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 .
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.
“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.