Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Internet, Kaikoura and drunk Canadians

Things worth blogging have happened lately, but since I've been without internet for a while, I couldn't get them on the web. My being offline is a chapter in itself. Right now I'm at the library in Blenheim, where they have free internet and it's just a ten minute walk from the hostel.
I decided not to spend another cent on the expensive wi-fi connection offered around New Zealand's hostels (Zenbu.co.nz, NZ$5 for 50 MB). Instead, I'll go for mobile internet from Vodafone, which is still far from being cheap (broadband and mobile phones are really backwards in this country), but it's the best money/value choice. As the cheapest option, I decided to sign up for a 12-month contract (4GB/month, free modem, $71 monthly rate, first 6 months for half-price). For some reason, though, they're being fussy about it; apparently a Czech passport and a backpackers address doesn't appeal to them and they need to run some kind of credit check. I have no idea why it's taking them three days to check someone without any financial history in New Zealand, but the very laid back approach seems to be one of the main reasons. I even offered to show them my UK and CZ bank statements and pay the whole 12-month term upfront, but to no avail. This is one thing I miss about Europe - cheap and easily accessible internet. New Zealand is like going back ten years. Update: they rang me up from the shop just a few minutes ago, the product is ready, yeah! Just now that I discovered free internet at the library, haha. Anyway, I originally wanted to write about drunk Canadians.

After leaving Christchurch I went to Kaikoura to spend a couple of days at the seaside before starting the pruning job in Blenheim. I arrived in the evening and experienced a real shock when I set food into the Dolphin Lodge hostel. It was extremely quiet, with just a bunch of people sitting in the lounge and talking quietly. I had just spent a week in a very laid back hostel in Christchurch, full of easygoing and partying people, so the difference was quite extreme. The Dolphin felt like a tomb. Until a bunch of totally drunk Canadians stormed in.

I had decided that given the circumstances I'd just quietly watch a movie and just when I was about to start, there were noises from outside as if an angry elephant was passing through there. Within a few seconds, a guy looking like Stiffler's twin brother half stomped, half slouched and half crashed through the entrance door and tripped over his own legs several times before reaching the room, mumbling something about being first. Not much later, more angry elephants showed up outside and then another two totally wasted people entered the hostel in the same fashion as their predecessor. The only one capable of coherent speach told me that they went on a fishing trip and the captain invited them to his private winery, where they had lots of tastings... Normally I don't like drunk people unless I'm drunk as well, but these guys were really funny and gave me a good laugh... at least till they fell asleep and started snoring like a thousand chainsaws. The big guy with a big cold could wake up the dead.

I had a sleepless night (around 3am I gave up and went to the lounge, but I still couldn't sleep and at six some other guests started fumbling around with the lights on), but in the morning the sobered (and hungover) Canadians were good company, quite nice guys having a great time in New Zealand. In the afternoon I went for a walk to the seal colony, a famous highlight of Kaikoura (the town is renouned for its fauna, I think I mentioned this last time). I'll talk about my encounter with the seals next time.

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