Friends - Old and New

Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
Trip End Feb 27, 2006

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Tuesday, May 3, 2005

The last couple of days of my jaunt around the East Cape were, for the most part, uneventful. Having said that, I still enjoyed my time in Te Kaha and Opotiki but the weather had changed, with the North Island being battered by strong winds. I spent a lot of time climbing the rocks in order to get from one picturesque bay to another, experiencing some close encounters with crabs that more often than not scared the living daylights out of me!

I arrived back in Mount Maunganui on Wednesday and was given a warm welcome by Murray, Heather and the Japanese girls - the hostel has such a friendly atmosphere! Staying in my dorm were 3 of the nicest people that I've ever had the pleasure to meet. Over the course of the next few days, we played lots of table tennis and spoke a lot about the situation in their country (Brazil), which was quite shocking to hear.

Leonardo didn't speak much English, but he tried his best and I enjoyed listening to him play his acoustic guitar. Andre was a really intelligent guy who spoke near perfect English, and his intention was to move to Europe permanently some time this year. A fellow Oasis fan, he appreciated me lending him my minidisc player on his last night, as he hadn't heard any English rock n roll for a good few months! Daniel was also incredibly friendly and welcoming, and we all ate dinner together on Saturday night. I will definitely be keeping in touch with these guys!

Also on Saturday evening, I received a text message from Javier - he was in Mount Maunganui! I later found out that he'd been sending me messages for a couple of days but for some unknown reason, I didn't receive them. Anyway, it was a nice surprise and he's going to stick around for at least a month and work in the packhouse with me. He brought a fellow Chilean with him, Diego, who barely speaks a word of English! Therefore I spent much of the following day helping him open a bank account, acquire a tax number, and consequently securing him a job.

After finding out that we were to start work on the Wednesday, I wanted to enjoy my last couple of days of freedom! Unfortunately, it rained almost continuously throughout that time! Even so, Javier and me went for a walk around the Mount, and then we chilled out at a cafe for an hour or so with Marcelo, a Spanish guy from the hostel.

Sometimes when you are travelling alone, you have little periods when you don't really know anyone. However, the last few days have been great from a social point of view. Aside from my Brazilian, Chilean and Spanish friends, I went out for a few beers with Craig, the English guy I met in Taupo a while ago. It was nice to catch up with him, although he's only staying at the Mount for two or three days.

I also got up early one of the days to wave goodbye to Justin and Audrey, who had been staying in a house across the road from the hostel. I'll see Justin again in Queenstown, but Audrey is heading back to the UK in a few weeks. Also, Shin Ken, a really cool Japanese guy, left for Auckland on the same day as his 12 month stay in New Zealand was near an end. It really is amazing just how many people you meet on your travels.

In between all this activity, I joined the local library and read a biography of Buddy Holly in no time at all...I've become pretty much addicted to his music since I arrived in New Zealand! My latest book is about World War II, as I've decided that I really don't know enough about history in general. I hope to continue reading over the next 4-6 weeks while I have continuous, easy access to the library, although the kiwifruit work may ultimately leave me drained during the day! To be honest, I'm really looking forward to starting now, especially as various people have informed me that there is a great camaraderie amongst the workers at the packhouse. I hope so anyway...
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