Hitch hike to a hidden treasure in Timaru

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.
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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.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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!
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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).
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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.
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Then they close the doors. (Tui is the local beer)
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Bar area
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

This is the “#8” which is the old sports bar. It was damaged by the quakes so they’re in the process of rebuilding.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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!
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Fun around the place.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Men’s bathroom… Super creative use of an old keg and taps!
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This is the wall the boys “use” for their toilet.
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These are some paintings on the wall you see on the way to my room.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

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.
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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.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Rocks. Love them. Started with this pile…
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

…realized the magnificent colors I was surrounded by…
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…then combined all of them!
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Got lost in the industrial park.
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Found some train tracks.
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Then just wandered the city…
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Found some cute shops.
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Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

… And this little guy!
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“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.

Categories: Accommodations, Art, Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Hitch hike to a hidden treasure in Timaru

  1. Robin Stanley Quinn

    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! 🙂

  2. Robin Stanley Quinn

    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. 🙂

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