Well, the hike didn't happen today, because last night I got about three hours sleep... a combination of illness, emotions, and two snoring roommates who seemed to coordinate their efforts: "Okay, you stop, and I'll start. Then I'll take a break for twenty minutes, and you can start up again." Arrgh!
My roommates did the hike, however, and came back exhausted but saying the views were well worth it; however, they strongly recommended getting a ride to the carpark 6km out of town where the hike starts; they managed to hitchhike back in the bed of a pickup truck, and had to hide under a pile of sacks and baggage when the truck got pulled over by the cops by the police for a routine road check.
"The Hoff", my Stray Bus driver for the North Island, plays a silly game on his bus that has become permanently entrenched in my mind: whenever he (or anyone who spots it first) sees a cop car he goes "whoop whoop" (like a siren), which then the rest of the bus answers back with "It's the sound of da police!" For those confused (and I had to look it up myself), it's the refrain of the rap song "Sound of Da Police" by KRS-One. Now whenever I see a cop car (or even am told about one, as when Lewis told me about hitchhiking and getting pulled over), "whoop whoop!" runs through my mind.
My day today was filled with more mundane tasks; scrubbing at my coat again (I should just accept that it is permaently stained); taking all my laundry down from around the room, folding it, and repacking my suitcase; and organising my food and categorising it into "veggies" and "grains" bags (the milk products are in the fridge).
The exciting event today was going to see the film Skin at Cinema Paradiso for the 4pm matinee. Cinema Paradiso is unlike any movie theatre I've ever been in. You can order a full meal, complete with wine and everything, and enjoy it before, at intermission (yes, they stop the movie halfway through to have a proper intermission!), or after the film is finished. At intermission they have freshly baked cookies for sale, and they are warm and gooey, with the chocolate chunks still melted in the middle (chunks... no chococolate chips in this country). And inside the theatre, rather than sitting in traditional theatre seats, there are a variety of couches, mats, recliners, airplane seats(!) at the back, and even an old four-door 1950s truck to pile into and pretend one is at a drive-in. Even the projectors themselves are vintage; reel-to-reel films here, complete with artefacts and lines on the screen. The ads before the movie were entertaining, too; rather than showing trailers for upcoming films, or big-name advertisements, there was instead a collection of amateur shorts advertising various businesses and organizations around Wanaka, from a jewelery store to a recycling activist group.
The film itself, Skin, was good; poignant, and touching and shocking in the sense that it is hard for me to imagine apartheid, even though I was alive while it was in effect (and I remember the first free elections in Africa in 1994). I felt, however, that the character development was shallow in some respects, and cut abruptly from one episode in Sandra's life to the next (I won't give away details of the plot in case anyone wants to go see it). I feel that it is one of those stories that - despite wonderful acting - would make a far better memoir or book than it does a movie... there is just too much intricate detail that has to be compressed when writing real-life events for the screen.
Seeing as I am full from my popcorn and drink and cookie(!), I am going to have a shower and head to bed early to try to recoup on lost sleep. Night!