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Day 13: Kaikoura to Waipara

Waipara, New Zealand

The pretty young blonde girl turns her head towards me and, from her pillow, murmurs, sleepily: "Good morning - did you sleep well?"

OK, I had better explain and recap last night.....

You see, the Chinese (or Korean?) manager of the Lazy Shag backpackers, who is a bit of a joker, put me in a shared room with three girls and two boys last night. This is despite there being many other "more mature" guests. I ask if this is a good idea, but she replies, by way of explanation and reassurance: "You rook smirey person - all smirey people in room 3 - you be fine!".

So off I go to introduce myself to the two young girls who are already in occupation of room 3. "I am afraid you drew the short straw, girls, and have to share with the old guy!". "Oh, that's alright!", says the blonde one, as she exchanges a quick look with her companion, that seems to say "Did you remember to pack the pepper spray?" "Don't worry, just imagine that you are sharing a room with your dad!", I add, brightly. It doesn't seem to help. However, I find out that they and another girl are doing a gap year along more or less the same itinerary as the Smug Adventurers, so that breaks the ice and I then quickly repair to the Kaikoura Hotel, where I debate the merits of Dave Gilmour and Roger Waters (who played a storming concert last night in Christchurch, apparently), with a guy from British Columbia and then the merits of Liverpool FC with a fan from Melbourne, who is a BMW salesman on a sales junket in NZ; a reward for selling the fifth highest number of BMWs that year.

I have seen only one other touring cyclist on this trip - going the other way. However, I often have the eerie sensation that I am being shadowed!!

From Kaikoura, we are climbing yet again, up and into, then up and out of Greta Valley. These are some of the biggest climbs for a few days and the right knee is beginning to creak again. But the last 30 miles from Cheviot onto Waipara are mainly downhill and I glide into Waipara Sleepers, the backpackers hostel, at 4:30pm.

"Sleepers" is an unusual backpackers, where the facilities room and dorm rooms are in an old station house and old railway guards vans, respectively. These have been retreived, along with lots of memoribilia, from the old glory days of New Zealand steam railways. New Zealand now has a very minimal rail system.

But Waipara is otherwise another truckstop/bend in the road sort of place, so I wander around, take a photo of the backdrop of hills and get an early night.

Distance today: 126 Km, cumulative: 1525, remaining: 759

permalink written by  John and Claud on January 30, 2007 from Waipara, New Zealand
from the travel blog: Cape Reinga to Bluff
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Previous: Day 12: Seddon to Kaikoura Next: Day 14: Waipara to Ashburton

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