Before we’d left Auckland, Margaret had given us the address of a friend of theirs who lived at Ahuru Falls, near Paihia, + she said he had his finger on the button of local events. We planned to hitch over to see him this morning. Not that we got off to a very early start. It had been so snug + warm in the tent that it had been difficult to drag ourselves out. And then there had been a long, leisurely breakfast, with porridge, tea, toast. We finally got moving at about 11.
But one couldn’t complain about the hitch-hiking. To get to Paihia, there are 3 stages: out to the main road, along the main road, back from the main road, + we managed it with 3 rides without a single car not stopping. 100%. At the Falls, we asked a bloke gazing over his back fence if he knew where Art Thompson lived. He turned out to be Art Thompson so that solved a problem. Once we’d introduced ourselves + stated our situation, he invited us in, gave us a cup of coffee, + rang a couple of places he thought might need staff – a restaurant + a hotel. Unfortunately, the right person wasn’t in at either place, so he passed on the phone nos. to us.
We then took a trail to Paihia, about one and a half hour’s walk, + very very pleasant, following the course of the river, only way up above it. Then it descended to cross a boardwalk across a mangrove swamp – that was very interesting – + then came out across part of the golf course into Paihia. We thought about visiting a museum set in an old ship, but decided to postpone that visit till we had some money. We called in at a couple of motels, but no joy there, + then at the Bella Vista restaurant to see Cedric, one of Art’s contacts. He was very friendly, + tho’ he said he couldn’t offer us work immediately, he told us to keep in touch, as something might come up. We tried a couple of other places, + then called up the Hotel for a waitress job for Val. The lady there told us to come on over – it was back at the Falls – so we went out there, + Val went in for an interview. The upshot was that she was taken on, initially just on Wed, Thurs + Fri nights with the chance of some more work later if things went well. This posed transport + accommodation problems, of course, but we decided to deal with them as they arose. Hitched home, cup of tea, then dinner – the remains of the stew.
Yet another encounter with the astonishing friendliness and generosity of New Zealanders – those we have met, at any rate. And followed by a rather tortuous account of our various searches… though at least it did seem to end up with a positive result, with Val being offered a job. Which was our major purpose at the time.