This is part of some travelling notes I wrote exactly 4 years ago for a trip to New Zealand in November 2004. Please enjoy the story.
Day 2, 07 November 2004, Sunday
I checked out of the hotel at 7:15am. A small van came to pick me up and 3 other passengers. One was a French young lady, named Mahena (or something like that. She said most people get it wrong.), who worked in Auckland and was here for a holiday. Didn’t get the other two people’s names. Van driver’s name’s Maurice.
Turns out I’m the only one getting off at the coach station. Then I realised nobody’s going to be with me permanently or even more than 1 day at a time. Driver’s gonna be different, companions gonna be different. This is just fine. I get to meet all sorts of people then. I didn’t think the tour company meant it literally when they said I’ll have different people travelling with me.
Reached the coach station, gave my next voucher to the lady behind the counter and got a boarding pass. Got on coach and the driver’s name is Eric. Nobody sat beside me, at least not for the first part of the journey.
We set off slightly late (15 minutes. These people really take punctuality seriously. I shudder at the wedding dinners in Singapore… I had one driver some days after this with a 5 minute delay. He kept apologising to us so much that I felt embarassed.). Really apologetic about it. I wowed at scenery for the first hour, but dozed through the better part of the second hour. Very tired.
Stopped at Timaru for 5 minutes. Then we set off again.
Then we stopped at Oamaru.
Got some orange juice for lunch (NZ2.00). By this time, the coach had a few more passengers (there were 2 or 3 stops along the way where people got on board).
The two Koreans in front of me sort of got separated when an old lady took one of their seats. So one of the Koreans joined me, and that’s how I met Jung Tea Hee. There’s a language barrier, because his English’s bad, and my Korean’s practically non-existent. I managed to know he’s 26 years old, think he’s a student. He travelled with his friend for 2 months already, and spent the last 14 days in New Zealand. He’s heading for Queenstown.
Reached Dunedin (pronounced duh-nee-duhn, and not dee-oon-din, nor doo-nuh-din. Made a fool of myself before.), said farewell to Jung (ah-nay-oh) and waited for my transfer cab to the hotel (female driver’s name’s Red). Checked in at Cargills Hotel and then went looking for food. I haven’t had lunch yet, unless you count the orange juice I had in Oamaru.
Walked around, found some school girls doing marching performances on a field with their parents and teachers. There’s even some hip music used for some of the teams. Took some pictures of that, and then found McDonald’s (the staff ain’t too attentive, nor too helpful, nor too friendly. Either me, or my race. I hope it’s just me.).
The University of Otago is sprawled everywhere in the town.
Original plan was to see the Cadbury World and the university book shop. The chocolate factory offered one-hour tours every half hour from 9:00am till 3:30pm, at NZ14. Well I’m a bit late now, and frankly speaking, not keen on it anyway. It’ll be like Willy Wonka’s factory. Plus it’s one entire hour in there. I could do so much more outside.
Got new batteries (NZ6.29) at a local 24/7 convenience store because the camera’s eating them up, and a bottle of water (NZ2.09) for my parched throat and lips. And I even got a coupon that the supermarket cashier (operator lane 5, says so on my receipt) gave (it’s for the Duracell batteries). So the total cost was NZ7.10. It’s now 5:10pm.
Some skaters I spotted behind the railway station.
I explored some more, went back to hotel for a NZ26.00 chicken dinner. Will explore the other half of Dunedin tomorrow. And see how life is like on a Monday. Especially with the university students (University of Otago. The university is like scattered, with faculties all over the town.).
[Edit: On hindsight, there probably won’t be many students in November. Doh!]
The weather isn’t as cold as in Christchurch, or as blustery. And eight. That’s the number of people I’ve seen walking around barefoot. 6 men, 1 women and a little girl.