Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Willing and Abel

Although I'm a Lego fan from way back, inducted my daughters into the cult, have trodden on my share in bare feet, and have crates of it still in the cupboard, unable to get rid of it because it's an investment - and also, well, LEGO! I was still surprised to get this present from the Baby for Christmas. But it was a symbol: the real present was a 3-day kayaking/camping/tramping trip with her in Abel Tasman National Park at the top of the South Island. Brilliant!

So today I ferried and bussed to the airport and flew down to Nelson to meet her. This town, beloved of retirees, normally vies for the top of the nation's Sunniest City poll, but not so much right now - according to the shuttle driver who collected me from the dinky airport, it's all Australia's fault. That's easy to accept at face value, but she did support it with some meteorological science, in that the horrifyingly hot weather there sucks tropical rain down here.

My trip before last, the Kenya/Uganda/Rwanda one, in a truck and tents, helped set me up for the basic level of accommodation on this one. Mostly we'll be camping, but tonight we get to luxuriate in beds at the Prince Albert Backpackers hostel in Nile Street. I can't recall staying in a backpackers before - lost in the mists of time, I'm guessing - but this seemed pretty good: not fancy, certainly, but we had twin beds with an ensuite, and downstairs it was like a jolly pub (complete with English landlord), serving excellent food in huge portions.

Afterwards, lying in bed listening to the rain pouring down, and knowing there's a lot of exercise ahead of me, only a thin yoga mat to sleep on, and no bathrooms at all, I was just grateful for a last night of relative comfort. As well as slightly anxious that perhaps last week wasn't the best time to have a squamous cell carcinoma cut out of my shin... (Yeah, sorry. But watch out for nasties like this, ok?)

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