Northward Ho!

Trip Start Feb 19, 2006
Trip End Oct 01, 2006

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Friday, September 22, 2006

Finally, Renato got what he needed: A Visa extension. My new friends and I were to set out in their little mitsubishi "suv" and head up to the north island, where I needed to go, and they knew where to find work. Nice and cheap, which is just what I need now, and the freedom of being in a car on a road trip with friends in a beautiful country.

Renato and Rodrigo (it seems that almost all nombres brasilianos end in an "o") have been here well over a year each, and have been working until they have enough to go and do something, and doing something until they need money and have to go to work. New Zealand is fairly reasonably priced, if you really know what you are doing. Eat from the supermarket, stay with friends in a big and cheap house slightly off the beaten track, work picking asparagus, apples, kiwi fruit, or whatever else is in season. Not a bad life at all, and as I was about to find out, there is a huge network of support for this type of travel, especially for Brazilians.
As a consequence of their four-season recreational capabilities, the little car had quite a bit of gear. Boards of the snow, surf, belly, and skate varieties, clothes, portable heater, the works. As it gets damn cold here in the winter, one needs to be prepared for such, especially if you, like my two companions are from an equatorial nation and not really used to such temperatures.
There was plenty enough room to stow my meager baggage in the car, though, and we sped out of Christchurch. Surreal on a number of accounts: listening to brazilian rock and funk music while driving through snow-capped mountains whose bases extend right up to the sea, hanging out with south americans speaking portugese in a south pacific island country, eating cheese and radish-sprout sandwiches, which would be surreal at any time. .
The pictures above will tell the rest of the journey, though the arrival I can relate in words. .
Blenheim (german name?!?!) is surely not Christchurch, wellington, or aukland. It has little in the way of country charm or city sensibility that would draw in opportunistic tourists to fill the shops of opportunistic merchants. It is full of locals, and some very few migrant and semi-transient worker/travelers, and so has more of a working-class feel about it. One on a budget, though, can find a place to live and work if one needs to.
R and R's friends met us on the main drag, and we went off to play pool at some kind of indoor sports center. I went neck and neck with most of the fellas at the pool table, as they played ping-pong next to us. Not a bad way to spend an evening. One five dollar meal, much talk and a night out drinking mostly water and just a couple of beers, and all the tired men went to bed. Four in a room, smelly feet and all, but no-one can mind when exhaustion sets in. Didn't even notice the hardness of the floor, but the cold etches itself into the bones of a body, and can only be dispelled by the morning sun. In the morning we were to set off again, taking the inter-island ferry with the car and Fabricio, who put us up for his last night in that house, and wanted to move on as well.
I never thought that I would be in a nest of Brazilians in Kiwiland, but I guess hanging out with French people in Manali or Basques and Italians in Sri Lanka runs in the same vein.
All this paradise and saving money as well. I might just make it home in a week. .
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purpleboy on

There's no reason to return! The people here are cattle, winter is coming and the Red Sox are out of it! - Rick

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