Sunday, March 6, 2011

Windy Welly Calling

Last night I was treated to the sounds of the cover band of the wedding in the restaurant next door running their way through some of the standard wedding fare, some more successfully than others; "Mustang Sally"  came off quite well, but the final selection of "Dancing Queen" was decidedly painful, mostly due to it not being well-suited for a male rock voice. I don't suppose it mattered very much; the lead singer was all but drowned out by female voices shrieking along in the crowd of dancers.

This morning we made our way from Kaiteriteri to Picton, retracing our steps along highways 60, 6, and 62. Watching the countryside zip by outside my window, I was struck with the fact that today I was leaving the South Island, and I have no idea when I will next return. The South Island is my second Vancouver Island... and despite my harrowing experience in Christchurch, it feels like home. I have so many wonderful memories of life on the South Island, and it saddens me to think that is all I am going to have until the next time I return. That is, unless someone from the South Island comes up to Canada to visit me.... :-)

We arrived in Picton at 11:30am for the 1:10pm sailing, returned our rental car, and in the process of emptying all our belongings from the vehicle I slammed the car door into my left hip. In a word, OUCH. (The actual word I said was a wee bit stronger...) I now have a lovely purple bruise forming to compliment the slowly-healing ones I received during the earthquake.

After collecting our boarding passes and checking our baggage, we nipped up to the bakery for some pastries and treats, and then ate leftover pizza for lunch (my mom's dinner from the night before) in the warterfront park in Picton, taking in the sights of the miniature electric train traipsing merrily around the grounds, carrying three or four children behind it at a time, and the musical stylings of a poor fiddler in the bandshell playing a cover of The Corrs' "Toss the Feathers", who was actually quite good, but unfortunately falling victim to a rather poor microphone set-up (high amounts of buzzing and static). The last time I had wandered around Picton was with Gary and Jean and Al, when we were all on the Mainline Steam tour; we ate at The Flying Haggis and caught the 10:30pm sailing back to Wellington, arriving at 1:30am. The advantage of sailing that late at night is it is far less busy, as my parents and I discovered when we found ourselves riding a nearly full-to-capacity sailing of the Interislander's Kaitaki to the North Island.

Having seen the current conditions posted as "moderate", and having observed the moving clouds out above the Queen Charlottes, I was apprehensive for our journey across the "roaring 40s". My parents seemed blithely unconcerned, and lightly made fun of my predictions of a stormy crossing. They went out on deck as we threaded our way through the beautiful coastline, making our way out to the open ocean; I sat inside, knitting, preparing myself mentally for what I knew was coming. Sure enough, when we hit the open water, I could see the whitecaps on the waves, and two recorded announcements came over the PA system, informing us that the conditions in the Cook Strait were "less than favourable" and could we please remain seated and use the motion sickness bags if necessary. How reassuring! I put my knitting away, put my head down on the table, and happily enough, I was able to survive the crossing without throwing up. It wasn't as bad as that awful first crossing I had with Mainline Steam, but it definitely wasn't one of the better ones, either. My parents came back and sat down, and although they said they were feeling fine, my mom closed her eyes and lost her appetite for a couple hours, and my dad remarked at dinner tonight that he still felt like he was on a boat going up and down and up and down and up and down....

We arrived safely into Wellington Harbour, and my parents got their first glimpses of "Windy Welly" as we cruised around town in our new rental car, trying to locate tonight's accommodation. While I had a vague idea of where it was, I hadn't taken into account all of the one-way streets that limited our options in the way we could approach things. After five minutes of getting ourselves turned around the right way, we made it to Victoria Court Motor Lodge, where we have a "freakin' palace", to quote my rather unpoetic description upon crossing the threshold. It's not fancy, but we have a kitchen/dining/lounge area, a bathroom with a huge spa tub, and two bedrooms! Believe me, in backpacker travelling terms, it's a palace.

For dinner tonight we walked down to the New World Metro Supermarket on Willis St, and picked up supplies to make pasta, salad, and omelettes (for some reason I felt like an omelette), which means we have a dozen eggs to eat our way through in two days (my dad is gleefully looking forward to making bacon and eggs for breakfast tomorrow). On the agenda for tomorrow is a Lord of the Rings tour for my parents (I already did it back in November), and a day of lazing and relaxing for me, all by myself. Peace and quiet and solitude... it will be a nice change. ;-) Goodnight!


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