February 10th 1983

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0
NOT a photo of us leaving

Up early + a splendid breakfast – we’d found some bacon in the fridge, + did justice to that.  And then up the hill for the final time to meet our bus.  Robert came over to smooth the way with the driver, Tom came to say goodbye, Val took pictures.  Much jocularity while waiting for the bus, the tour party – all young Australians – ribbing Robert something rotten, + him returning as good as he got.  We nearly didn’t get on – all of a sudden the bus was about to go, + our bags were still with us.  So we threw them in, scrambled aboard, + waved goodbye as we pulled away.  Ho hum.

The journey was uneventful.  I passed the toffee around (a great success), the Aussies fired water-pistols at one another, they played “Hi Pete” tape over the speakers (Mr Blue Sky means something different from now on) + we sat back + enjoyed it.  Lunch was taken at Puhoi pub, just north of Auckland, apparently one of the most famous pubs in New Zealand.  We weren’t impressed however, especially since the landlord was an abusive bastard. 

Still, just an hour or so later, + there we were, on our own again, in the heart of the metrolops.  First things first – accommodation.  Our only lead was of a hostel, but from the sound of things it was quite a way out of town, so we decided to try other possibilities first – the YMCA maybe?  In the approved manner, Val minded the bags, while I explored.  Tried the Information Centre, where I was able to discover that the YMCA was ludicrously expensive, but that there was a cheap + temporary hostel close to the centre.  Fetched Val, + we trotted off there.  The place was a youth club, but had been converted to a summer hostel, to make money for its true purpose.  At first sight, seedy + full of Germans, but as anywhere else was much more expensive, we settled for it.

Locked our bags away in a store, + back to town.  Val wanted to buy a new rucksack (I’ve made it sound like a whim – it’s not, we need one) so we looked around at a couple of stores.  We’re both suckers for good salesmanship.  One place, with a pushy salesman, we rejected, + were much happier with another one where the guy was laid back, seemed both nice + knowledgeable.  Didn’t buy then + there tho’.

Put in a film for developing, back to the hostel (Boystown) to cook our bangers + mash, then out to the cinema to satisfy some of our culture-hunger.  Saw “The Wall”, the Pink Floyd movie.  I was a bit apprehensive, knowing how disappointed I had been with “Tommy”, but all was well – the film was magnificent.  Bob Geldof did a fine job, they turned the sound up good + loud, + the images were incredibly powerful.  In addition, they found a credible storyline to hold the thing together.  Easily the best film we’ve seen for ages.  I could see it again tomorrow.  Or buy the video.

Well, it says it there – “Val took pictures”. But there is not a sign of them, nothing. Just another of those films that went missing during developing, another missing chunk of our travels. Which presumably also accounts for the complete absence of Robert, Tom, our farewell… Not to mention quite a few of the people we meet during the next section of our trip. And there was me thinking that with being back on the road again, all my photo worries would be over. Ah well.

By some (mis)chance, we do have quite a set of pictures taken in the small town of Thames, so they will have to do. Does provide an interesting piece of architectural fakery, all the same.

But anyway, we are back travelling, even if our first section was on a luxury bus.

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