Happy Birthday to ME!!

Trip Start Sep 10, 2006
Trip End Sep 10, 2007

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Thursday, October 5, 2006

Today was very surreal. I woke up to a rendition of Happy Birthday Tea and Muffins in Bed, I opened my card from Debbie and the Rainsford Lane gang (Thank you guys!!). Nikki got me a necklace and earing set made out of local Paua shell (it's lovely - Thank you!) and we headed out ono the bus. We secretly blew up balloons and had music prepared on the ipod to surprise Mar who was also celebrating his birthday today. It did surprise him and I think he loved the balloons - touched I think!

After a rendition of 'Happy Birthday to ya!" we left Westport and headed out down the west coast of the South Island with views of the Tasman Sea. We stopped at Cape Foulwind and walked up the edge of the cliff to view a seal colony. It was a great view but they really smell!! We next stopped in Punakaiki and walked down to the blow holes and the Pancake Rocks. Again all of the scenery was spectacular and so varied. At this point it really didn't feel much like my birthday... really wanted to speak to my family but it was obviously in the middle of the night and we were off and on a bus all day..! We stopped for lunch and headed into a small town called Greymouth where we needed to stock up on supplies for tonight's fancy dress party. This is when it started to feel more like my birthday! Strictly speaking it wasn't a birthday party - it's a regular occurance at the Mahinapua (Maa-he-na-poo-a)Hotel. And it's always fancy dress - our theme - "anything goes" or "whatever you can do with a bin bag!" We all couldn't agree (shocker).

The guy who runs the place is a former All Blacks legend Les Lisle. A very interesting character!! The dorms are all basically portacabins but they were warm. It was a short walk to the beach and also to the Lake Mahinapua, all against the backdrop of the Southern Alps. We headed down to the beach and had a kick about with the football - I nearly stacked it but managed to very unglamourously save myself only to do the same thing again! It was my birthday - it didn't matter!

Dinner was prepared and served by Les. We ate Bambi!! It was actually really nice and I didn't feel at all bad - especially as they are hunting the deer because as an introduced animal they are now ruining the landcape and ecobalance (is that a real word?). After dinner, we walked down to the beach and watched the sun set. Aah! We then hotfooted it back to our cabin to prepare our bin bags. Myself Nikki and B decided we would dress up as witches and so we made dresses and staffs (with a bit of sparkle added in for the party!) They were actually really great outfits - check out the photos! Everyone made a great effort with the costumes. Back-to-front man unnerved everyone and went on to win the canyon swing prize for Queenstown. The music played and the drinks flowed, the limbo started and again Ed showed us all more than he ought to...! Dressed as a French maid in a posing pouch... hehe!

The lights dimmed and out came two birthday cakes and a chorus of Happy Birthday. I got a card and everything! I was really chuffed - I hadn't expected anything - I thought all the whispers had just been about getting Mar's beer! As I began to piece together the events of the previous day or so I seem to remember a few suspicious goings on... I had a great walk with Mar yesterday... how convenient that we should both be out sightseeing at the same time...!! Cunning plans Nikki and B!! On with the party, the dancing, the drinking. The dancing... the drinking... and so the night continued.

The night ended as (armed with beer coats) we headed out for a midnight (2am) stroll down to the lake where there were glow worms. A great day was had by all. It didn't really seem like my birthday for most of the day but I really enjoyed my time at the "Poo Pub". It wasn't pretty the next morning... but Nikki will explain all about that!

[Thank you to everyone who sent me emails for my birthday - it's great to know that you were thinking of me. Lou/Amanda/Helen - I hope you got photographic evidence of the Donna Doll in action - I don't suppose she had my moves though did she!!?]
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