the radio and I smiled to myself as I sang aloud, tapping the steering wheel with conviction as I bellowed out the song in a childish manner. It didn’t matter, I was on my own, and it was my birthday.
As the time had now passed 12:00, and it was officially my birthday, I found a beach where I parked the car, and opened my birthday card from the family. It put a smile on my face, and I thought about them all as I read the words, feeling as though a little part of home was with me on this beach. I looked out to sea and breathed in a lung full of fresh sea air. This place was nice; I liked it a lot. It was a perfect way to spend my birthday I thought, sitting on a beach in the glorious sunshine, not another person in sight, and so very peaceful. There is something about the sound of waves lapping against a shoreline that always makes me feel happy and content.
I got back on the road and was almost in stitches as the next hostel was in fact right next to where I was sitting on the beach. I thought I had miles left to go yet. I turned onto the main road and took the very next road on my left signposted “Beach House”.
It sounded idyllic, and it looked idyllic from the outside. When I entered inside it certainly was idyllic. Everything was fairly new, and very clean, and there was a hammock tied between two trees out the back of the beach house. I loved the fact that the back yard was in fact the beach itself, and the sea was easily audible from the seats and hammock scattered about the wooden decking. I was already in love with this place. It was in the hammock that I spent the best part of the next hour, listening to the waves whilst rocking gently from side to side. This is the way to spend a birthday!
Later, I walked along the shoreline and witnessed a colossal amount of driftwood all over the beach, and as far as the eye could see in all directions. Some of the wood had been fashioned into a shelter of sorts, whilst some was laid out in circles where people had gathered to socialise. I liked all the little dens that people had made, and almost wanted to make one of my own and live in it for a while. Instead though, I carried on walking. At one point I stopped and sat on a large log while watching the sun set over the horizon. The last of the day’s light flickered across the sea’s surface, then gradually slipped away into the distance, leaving only darkness.
I went out for some fish and chips, then came back to the beach house where other guests had congregated. I spent much of the evening speaking to a girl and her mother, the girl having travelled round the world 3 times. They had ample stories to tell between them that I tried to digest whilst sipping some wine and feasting on cake that the girl had made. They talked and talked all night, which was quite tiring, but they were lovely people.
I felt very much at home in this place and knew I could easily stay here for a long time if I had the inclination. The whole feel of the place was just right.
Written by Daniel Stevens,
Founder of Roundtheworldtrip.org.
Find out more about the author
in my About page.
Follow me on Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, or Subscribe to my RSS Feed