Down Time

Trip Start Jun 10, 2009
Trip End Sep 07, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wednesday morning I took an amazingly picturesque half-hour bus ride from Picton to Blenheim. It was geat; we passed through and by all different types of scenery: past mountains wrapped in mists and covered with a blanket of clouds, with houses built up on the hills, smoke coming out of the chimneys; over a river and past wetlands; through vineyards and beside farms with sheep or cows. It was my first real glimpse of New Zealand's scenic beauty, and I can't wait to be able to travel through more of it and even hike some of it.

I spent most of the day trampng around Blenheim to see what was what. Blenheim doesn't have much in the way of activities, but it does have this neat little downtown area with all these shops that I'll probably end up visiting fairly often. I actually saw a bit of snow as well; just a few flakes, but it's weird seeing snow in July, especially when less than a week ago I was on a tropical beach. I ended up buying a fleece jacket in the Auckland airport while waiting for my plane to Wellington, and while I didn't particularly think I needed it then (Auckland had stayed around 50 degrees, which I was fine with), I'm glad I got it because it's gotten colder as I've gone farther south.

Another thing I was doing was checking out several other hostels. The one I'm at now is sort of sketchy. I joined the BBH Club, which gives you discounts at all BBH member hostels (at least $3 a night, and since I paid $45 for it, I'll save that much after 15 nights) and let's you call hostels at a very cheap rate (four cents a minute) using $20 included on the card you get. There is also a directory of hostels for all over New Zealand, which is where I found the one I am at now. It was the lowest rated out of all Blenheim, but I was lured by prospects of free Internet. If I'm going to be staying here a few weeks working, however, I want a place better than this one, so I'm moving to the highest rated one tomorrow when a vacancy opens up. While you have to pay for Internet there, they have free washing machines and bikes, so I look foward to being able to take one of the bikes out around town (and the washing machines will definitely help after woking in a vineyard).

I don't know what I'm going to do today; I need to at least go out and change some money, but I don't want to walk too much because my knee started to get sore again after walking so much yesterday. I may actually just go watch Transformers 2 or something if I can't find anything else, which seems likely. I'd hike a bit out of town if it weren't for my knee, so I'm just going to wait for the bikes. Other than that, I can read or watch TV, and I'm well more than half-way done with "The Stand" (I've had to do a lot of sitting and waiting, both for and on transport, the past couple of days). Almost all the other backpackers are gone working as well. Guess I'll just have to wander around some more.
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