The best unexpected stop of my journey so far!
Things happen for a reason… The universe works in mysterious ways… I’m lucky… Kharma pays… It all happens the way it’s supposed too.(You can fill in your own phrase that may sum up the reason I was meant to be exactly where I was last weekend).
Let’s start with hitch hiking. I put on my big girl pants, made an awesome sign and took the bus to the edge of town. There I stood with my backpack, hoping someone would be going in the same direction and willing to pick up a smiling traveler headed south. The thumb out and look of desperation doesn’t suit me well so I went with a huge smile and the wave. Yes folks, I waved at each vehicle passing as if it was a long time friend I hadn’t seen in years. Did I score? Yes! Within 5 minutes a car pulls off and as I approach the window I see a sweet guy around the age of 18 with a genuine look and smile as big as mine. I jumped in with Hamish for the ride to his home town of Timaru.
So if you check out a map, Timaru is a little less than half way from Christchurch to Queenstown (my ultimate goal) so I was pretty stoked. I had him drop me off at McDonalds due to their free wifi and the opportunity to contact another ride. (Pause for a minute and really grasp that visual. Me at McD’s, that alone is awkward…then add all my bags in a small town… Spectacular!) After moments of research I found a hotel thats a part of my Help X volunteer program. I gave them a call and this is where my journey turns for a direction beyond my imagination. I meet Ping. When we spoke he mentioned it was a busy night and he already had help, but he would call me back. 5 minutes later, my phone rang and he says “In your profile, it mentions you’re a hairstylist”…. And then it began. He came and picked me up with a beaming smile and an energy that grew through our conversation.
The “Grosvenor” is a hotel with 2 bars, restaurant, lounge and casino. This place has the coolest vibe with an awesome staff… A staff that all needed haircuts! I arrived at my new home for the night (even though I ended up staying the whole weekend) and got my scissors out right away. During my stay I got to do 7 haircuts on a variety of thankful people. Here are a few of the gals.
After the cuts were done, energy picked up as I was informed that they were hosting a Maori Rugby event that night. Of course I offer my help and to my pleasant surprise, I get to bartend and bus the entire evening! Amazing how exciting it was to get back in the “work mode” so much fun!
As if I wasn’t already stoked for some work and a good nights sleep, they offer me dinner from the menu. I requested they make me their favorite dish however the chef would like. I got local fish and chips with tons of veggies, double score! (I’ll post about what exactly I did with this scrumptious plate to make it last the entire weekend. Look for it soon in my “edibles” category).
The next day I got to snap some photos around this enchanting building that was built in 1878. Ping has brought back most of it’s original foundation and added a modern “kiwi” flare. It’s clear he’s put as much thought into this creation as passion into his surroundings. An inspiration for sure. Check this place out!
www.eight wired.co.nz .
This is the front desk area that you see when you first walk in.
Then they close the doors. (Tui is the local beer)
This is the “#8” which is the old sports bar. It was damaged by the quakes so they’re in the process of rebuilding.
I don’t know what I like best about this photo. Either the childrens booster seat next to the cigarette machine, the poster of Marilyn Manroe or the hilarious bathroom sign!
Men’s bathroom… Super creative use of an old keg and taps!
This is the wall the boys “use” for their toilet.
These are some paintings on the wall you see on the way to my room.
My room. Let me remind you that I’ve been sleeping in hostel bunk beds, tree houses and vans… This place made me feel like a queen! I had my own tea kettle, a bed with 2 pillows, private bathroom with a hot water shower and real toilet! Spoiled? Yes I was.
Ping decided to take me for a walk and drop me off for “Erika time” as he called it. We walked for a bit untill we hit the coast. He took me to a beach that most travelers don’t know about and suggested I just roam around from there.
Rocks. Love them. Started with this pile…
…realized the magnificent colors I was surrounded by…
Got lost in the industrial park.
“Thank you” doesn’t really describe my true appreciation for everyone at the Grosvenor. I felt more than welcomed right away into such a positive, warm family that makes my stop in tiny Timaru my favorite so far. A very sincere personal thanks to my new friends for a memorable weekend that will always hold a place in my heart.
I had a small ‘Erika’ adventure of my own here at home. Last week I was driving to my book club meeting in Rocklin. I knew how to get there, but when I ran into ‘road closed’ signs, I didn’t have a clue because I don’t carry my GPS locally and don’t have a smart phone. So I stopped at the local quick mart and was asking the clerk how to get where I needed to go. He wasn’t too sure, but in walks the young man that had been parked next to me. He’d figured out that I wasn’t from the area and asked where I needed to go. I told him and he said ‘I have to go back that way to get home. Follow me.’ So I wound through unfamiliar streets following his little Nissan and when we got to the street I needed, he pulled over, signaled I should turn left, and sent me on my way. Sometimes you just have to trust in your fellow human beings! 🙂
I feel really privileged to be following you through your amazing travels and meeting your new companions! Thanks for the ‘like’ regarding John’s real estate award. 🙂