NZ10+ : Day 31 : TAUPO

I wake up surrounded by the ruins of the night before. Having obviously had a great time, Taupo delivers again, with a top afternoon with some cool people, and a final brilliant night out.

Wednesday 16/04/08 

(Writing on the 17th, back at “Y-Not” restaurant in Auckland, on the Quay with a beer. I’ve gone full circle.)

After being woken up by the Norwegian girls leaving, and being unable to sleep because of the garage vacuuming all of their cars, I headed out of the hostel quite early.

The Maori guy cleaning the room (who was also the bouncer from Mulligans the night before) asked me what my plans for the day were. I said that I would probably just head to the lake. Being a bit hungover, that’s exactly what I did. I reckon I just sat on a bench for a good hour just chilling out and feeding the birds. I went for a much-needed brew, and then into a couple of souvenir shops. I scoped out the cinema again, as I know that if I didn’t meet up with the girls coming in from Wellington (a day late) then I would be bored silly.

As I was walking round looking for more shops, and debating whether to go and make some beads for Hazel, I spotted the bus arriving in from Wellington. So, I tagged along with Chloe and Stephanie for a bit, until I got into the hostel bar and had a drink with Kate and Martin. The two Irish guys working in the hostel were a laugh too. A quick break and a trip to McDonalds, and then the supermarket, then all back to the hostel bar for more Tiger beers and an unexpected movie.

I thought I had seen a bar advertising a pub quiz at nine (turned out to be 7:30!) so we all had time to kill before then. The film was called “Once” and it was a love story set in Dublin (I think). It was a really nice film, and it looked like it had been shot on Mini DV, so that was inspiring from a film-making perspective.

Martin and I then went out to try the “Hell” Pizzas, which I seem to remember Stephen recommending. Bringing the pizzas back to the hostel, I can indeed say they were pretty damn good! Will and Kate headed to the quiz on time, and played the first couple of rounds without us. I finished my pizza and went to my room to set up my alarm clock and to sort my clothes out for a hasty exit in the morning…

We caught the end of the quiz, and managed to come a solid last. So, we headed back to the mighty Mulligans for drinks and lots of darts. I probably knocked back a lot in there, setting myself up for a fall when we went to Element bar to finish the night off.

Greg, Andy and Lewis had come up from Wellington that day too, so we all had a drunken laugh and I managed to “talk shop” with Greg about his visual effects work, potentially a useful contact for the future.

Glad to have met the girls in Kaikoura, not having a “mini gang” was a worry for me leaving Queenstown, but it turned out alright. Not added them all on Facebook yet, but I will. They all seem genuinely impressed with the film and my website (urgently needs updating) so I’ll have to keep them in the loop.

Got to bed, and went out like a light. Which lead to a lucky escape and a rescue by Chloe the next morning… (Oh yes, and Martin was quite the darts player, and showed me some tips.)



Why no soundtrack entry? I think I must have been writing this diary entry in a bit of a hurry, as that morning has one of my more consistent anecdotes of the whole trip, and I almost skip over it completely here. Perhaps I have embellished it a little over the years, but I now retell it as so…

I struggled to catch some more Zzzz’s through the constant vacuum noises coming from the garage next door, but as I come to, I realise that the Norwegians have gone, and in their wake, are enough empty bottles of beers, wines and spirits to cover the entire floor. My foggy brain also begins to recall that drinking in a hostel is illegal and that I could be in serious trouble for it, as the only one left in the room. Just as my brain puts two and two together and starts to panic, I hear a vacuum cleaner coming up the corridor.

Shit! I’m about get caught with all this empty booze! The door opens, and the cleaner turns out to be… My friend from Mulligan’s, the Manga-loving Maori bouncer! Turns out he a) doesn’t need much sleep and b) works two jobs!

He stares at me. I stare at him. He stares at the floor, and all of the empty bottles. I stare at the floor and all of the empty bottles. He looks back at me.

“What the f*** happened here?”
“Was it those girls?”
I say nothing.
“Those women man! Trouble! I knew it! Look at this mess! This could be big trouble! Ok man, don’t you worry, I’ll get this sorted right out!”

Like I said, my love for cartoons has gone a long way over the years. My new friend obviously believed that I had been a completely 100% innocent party in what was a Norwegian orchestrated illegal drink-up in the hostel. My mate wanted to do me a solid, and to make sure I would not be connected to the bottles of booze in any way by the ‘powers that be.’

Yeah, I felt pretty shitty about not copping to any of the booze (he must have suspected) but I did help him blitz the room at least!

So, the moral of the story is to always check if your bouncer/cleaner likes cartoons.

It was a pleasant surprise when the girl-gang turned up. I wasn’t expecting to see the Kiwi bus, but I randomly turned a corner, and there it was! I do remember having a brilliantly chilled out afternoon in the hostel bar (why hadn’t I done that the day before?) enjoying some lazy drinks, pizza and a great film. I remember talking to the Irish bar-tenders about hunting in New Zealand (“We were out yesterday, shot a deer!”) and discovering the contents of the chilli-shots that we had seen served in a few bars. The same type of chilli shots which had nearly caused Tom to go blind, all the way back at the Fox Glacier. Again, memory just makes me recall that whole afternoon with fondness.

A quick note on Mulligans and the picture above with the barman. I can't quite recall the specific detail, but if you played a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors with the barman, you would wager a dollar off or a dollar extra on the price of a beer. I had evidently won at least once!

I was obviously quite excited to be reunited with the gang, and so when Greg, Lewis and Andy showed up too, and knowing it was possibly my last night out in New Zealand, I went to town!

It was a great final last night out with a big group of people. The send-off that New Zealand deserved.

I don’t remember getting to bed, and I evidently did not check my alarm…