there and back again

after going through customs, where I was questioned about my motives of coming back to the country (because I had been here three months already), I finally got to the first backpackers that I ever stepped into in my life (and on this trip). it was Saturday at 1am when I got there. though people were socialising in the lobby, I just wanted to go to bed. I was not tired at all, but I was feeling very confused – not knowing why I hadn’t stayed longer in Melbourne.

the next day I texted Flavia, a girl from Uruguay I met back in march when I first arrived into this country. it turned out we were both staying in the same hostel, which that night was throwing a costume party (which I had no intention in going until then). so we met in the evening to go buy our drinks and costumes… she would be a weird female version of Chaplin and I would be a very feminine marine.


the party was nice, people actually dressed in costumes (something that doesn’t really happen in Mexico). we went to bed early because Flavia had to work next day, and I was not very much in the mood.


next morning I changed hostels, and went to the YHA. I had two prepaid nights there that I had to use. to be horribly honest, the other one is always filthy, the kitchen is too small, you don’t really meet a lot of people… and that last thing is what I needed, to meet someone with a car that may want a travel partner to share costs… so I moved.

I thought it would be very easy to find this person with a car in Auckland, but I was mistaking… seemed like everyone there had already travelled and was just waiting to take the plane back home.

but I did meet some very nice people, among them Giorgia from Italy, Fabian from Austria, and Chris from Germany. this last guy is a very extroverted person that just came to my table and asked if he could sit… he had a great attitude! so that day we talked about our plans and what we wanted to do the next few weeks.

another VERY interesting person I met in the hostel was Tuhoe “Bruno” Isaac. this Maori guy, with a full moko on his face, came on Sunday evening into the hostel… to stay here… it was awesome to see the looks on all the guests’ faces! no one knew what was happening… it’s SO weird to see a local (very local by the looks of it) staying in a hostel.
but he turned out to be a very nice person (when sober) with lots of stories to tell and advice to give.
he’s been travelling for six years in his own country to sell his book: TRUE RED, a sort of autobiography.
I liked Bruno, every time we met he would call me “bub”, like if I was his granddaughter, and we would talk (actually he was the one doing all the talking) for hours.

on Monday night I was going to have some drinks with Flavia, and Giorgia joined. I wished I would’ve met her before, because we bonded immediately and travelling with her would’ve been very fun.


Tuesday morning Chris came with a brilliant idea… since we both had a lot of time to kill (he was waiting for his girlfriend to arrive on August 17th, and I was waiting to serve at a vipassana course from August 21st to September 1st), he asked me to hitchhike with him to Northland, and it became our new plan… we were doing it next morning! that meant: pack again, get rid of food, throw away clothes that you are NOT using, get a cardboard and a marker…

that night I tried to have my picture taken with Bruno, but he answered “have you bought the ($45.00) book yet? when you buy the book we can take a picture together”… bugger…
later Chris and I went to have some farewell drinks with our friends from the hostel… another girl that came with us was Sophie, who was crying in the room because the bus had left with all her things except her… so we asked her to join us so she could cheer up a little bit.
after a couple of beers and watching some people make fool of themselves with karaoke, Flavia came with some of her Argentinian friends to say goodbye as well.



on Wednesday morning we got ready to start our hitchhiking adventure aiming to hit Whangarei, a two hour drive, in one day…



we arrived in Queenstown at around 5 pm… Jon had booked a room at the hostel where Cam, the birthday boy, was staying, and I decided to stay at the YHA in front of the lake (700 meters from the centre)… it would be our first time sleeping separated. he came with me to my hostel and then took the car… I did some laundry, relaxed a bit, and I was about to eat something when Jon texted me that there were free pizzas at his hostel (the party was getting started)… so he picked me up and took me there…

they were celebrating four birthdays in one, and THEY were making the pizzas (actually it was only Jess one of the birthday girls, and Cam’s girlfriend). so, the birthday people were Cam (Canada), Jess (Canada), a German girl who’s name I do not remember, and Joe (Scotland). and the non birthday people were Jon, Joel (Canada), and me. after several minutes Rachel (the Irish girl we met in Lake Tekapo) arrived, and so did Freddy and Tin (Swedish and Danish we met in Mount Cook)… so apparently Jon had been picking up people in our trip to take them to the party! (well dome Mr. Pee-Pee!!)

after dinner we set off for the drinking part of the night… I took the car and parked it near the centre so that I could take it back to the hostel, I was NOT walking 700 meters in that cold!

Cam had some sort of deal in one of the bars, so drinks were cheaper for our party… which was a pain because I was not drinking but it was good, I had a great time anyways (like always… those who know me can tell you that I do not need (much) alcohol to have a good time…) and Rachel was not drinking either, so the both of us were most of the time together talking between us and with the rest of the group (while they still could)…
then, Rachel left me… she had to get up early the next morning, so she literally abandoned me in my soberness… I had to blend in somehow, and that’s when I spotted Joel… he was dancing with the German girl’s crutches looking like Forest Gump when he’s dancing with Elvis Prestley… so cute!… so I joined his dancing group, he was with Alex and another girl (both from Australia)… we ended up in the crowded dancing floor… it was so much fun!
when the party was dying, Joel and I went out to find any bar that would still be open… we ended up in one called Cowboys (or something), where Alex was, and where the beer was cheap…
at around four am we decided to leave, Joel walked me to the car and I drove him to his hostel, we exchanged numbers to do something the next day and then I drove to my hostel…

next day I checked out and drove to Joel’s… we were going to drive to Glenorchy (actually, HE was going to drive, and I was going to be the tourist because he has done this before)…


so, we got to the small town… like people said, there is nothing, but the drive it pretty amazing.


we drove back to Queenstown, Jon wanted to stay there until Monday to handout CVs and talk to people about any possible jobs… so I switched hostel to where Joel and other people from the party were… Joel sold me the whole idea: free wifi, lounge with 150 movies, and friends… how could I say no to that? (if you are interested it’s called The Flaming Kiwi… I should get a commission for this).

we then went to have lunch… we were looking for a sushi place that Joel knew existed, and it was delicious! we walked around the town centre and when it started to get cold we decided to go back to the hostel… there I started installing in my new room, since Jon wanted to stay Monday, I payed for two nights there. my bunk mate was a German guy (how strange) called Eric, he bought a van and has been travelling and working in the South Island. he’s such a nice guy! I didn’t have much time to get to know him, but we did talk and I did have my laughs with him.
apparently, this is a long term stay hostel, so most of the people living here are not really interested in going out to do the touristic stuff, most of them work so it becomes more like a house where after work everybody sits down to watch movies, cook dinner, and watch more movies after that. it’s a big family, and I was part of that family for a couple of nights. Joel and I would go to the supermarket to buy stuff for supper, we would both cook together (he did most of the cooking), and then we would sit down to watch movies all night until 4 am.

on Monday I went out for a walk and met with Jon, I hadn’t seen him since the party and he had texted me the day before saying that he might stay in Queenstown and cancel the rest of the trip with me… I was ready to kill him and throw him into the lake, but when I saw him he said that it was all good, that he is coming but he needed to get back on Friday morning because he was starting to work for accommodation at the X-base backpackers… so, that meant we had to hurry doing whatever we were going to do… I headed towards the lakefront and sat to admire the landscape.


I wanted to go up the mountain where the gondola takes you, but didn’t want to pay for the gondola, and when I got to the track that takes you up, decided I was not in the mood to do it. so I just went to the cemetery to walk around and take more pictures (like I did in Picton)… for some reason I do not love Queenstown like everybody else seems to do. although I now have friends here and I feel good with them, there’s something about the small town that doesn’t fit with me… might be the whole filled-with-foreigners party-town thing (no offence).

I went back to the hostel and started to get my things ready… Jon was moving to my hostel later on to make thing easier for next morning.
back in my dorm I met Yin, she’s from the UK but her family comes from Hong Kong, she’s been travelling just for holiday, and she is staying in Queenstown for a week or so… we chatted just a little bit. she is really nice, easy to talk to, funny… I will see her again when I come back, I liked her!

when Joel came, and after doing our little routine, we sat to watch movies and relax… it’s been nice to have someone as close as Joel has been this past days, definitely a highlight of the trip!



next morning I booked more nights in the hostel for my return. it will be nice to come back to a place that feels like home instead of starting over at a new hostel. I said goodbye to Eric, because he was traveling a little bit more and I was not going to see him when I came back… I saw Yin and we said we will see each other later… Joel didn’t wake up so we just texted a “have fun, see you in a couple of days”… and off we were to our second part of the road trip, heading towards the east coast once more… but this time doing a big loop instead of zigzagging…