Trip Start Dec 03, 2008
Trip End Oct 14, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Thursday, March 26, 2009

We left Elaine and Merv and went west to Saint Bathen's in central Otego (an old Gold Mining town).  We did have fruit picking jobs set up for us to begin in 4 days so the original plan was to camp out for 4 nights then start picking fruit, but this morning we got an email saying they no longer need us because they have experienced workers available that know the lady's brother-in-law.  So, it happened again - we lost our jobs that we never had even started.  So we stayed in St. Bathan's for only 3 nights to keep looking for new jobs.  We stayed at a DOC (Dept. of Conservation) site that only had running water, that you need to boil before you use, and a toilet.  I was pretty unsure at first, but the campsite was really perfect.  We were the only ones there the first night and it was situated between 2 mountain ranges.  It was a lot of peace and quite until the first morning when the nearby farmer herded all his cows into the field next to us.  There were hundreds and hundreds of them.  Well, it wouldn't have been a problem at all but they were the moms and babies, so they were mooing and mooing and mooing.  They would not shut up!   Along with their mooing, they got tired of the field they were in and busted down the fence in between where they were and where we were.  The fence was really close to our campsite as well.  So, we had gone on a hike and when we got back there were cows surrounding our tent.  Good thing they are scared of us, or we wouldn't have had a place to sleep that night. 
Saint Bathan's is a little famous place right on Blue Lake.  It is a lake that was formed from gold-miners when they basically blasted away an entire hill.  There is a little hotel in town and a post office.  Besides a few houses, that's it.  The hotel is haunted too.  They have a bar there so we went to check it out.  The story is that a "woman of the night" was strangled in room #1 over a gold nugget.  The hotel worker told us she had never seen anything but other co-workers have.  Spooky.  We enjoyed a couple of beers at the hotel but I would definitely rather stay in our tent.  The post office was also a little store/museum but that was closed because the lady who owned it had recently died!  One day we decided to try and find this Rail Trail - an old railroad that they took out and replaced as a bike/walking path.  If we had planned better I would have loved to rent bikes, but the ride took 5 days.  So we got in the car tried to find it - to at least walk for a few hours.  Along the way we got side tracked and went to an old damn.  There was a truck there hidden behind some trees and we saw a guy at the bottom of the damn with a shovel...we didn't stay long.  So from the damn we took a few different gravel roads to try and find this trail.  After 3 hours in the car (no joke) all on gravel, we gave up and eventually found our way back to the main highway - over an hour away from where we had to be!  It was worth it though - some of the best things to see are on gravel roads.  The last day we were there the town had an annual Ghost to Ghost triathlon, and no, we didn't participate.  We didn't want to show anyone up. 
We had a great time in St. Bathan's cooking on our little grill and eating baked beans and toast.  One night we made sausages, so that wasn't so bad.  It was nice to be in the middle of no where, have the mountains and nothing but the cows deafening sounds. 
From St. Bathen's we kept to the road and looked for jobs along the way.  We did a few other interesting things as well.  Like in Alexandria we went to a Gypsy Carnival.  It was scary and...well...strange.  There were about 20 tents of Gypsy's selling different things and about 6 visitors, including us, walking around.  Some of them were standing in the middle of a field flinging ribbons around their heads as if they were following the beat to a lady singing with her guitar.  Good thing it didn't cost anything.  We also went to a town called Cromwell.  I went to Church on Sunday and had to talk in front of the entire congregation when the mister asked if there were any visitors.  It was like a movie, the place went silent and every head in the church turned to look at me.  Ahhh!  So I had to tell them my name and where I am from and what my religon is.  Within 5 minutes after church, I had a lunch invitation and names of people to contact about jobs, from a different person.  They are so darn nice here! 
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