Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
123Trip End Feb 27, 2006
I arrived to glorious weather, and so inevitably, I went for a wander around the place! The first thing that struck me was that the beaches were magnificent! In stark contrast to the black sand of Napier, here it was golden for miles and miles...I was looking forward to chilling out here after a long shift at work!
Crucially, my hostel has to be a contender for the best hostel in New Zealand. Check it out at www.pacificcoastlodge.co.nz. It is so spacious, there is a large TV lounge with loads of videos, the kitchen is huge, there is a pool table, and most importantly...a table tennis table!!
On my second day here, I walked and walked (and walked some more) in the blazing sun to a couple of nearby packhouses as I wanted to get some work ASAP. The first place looked really promising and I was virtually assured the job, but I then found out the hours available - either 3am until 3pm, or 3pm until 3am?? To me, they are ridiculous hours and it is neither a night shift or a day shift...it's both! So I politely declined and went to Aerocool in the hope of getting some work during the day. Unfortunately all the day shift vacancies were full, and so I had no choice but to accept the 6pm until 4am shift. Apparently though, most backpackers prefer this shift as it leaves the day free to explore (or more accurately, chill out on the beach) and so I was actually quite pleased with the result. The downside (or upside depending on how you look at it) is that the job doesn't start until roughly 8th April, leaving me a couple of weeks to relax.
And it is fairly easy to relax around here!
The weather was great again the next day and so I decided to be brave and walk up to the top of The Mount. It was pretty tough I must admit, probably even worse than the infamous Devil's Staircase, but it was worth it. The views of Mount Maunganui were great as can be seen from the photos I've uploaded. It really is a picturesque place, and the town seems to be overflowing with surfers and it seems to have a friendly, relaxed atmosphere.
With typical unpredictability, the following day saw thunder and lightning, and I was unfortunate enough to get caught in the storm on my way home! My 'pac-a-mac' did a decent job on my top half, but I really need to invest in some kind of waterproof trousers in the near future. Not to worry though as I was soon back at the hostel, and I spent the rest of the day watching Vanilla Sky and Johnny English!
Already I have met some really nice people at the hostel. I spent the first day or so hanging around with Aki, the Japanese master of the table tennis table! He was a nice guy but didn't really speak much English...he let his bat do the talking! There's also a nice Swiss guy staying there called Toby, a Hawaiian guy called Lee, and lots of other Japanese characters who I can't for the life of me remember their names
So far though, my two best friends here are called Audrey and Justin. They have been here for a couple of months now, and will be here for another 3 weeks. They have just moved into their own place across the road, but I think I'll be spending a fair bit of time with them until I start work. Last night I went out for a few pints with Audrey to an Irish pub called The Mellick. She is a really friendly girl from Dundee although she has been travelling on and off for years now and definitely isn't the kind of girl to settle down. Justin is also a likeable character who spent 3 months up in Paihia before coming down to The Mount. It turns out his girlfriend left him just 3 weeks into their trip here fore some Aussie surfer dude...yet more proof of the merits of travelling alone!
So that's what I've been up to the last few days. I haven't been spending much money which is obviously a positive, and I'm relieved that I have found a cool place to settle down in. I plan to work for about 6 weeks in the kiwifruit packhouse before heading south, but I'm actually looking forward to doing some work now and meeting the locals and more backpackers. Luckily I will get saturday night's off when I do start work, so hopefully I'll still be able to squeeze the odd Lion Red in at some point!