Wine and whine makes it all fine
Trip Start Jun 25, 2011
85Trip End Dec 24, 2011
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We have a coffee with Emma in a sweet cafe overlooking the lake called 'third place' and then start on our 3 hour journey to Napier.
Unsurprisingly the scenery is beautiful along the way, passing a giant plastic kiwi fruit and a huge volcano now completely covered in pine trees. We make a stop at one of the many picnic areas along the way because we are desperate for a wee. Thankfully it is an area concealed with trees and shrubs. We park up and drop trou, but so lost in the act of peeing we don't notice the camper van that comes around the corner and the young couple in the front laughing their heads off at us. When we notice, Claire shouts "GO GO GO" and we dash for the car, driving away leaving embarrassment behind.
We arrive in Napier and agree that it looks a bit like Eastbourne (coastal place in England full of old people.) After checking into the massively overpriced hostel ($65!) we drive along the sea front next to the grey volcanic beach
Back to the hostel for dinner in the bar below along with a pint of Tui, the local beer, for $5. Upstairs in the hostel common room, the place is full of travelers, playing pool and cooking in the huge kitchen. There is even a dining/tv room next door. Although the set up is impressive here, the vibe is not and unlike SE Asia backpackers, the ones here are very young and don't want conversation.
In the tv room there is a book exchange. All the books are shit, so we settle for an old beautiful book about Eva Peron that somebody has written in scrawled biro on the first page, "BECOME RICH BUY NOTHING" and on the second page, "CANCER WAS CURED IN THE 1930's BY R. R. RIFE". We probably won't read it.
Claire had come down with a bad cold and when we go to bed, the noise from the bar below of sickening karaoke (celin dion, my heart will go on..
We feed ourselves in preparation for the start of our wine tour at 1pm, and then head to the gellato shop where we arranged to meet the infamous 'Vince' of 'Vince's World of Wine Tours'; we realise on arriving there that we don't know what Vince looks like so we hope he has a sign. Good thing his van does as its actually his wife that turns up to collect us, with 4 Aussie customers in the back. As she drives us to our meeting point with Vince she has a little head set on, which makes her audible throughout the tiny 8 seater mini van (perhaps she was just trying to preserve her voice!?), and she rabbles on about the upcoming weekend election in a very endearing way
When we reach the meeting point we get out but the Aussie's don't as they have to meet other Aussies off a cruise ship and have the tour with her - Vince's wife rolls her eyes and gives us 'Oh those silly Aussies' look as she leaves us... as if they actively try to keep them seperate from other nationalities. To confirm this we get into another little mini-van where a family of 6 English folks (and one token Kiwi) are waiting to go with Vince at the helm. Not an Australian in sight. The rest of our group are one family who are visiting their daughter/sister who has now moved to Auckland for work so they already know each other, but Vince assures us that once we've visited a couple of estates we'll all feel like family... or even be drunkly mistaking each other for it at least.
We should mention now that we discussed what to expect of this wine tour at quite some length the previous day and that we came to the conclusion that, quote: "they probably don't give you that much free wine to drink... afterall how would they make any money". Well.
We also tell one another that "we will not be buying any wine... that would be stupid.". Well.
Our first stop is a very nice vineyard where a young bloke with pork chop facial hair talks us through how to drink wine (properly)
We repeat this process 5 times throughout the afternoon, including at the Mission estate (NZ's oldest vineyard), and buy the time we reach the last stop we are, if we're being honest, shit faced.
So shit faced in fact that we just nod and smile inanely at the lady owner of the Moana Park Estate as she tells us about her lovely wine, and instead are far more taken with her boxer dog, Pedro, who chases a rock the entire time. At least we bought a bottle of wine there (the moto of this day became 'just put it on the card', and its here that we realise the clever tactic is to give as much free wine as is humanly possible, which ensures that the credit cards make an appearance).
On our way back to our hostel, having dropped off the family at their place, Vince tells us we 'mucked in with everyone really well' and gives us his card. He's brilliant.
We need food and nothing else when we get back so we have a little jaunt to the supermarket for supplies, before goingto the kitchen of our hostel and drinking more wine
We chat away until Claire decides to abandon Jo to use the toilet and is almost immediately replaced by 2 blokes who look like a dumber version of Pinky and Brian. When Claire returns she gives them a loud 'Oh no!' but they don't seem to take this as a hint to leave and we are bombarded for the rest of the evening by the funniest most ridiculous conversation imaginable. Here are just 2 of the hightlights:
- [random man]: "I can't get AIDs, I only have sex with women"
- [from the fat bouncer Jo spoke to the previous night who is just in for a drink on his night off and who despite the following was actually quite lovely]: '...aw I don't mind, my sister's a faggott aye. [raised Jo and Claire eyebrows] Aw no offence like, thats just what we call you guys here" [Jo and Claire hysterics kick in].
Needless to say we roll into bed in the early hours. Bloody good wine tour.