The days continue to start earlier and earlier. Although it wasn’t nearly as cold as the night before, I had a heck of a time getting any amount of sleep. Sleeping in a tent on a thin foam pad without some sort of insulation is like trying to fall asleep on an airplane. Sure you may fall asleep but it only happens in spurts and ends up being glorified naps. I should probably buy a liter of NyQuil or some other knock out drug; that should do the trick. Just kidding, although that does sound appealing. I began the day a shade before 7 a.m. and had nothing better to do than eat my leftovers of scrambled eggs and whatnot and the familiar cereal bars and milk. Plus, I had more than enough time to do some more admin work and keep up on the blog. The time was further passed by talking to people in the kitchen and in the lounges. Interestingly, I have found that this trip has been a much more social trip than my European trip. In Europe, I felt pressured to always be on the go and make the most out of my time there. The emphasis has still been to jam pack my day and to explore all that there is in the places I stay but I have found the time to hang around the hostel. Also and most importantly, I am so much more comfortable traveling this time around as if it is second nature. Starting conversations with complete strangers has become natural and I believe I have stumbled across a way to cut out the troublesome small talk. I see myself as an odd, random character and I have grown quite comfortable in my own skin. We shall see when the circumstances change in the unfamiliar places I travel to in SE Asia but I like my odds. Leaving the hostel later than I expected, I stumbled into a secondhand shop hoping to find some cheap clothes but their stock was quite limited. Unless I would like to fully embrace the homeless man persona, I would need to look elsewhere. After taking the scenic route around town (not my intention), I waited for my ferry to depart through the Marlborough Sounds to Wellington on the North Island. The ferry passed the same Sounds that I saw yesterday but placed me at the center of it all. I could see each individual ridge and crescent spine that ran across the thick forest bush of the monumental hills that bordered the Sounds. The degrees of greens that colored the mosaic of the aforementioned forest never grow old. Parts were light and tropical like the light green ferns that I had gotten used to along the west coast and Abel Tasman while others were the deepest, purest greens that brought me back to California and it’s dark Redwood forests. After surveying the land, I went to sit down inside the lobby and found out how truly tired I was. The nap was a tangled mess but I can say that I fell asleep. Not long after, I found myself in the bay just outside of Wellington. I found my bags near baggage claim and had no idea where to go next; all I knew is that I needed to find a hostel. Outside the ferry terminal I found a couple shuttles that a select few people were boarding. I had no idea what they were for or where they were headed but I was willing to guess it would lead to the city center. I jumped aboard not quite knowing what to expect. As the shuttle bus pulled away, I gathered that they were part of a New Zealand tour experience. They were going to stop near some hostels so it worked out for me but I couldn’t help thinking about how ridiculous it was to board a random bus/van. I cooked myself a proper meal with plenty of leftovers but still making do with what was on sale. After making plans to meet up with a couple of British girls that I had met in the hostel in Picton, I took the surprisingly long walk over to their hostel which happened to be near the ferry terminal. The city of Wellington was mostly dead due to businesses still celebrating the holidays, which is not something we respect too much in America. We found a pub, albeit quite vacant, for a couple drinks. Due to my fascination with cultural differences, I tried to get behind the common phrasing of “sweet as” and “no worries” as well as the absurdly long vacation days of 21 or so compared to the meager amounts given to hard working Americans. I was dead tired from sleeping in a tent for so long so I called it a night with plans to meet up again tomorrow after I had treated myself to a good night’s sleep in an actual bed. No towel or shirt turban for me tonight. Cheers to sleeping on a mattress with a pillow to cradle my head. Sweet dreams.
Middle Earth Day 23: Northbound Ferry