.....The BiKeWriTeR

Sunday, December 26, 2010: Taihape, New Zealand

Taihape, New Zealand, Dec 26 – Happy Boxing Day; it’s a New Zealand tradition much like Black Friday. HUGE after-Christmas sales, only I really haven’t seen many shops open. Matter of fact, the sporting goods shop in Taihape kicked me out; my darn bike was to blame. Let me quote the store owner – “Out, out, out! Get that bike out of my shop!” I took that as a casual suggestion; I tried to explain – briefly… and the second time he was even MORE loud and clear. Think drill sergeant.

That’s too bad because I was going to buy a sh**load of stuff.

Since getting kicked out of the Catholic church on Christmas day, and now this, I don’t think New Zealander’s are too keen on the spirit of the holiday.


Bicycled 75 kilometers from Marton to Taihape today and it was tough, everybody said so. Lot of hills, it was overcast and chilly.

Pulled into Taihape around 2:30 p.m. and tanked my plans to make it another 30 kilometers up the road to Waiouru. I actually thought Taihape was only 48 miles; for some reason I’m having trouble reading my book map. The city I want is always located on the NEXT page, but it is never the next page, it’s always, like, three pages away and I need to look in the reference to figure it out.

Found a backpacker’s hostel rather quickly; The Gretna. I must be tired, I didn’t even try to dicker when the clerk said one night was $30.

I searched out a laundry with some urgency; I pinned my ripe clothes as the source of my nausea. Returning to backpacker’s headquarters I found my room and its only window opened directly across from the tavern on the first floor. There’s a guy in there that laughs like Dracula. He seems to be having a super time.

My room is quaint; not the historical feel like HotelClub from last night – just convenient, with charming character.

At least that’s what I call it.

The bed is less than sturdy – think hammock. I’m glad there’s somewhat of a siderail, it only took me three elephant heaves to get out of the bed hole the second time.

The hallway smells like we’re right above the greasy kitchen exhaust and there’s a crack in the seam of the old wooden door of the communal bathroom. I suppose it’s convenient, that way I know if somebody’s in there or not, but the door doesn’t close all the way anyway….. so there’s that.

I found my only window is also directly across from the tavern jukebox. This evening’s clientèle of dedicated drinkers prefers a mixed tape of Don Ho and old country with a lot of warbling crooners.

An update, Dracula laugh has a wife – they must have been separated at birth and then found each other again. It’s offensive in a joyous way.

I’m so tired nothing really bothers me at this point; but note I can still hear them with my fingers shoved in my ears.

One other bathroom note, you’re squatting at an angle. At first I thought it was just fatigue, but there’s a definite slant to this operation and a bit of a Wallenda factor. Like sitting on one of your dad’s old lawn chairs he should have gotten rid of a long time ago. There’s a convenient wall for stability, that definitely reduces fear of falling off the perch. And maybe I was too quick to judge the crack in the door – it could be for safety purposes.

Sometimes I wonder why nobody wants to come on these trips with me.

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