After my extraordinary stay in Timaru, Ping was able to find me a ride with a kind gentlemen that was heading to work in the next main stop, Lake Tekapo. When I was notified that I had a ride (leaving in 10 minutes) I through everything in my bag, skipped the shower and ate my apple along the way. By the time we got there, my stomach was polity informing me that it was definitely time to eat. I say this because through finances and time restriction I wasn’t as prepared as I usually am in the food departnent.
We walk into the tavern where he was working and there sat a friendly family talking around a table. I smiled as I walked by and the guy says “Hey, are you hungry? The kitchen gave us too many sandwiches, please take one!”. I was literally handed a meal. No joke! Deep breath and a big smile. Blissful how it all works out.
So I planned (oh silly plans) on hitching out of there that same day…Then i looked around! This place is home of the highest mountain in New Zealand and known for the best star gazing on the island. Due to the popularity, I figured it would already be booked out for the night but it was worth a try. You think?
I walk up to the front desk and asked if there was a bed available. His response was “Hmm, well we only have a bed in the dorms which is our cheapest option. Would that work?”
Wow… Thanks kharma, I will be paying this forward at every opportunity.
Everyone in the room is doing their backpacker solo thing with light conversation and instantly I connect with this awesome girl from New York City. We chatted about random stuff for a bit then decided a walk around this gorgeous place was a must. As we’re getting ready to head out I say “I’m sorry, have I asked your name?”. She responds “Erika”. How embarrassing, she remembered my name and I don’t have a clue what hers is! “Right, and YOUR name?” I ask. “Erica” she says. “Oh…haha, your name is Erika too!”
While enjoying or drinks, we got approached by some locals for a game if pool. A name exchange is necessary and from that point on we were named “The Erika’s from America”. To tell us apart they called me “Cali” and her “New York”. Others referred to us as “West Coast” and “East Coast”.
After we return to the hostel, I continued to ask around for a ride to Queenstown. (I forgot to mention that I had earlier asked Erica if she was going that way, but the answer was “No, but we’ll find you a ride!”)
So this is when it gets even better… Erica turns to me after awhile and delightfully says “Wait, what am I thinking, I should head THAT way… Wanna ride to Queenstown?”
All righty universe, now you’re just showing off! I received both rides, a meal, a safe place to sleep in a tranquil location and a new friend! I feel the love!
Finally, Queenstown… One flight, one ferry, a campervan, bus ride, hitch hike and road trip with Erica… I made it!!