I got into Westport around 9:20am, and after storing my luggage at the Intercity bus stop I wandered around town, and found the local library (I love librarires), which kept me occupied until 10:45am, when I went back to wait for the bus. I sat there and read an article about New Zealand's Railway system that Peter Lofthouse printed out for me; it was fun to read about the railways and rail organisations, as now I have visited a lot of them and/or am familiar enough with the geography of New Zealand to know exactly what sort of regions are being described. New Zealand really is becoming a second home.
The bus from Westport to Greymouth originally started its journey in Nelson, and as such took its 40-minute lunch break at 11:55am at Paparoa National Park, were I visited the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes for the second time (see this blog entry for details). I didn't mind being there again; it was an unexpected bonus to visit the site for the second time, and take pictures of all the fascinating rock formations on a sunny day instead of the cloudy visit I had back on November 10th. I was also able to get a few shots of the stunning West Coast scenery from the bus that I wasn't able to get when I was on the Stray Bus travelling over the same highway.
I arrived in Greymouth at 1:15pm, and walked up to Noah's Ark Backpackers (I'm in the Sheep room again. Hallelujah!). The rest of my day has been mainly research and e-mails; I e-mailed Mary to thank her for letting me stay in her house, I e-mailed a man from Tai Poutini Polytechnic enquiring about the textbooks used to teach the Steam School course (which then bounced back saying his e-mail doesn't exist, so I called and left a message on his voicemail instead), and then I went to the library, grabbed a road map of New Zealand, and sat there with my WWOOFing book looking up the location of potential hosts in the Nelson area.
After the library closed I was walking down the street and I passed by a crafts store; I went in and a very nice saleslady helped me pick out three balls of yarn and a set of knitting needles so I can start my very first knitting project. (Ah, Ms. Lang, you'd be so proud of me; give me some info and I could pick up some NZ wool for you. :-)
A brief stop at the Countdown bought me some grocery supplies for dinner; I got condensed tomato soup with the intent of eating it with the bread I made at Mary's house. However, about two bites in, I had to concede that no matter what I do, that bread is always going to taste awful (I think the yeast was fermented or something). Tomorrow morning will be my last-ditch effort of slathering it in nutella; failing that, I'm throwing it out.
As I sat in the dining room after dinner, e-mailing potential WWOOFing hosts, who walked in but Selma Hofstra! I met her way back in Auckland at my IEP Work Exchange orientation; it was so nice to see a familiar face. She has a friend visiting from the Netherlands, and they are touring the South Island together; they are off to Franz Josef Glacier tomorrow. We sat around talking and enjoyed some free fish (the type escapes me now) and wine offered to us by a fellow backpacker.
Tomorrow I am going up to Shantytown to see if I can't find out more about purchasing those Steam School textbooks; hopefully tomorrow night I'll be able to post in here with some answers.
This is an addendum, although it really shouldn't be: Fay passed away this morning. I am sad and upset, and yet I understand that she is no longer suffering, and from talking to her as much as I did when I was staying with them I know that she was accepting of death and well-prepared for it. I still wish I could have been up in Napier with Stefan and Frank to say goodbye; I suppose I can comfort myself somewhat by hoping that my presence there this December with them provided her with a memorable Christmas and New Year's, and gave her some enjoyment; I know I certainly had a good time at their house. Thank you, Fay, for being a quasi-Grandma to me. I'll miss you.