The ferry, you ask?
Off the track of the typical travel blog:
I woke to sad news this morning, a dear friend i graduated high school with passed away. It had been several years since I had seen him last but I have wonderful memories of his high energy self. He was married to an under class man who I also knew and they have 2 girls both under the age of 5 I believe. My class has lost far to many considering our early 30's age group.
Good thoughts and prayers are all I have to send to you back in Oregon!
So terribly sorry to the family of Mike Perez.
Back to the blog:There are 2 companies that run ferries between the north and South Island of New Zealand. I suppose it is because Alicia and I are thrifty that we purchased tickets for the one that was around $5 cheaper. It's also the one that the Kiwis all know to break down on occasion, ie; it's propellar fell off and sank into the ocean recently! We didn't know this of course until Aiden was driving us to the port to catch it.
His girlfriend slapped his arm for telling us that and he said "what! It doesn't hurt anyone, the ferry just won't move!"
Haha! True that, Aiden. It adds more adventure to life, that's for sure!
This ferry was like a small cruise ship at 10 (public acsess) floors tall. Even the inside reminded me of the cruise ship I had spent 14 days on a few years back.
I took 2 (expired) motion sickness pills and I was ready to go!
** Those who know me well know that I can't read or look at things in a car, plane or boat while it's moving w/out getting dizzy so that's my reasoning for the pills. The pills are expired & I'm still using them because well, I have a bottle of them and I don't want to waste them when I think they still work!
Alicia was ready to find a corner to go back to sleep in and she did end up wondering away finding airplane like chairs she could recline in. She left me right after we started up a conversation with Mike (yep! Another Mike we met) who was probably in his 60's, tall athletic looking man with glasses and white hair, wearing keen rafting sandals. He was from Connecticut. After Alicia left me, Mike and I continued to chat, he gave me his schedule for the South Island and since he had a car he offered us a ride whenever we were near each other and could contact him. He was traveling on his own doing lots of trekking.
I was headed out onto the deck to get some fresh air and see the constantly changing views of this incredibly scenic ferry ride. I was just inside the door putting my zip up hoody on and opening the door to go out when I heard the captain announce that there were dolphins on the right side if the ship. Perfect timing!
It was truely a spectacular sight to see as I have never seen dolphins in the wild. To see so many jumping along side our ship, added that much more truth to it being one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world!
Kate, a dear friend of the Noble Rot crew picked Alicia and I up from the ferry. She was yet another one that I had only met via FB. We had no problem finding her in the terminal area with her discription of, having red hair, a bit on the shorter side and an adorable blonde haired baby girl.
We went back to her house in Blenheim where we added to a picnic platter Kate had prepared for us. The perfect picnic for a vineyard. Meat, an assortment of cheese, crackers, bread, salad, grapes & another fruit I don't remember the name of. We walked out into the vineyard near the chicken coop for our picnic and got to know each other and hear some grape talk. We sampled different grapes right off the vine for different wines which was fun.
We did a wine tasting after Kate returned from picking up her son from kindey (preschool in NZ lingo) we sampled 3 wines from the grapes we had tasted at the Auntsfeild tasting room on their property. She invited us to come do a vintage with them sometime which sounds like a lot of fun and a great learning experience! I could use more wine knowledge even though I'm not a big drinker.
As early evening approached Kate offered to drive us into town to find a hostel for the night. We arrived at the Leeway hostel and where assigned to a 5 bunkbed co ed room (yep that's 10 backpackers in a room together). Kate left us (with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc) and we quickly realized that we were the only travelers, everyone else was there on a working visa and the majority of them were Germans! All just living there while they worked. It felt like a Hispanic camp in Oregon. True story, just like that! Germany apparently gave out somewhere around 10,000 work visas so we have been running into them everywhere. They were excited to have Americans join them. As they put it, we didn't come here to practice our German! Haha! Well said! The jobs these kids were doing were such things as working a nearby chocolate factory, onion seed plant, garlic farm, and near by vineyards.
It was Tuesday pizza special night from Dominos, any whole pizza was only $4... That was a sight to see when the pizzas were delivered. Alicia and I didn't partake in this as we were still pretty full from our picnic but I couldn't resist a picture of the pizza madness!
What I found odd about this hostel was that it had free wash (hang dry after as most kiwis do) no lockers and no free wifi. They said that the free wash was so that the workers would keep themselves clean and the pay for wifi was so that people would be social with each other. Lucky for us one of the German kids in our room broke the code to the office wifi and gave us the password. Score!
Kate came back in the morning to take us out for coffee and pastries before we hitch hiked our way to Nelson. So after she loaded us up with grub she took us to a good location to get picked up. We even had a sign from a pizza box! :)
3 different cars gave us rides, 2 locals and 1 German family on holiday and that was all it took to get us into Nelson!
The German family (mom, dad and daughter) were in a camper can and the daughter was sitting up front in between the patents. She was tall with blonde hair and porcelain skin and very still. When they drove by us and pulled over I quickly looked back at Alicia and said, they have a manican in between them! She asked me if it was a creepy manican and I said I guess we will find out. We realized when we got to the door that she was a real girl. The other scenario would have been quit an odd one though! A life size blow up doll in the front of the van with mom and dad. The perfect child! ;)
Don't be worried about me! Hitch hiking is very common here and I'm using the buddy system. :)