The Golden Days

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Thursday, March 8, 2007

The road back to Auckland was long and weary. Taking the scenic route meant scouring the coastal roads of the Coromandel and added another couple of hours on to the already tight deadline. We made it in one piece though, always a bonus on a bike.

Chike was fine the moment she woke, which was a godsend and so we hit the road more or less straight away, taking in some of the lesser known townships and villages, all idyllic with wholesome thriving communities and right on par with the best of New Zealand. Places like Waihi, Thames and the tightly entwining roads that link up some of the smaller locations along the peninsula.

Funny feeling really, now that it's all over. While every bit of it is thrilling, to finally hand a bike over brings a great measure of relief. Bikes are a massive adrenaline rush but a ridiculously dangerous way of getting around. That you've lived to tell the tale once more brings endorphins of its own. Celebration time.

We couldn't be arsed and didn't have time to bus it over to Aunty J's in Mt Eden to get the camper pitched so we stayed in Auckland - back at Base Backpackers. Mannion and Jake turned up for a few cheeky pints (newly engaged I might add) and so most of the evening was spent in mild celebration swapping tales and catching up. Mannion was on great form and pulled the tone down flawlessly, hence the laughs were painful and spirits were high.

This wasn't the case earlier. We thought it would be a good idea (for old times) to sink a couple in the Base bar where it all started back in September '04 at the big BB Meetup. We got the shock of our lives. The place was full of cocks and the music was ridiculous. The buzz has gone completely (along with the pool tables) and no one seems to care. The bar staff were overwhelmingly incompetent and I had to use the world 'imbecile' more than two times. The place just isn't alive anymore. It felt like a temporary stop-gap that was trying to fill some inescapable void.

Dorm life was shocking too. Some idiotic German bint decided to get stuck in to an aggressive bout of bag rustling at 3.30am, packing her worldy belongings in torchlight before doing the same all over again with her friend at 6am, giving us the soothing pleasure of hearing it all in stereo. Seriously, they generated the most ridiculous levels of pointless noise. I was more speechless than annoyed, and could do little else other than lie still in bed like a cabbage watching them from over the metal bunk bars. I can't believe I lived like this for so long. This dorm shit was without doubt, the perfect bitter end to the Base experience, a huge disappointment, and cost us $27 each for the privilege. The golden days are gone my friends, we can do but move forward clutching on to the good times.

Base hasn't changed at all of course, we have. And the golden days haven't gone anywhere, they're right here. They always have been. It's people that do the changing and growing.

I sat with Chike at the airport this morning beaming over the last four weeks on the road. Oh and Simon Pegg (of 'Spaced' fame) was there in arrivals, walking absently up and down in front of us. I was itching to pull the full Woz arsenal on him but Chike wasn't in to it.

...and so marks the end of another era. This last month has been an amazing spread of randomness and we've seen things we would never have seen on any planned trip. She should be back in Queenstown by now, back to work and everyday life as the clock starts ticking once more. Much is the same for me up here in Auckland. I've got just over a week before I fly to Australia and the pressure's already starting to build. Selling a campervan on a time limit is one thing, but to sell one at the wrong time of year..
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