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November 29, 2023:
We got all packed up and were ready to start our hitch. But first, I needed to get warmer gear since I noticed the weather was cold as shit. We lifted each other’s packs and guessed how much they weighed.
Orange Man threw his on, let out a huff and said, “Fock.”
We went to the backpacking store so I could buy fleece pants and a sweater.
The guy working there pointed to one and said, “Okay, jus to make sure we’re tawking about the same thing. You mean sweata like this, ay?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Great! Jus making sure as the terminology can vary,” he said.
He found some fleece layers immediately and I was completely stoked! I have searched all around America for what he found me.
“Will you be wearin’ this fo trampin’?”
“Excuse me?” I asked, “tramping?”
“Oh, sorry. Hiking,” he said.
I laughed out loud and said, “In America, tramp means whore.”
“Oh god, I’m so sorry,” he said, “that’s not how I meant it.”
I kept laughing and said, “I know, it’s just hilarious.”
After I purchased my new things, we went to the café across the street. They had french toast so I was stoked. When I ordered, I asked for no powdered sugar.
“No icing suga?” he asked.
“What?” I asked, “Oh, yeah, no icing sugar.”
I felt bad for continuously saying “what” to people, but the kiwis talked so fast and the accent/word choices kept tripping me up.
We got a ride out of the main city and were dropped off in a weird location next to a grocery store and a construction area.
Three workers saw us with our big packs on and one of them said, “Ya guys are focking mad.”
We all laughed.
Then, Orange and I walked to the highway and started hitching towards Picton. Everything felt so opposite. I felt like I was hitching on the wrong side of the road.
“Now I can exercise my left thumb,” I joked.
We were hitching for about an hour before a woman picked us up, visibly worried for us, telling us that where we were standing was not safe. She took us down a ways to a safer spot beside a gas station.
From there, a young lad gave us a ride a few miles up the road, giving us a little tour around the area. He pointed out vineyards, farmland with sheep and local food areas. I pointed to open meadows with what looked like scattered haystacks covered in bright white plastic.
“What are those?” I asked.
“Those are marshmallows,” he said.
After that, we got picked up by an older gentleman named Richie. I hopped in the front seat while Orange hopped in the back. Richie was hilarious. He spoke really fast and drove just the same. He was a fisherman and loved his job, proudly coming from an entire family of fisherman. He drove down the windy road and pointed out mountains and heaps of pine trees.
“Now coming up, there are three dead trees there that annoy me because they’re dead and nobody’s chopped ‘em down,” Richie said as he pointed to two of them. “And now you’ll see one of them has been blown over from the wind.
Now there’s only two dead trees that annoy me.”
Then, he showed us a rock face that had an inbuilt “trampoline” as he liked to call it. It was put in after the recent earthquake. It appeared to be a giant net hanging tightly over the road to help bounce the falling rocks into the ocean.
Right before he dropped us off in Kaikōura, he pointed to a whale watching tour agency and said, “Get ya boyfriend back there to pay to take you out on a helicopta ride so you can fly out and see the whales.”
I turned around to Orange and shot him a smile. Both of us blushed and didn’t say anything.
We arrived to Kaikōura and walked around the local area. We saw backpackers/travelers come off the buses, there were seagulls flying around the vicinity and mountains surrounding the area. We went towards the sea and plopped down on the rounded rocks just above the shoreline.
“I’ve never seen water this color before,” I said, “it looks glacial.”
I enjoyed the sound of the pebbles moving with the push and pull of the waves. The air felt so crisp, as if winter was coming, yet it was summer time there. My cheeks felt rosy and my leg hair stood up from the chilling temperature. I threw my new fleece pants on and felt as if I was being hugged by the warmth.
Shortly after, Orange Man took care of accommodations and we walked to the motel. On the walk there, he pointed out a mural that had a painting of a bird called tui.
“They’re known to be messengers of the Gods,” he said, “to see them is really good luck.”
We put our stuff down in the room, I laid down in the bed for a moment and talked his ears off. I shared stories of my life with him. I felt comfortable around him and found him to be a really good listener.
From there, we went to a Thai place and got some coconut curry meals to-go, then walked over to a picnic table to eat beside the water. We watched as the seagulls attempted to get some of our food, so by the end we threw them some jasmine rice and watched as they nibbled away.
We walked back home and I found myself getting so sleepy, that blurry kine feeling of barely being able to keep my eyes open. I ended up knocking out moments later.