March 11th 1983

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
Enjoying an ice-cream

Our departure delayed because of the rain.  About time for the farmers, since the land is dry + parched, but not much good for us.  However, it eased part way thro’ the morning, so we said goodbye to the cottage in Anakiwa, + hello to the road once again.  We walked out to the main road – we had expected to have to do that.  But then the long plod, thro’ Linkwater and a few miles beyond, waving our thumbs desperately at the few passing cars.  It took a long time, + we were pretty weary before a car finally pulled up for us.  A battered thing too, tho’ we weren’t complaining.  A guy living on a patch of land out in the bush.  He took us to Havelock, which we rather took too.  A little like Toyland, we thought – butcher, baker, Town Hall, fire station.  But the hitching was bad.  A touch of unpleasantness, when we were naughty, walking out of town to find a hitching place, we spotted another couple just around a bend in the road, + instead of observing proper hitching etiquette, + walking beyond them, we retreated + took an earlier, + thus more favourable, position.  As things turned out, it made no difference whatever, as none of us obtained a ride, but we did feel small when they walked back into town past us + dropped a comment about our action.  Why does one do things one knows to be wrong?  God was quite clearly on their side, tho’ we had earlier discovered that the bus out of town left at 3.  At what we imagined to be a little before that time, we decided to wave the old thumb at just 10 more cars, + then walk to the bus stop.  Our ten duly chalked up, we were on our way there when the bus brmmed past, aboard our 2 annoyed companions, thus forcing us, to save face, to look totally unconcerned.  Since this was the last bus, to all intents + purposes, I was in a foul mood.  Quite unreasonably (on the grounds that she had suggested trying 10 more cars rather than my 5) I blamed Val.  I don’t know how she puts up with me sometimes.  We hitched a little more, then Val rang Joan to tell her we probably wouldn’t make it tonight, then we thought we would give it another half-hour before surrendering to the fates + finding a camp-site.  Much to our surprise, a car pulled up.  We nearly fell over ourselves with shock.  An excellent ride too.  An old gentleman, 77, with a nice car, classical music in the cassette player (tho’ he did switch that off), + intelligent, well-read, full of beans.  He knew Doug, too, since he’d been in the timber business too.  Not a moment’s silence during the trip, + none of the conversation was forced.

We were dropped off right at Dodson valley, where Joan lives, too, so we couldn’t possibly have asked for anything more.  There was nobody in at the house, but as promised there was a caravan out front with a key in the door, so we were able to make ourselves comfortable.  And eventually, Joan returned (well, we had said we probably wouldn’t make it), along with Gus, her… boyfriend or lover sound silly, but you get the idea.  She’s in her late 50s, I should think, + once again a nice friendly lady.  We watched Coronation Street, + chatted a lot.  I’m unsure as to how people will take us – people our own age I don’t worry about so much, but I don’t know how Mum would react if a couple of young people she didn’t know just turned up on her doorstep.  Beds were arranged for us out in the caravan.

More a case of simply travelling hopefully (and successfully, in the end) than any thing of real note. The business with the other hitchers left a somewhat sour taste, but once again proves that this diary is not in the least self-serving, and that when we said warts ‘n all, some of them warts are unpleasant. Still, I suppose we all do things that we later regret… it’s just thaqt most of them are not recorded.

The photo is from a while back, outside the Waitomo hotel.

  1. Pamela Blair

    Hitching etiquette–I remember a couple of Swedish women (tall blonds) walked past us to an up-the-road place, within our eyesight, on the outskirts of Barcelona. Good etiquette, but why did they have to be so attractive? A car passed my traveling companion (Canadian, also blond), and picked up the Swedes. Sometimes it’s not the etiquette that counts.

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