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New Zealand Round the World 2007

Friday 20th – Thursday 26th July

Friday. Bought myself a pair of proper skiing gloves another thermal top (it was pink and only $10). Then went over to Schnapps for breakfast. Eggs Benedict today. Then I spent the rest of the day sat there, by the fire, reading. Jeff also stopped by and chatted for a while. Went back to the lodge to shower and change, and back for work at 5pm. Difficult night with me, Steph and Silvana. The kitchen wanted me on orders but I was doing all the running around. Anna came in with the Snow School crowd for drinks. She cleared a load of glasses for us, so I bought her a slice of chocolate cake. She’s awesome. We were closed up by midnight. Ray came in for a drink, and joked about me staying til September, and he would pay for my flight home.

Saturday. Phoned Mum and chatted for about an hour. It was good to talk to her. Weather wasn’t great, so didn’t go up to ski. Got some groceries from the shop and read. Went into Schnapps at 5pm. All Blacks v Wallabies Tri-Nations tonight, so another busy one. I lost Anna to the bar and Amanda wasn’t working, so I had Steph and Sarah. Very stressful, and not just for me. Ray asked what it would take to get me to stay. And again offered to pay for my flight. I just told him it was time for me to go. Finished work around 11.45pm after the food stuff was all done. Showered and washed my hair before bed.

Sunday. Worked until around 2pm then had lunch. Went to Taumaranui with Paulina around 4pm. I did tell her that it was quite late and most places would be shut, but apparently she didn’t listen or didn’t believe me. So we went and found one cafe/restaurant and the supermarket were still open. So we had a coffee and cake and did some shopping. I watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail when we got back, then we got ready for the staff party for Schnapps and Basekamp. Paulina has been telling me for ages that my hair looks great curly, so I left it curly for the party. Everyone was very complimentary and asking how I’d done it: only people at the lodge knew my hair was naturally curly! Anyway, I felt ill almost as soon as we got there, so drank water for the first couple of hours while Spud forced vodka shots on everyone else. We were all given awards: mine was “Superstar Material: you don’t deserve an award cuz you’re leaving us soon”. Schnapps also lost quite spectacularly to Basekamp in the tug-of-war. And I spent quite some time trying to get Anna to walk home with me because she was drunk and hurt. It was a fun party, but there’s only so much you can take of really drunk people when you’re sober!

Monday. Worked until midday, then we went up to the ski-field. The weather up there was terrible, but Paulina wanted to stay, so I drove home and said I’d pick her up later. I spent the afternoon trying to make scones and chocolate brownies, neither of which turned out like they should have. Went back to get Paulina: someone either stole or moved her snowboard from outside the cafe. Spent the evening reading, doing puzzles, internet and such like. Finished the third of my Rebus books.

Tuesday. Crappy cold and sore throat. Worked until midday. Had lunch and spent the afternoon reading. There are some kids in the lodge at the moment. The chatty, inquisitive kind. Really bugging me. Went to Schnapps at 5.30pm and got the gossip from Sunday night. It appears Anna fell on the fire and thats’ how she got hurt. Amanda drove her to the hospital and it appears she had third degree burns. Sarah went home, put the heater in front of her door, later couldn’t get out, and so smashed the window. Ange managed to wedge herself between her bed and wardrobe. And Nick has horrible rope burns from the tug-of-war. Anyway, only six teams in the quiz this week: everyone is tired of the same team winning every week. Had a drink with Ray and Rick after.

Wednesday. Worked until 12.15pm, had lunch, showered and straightened my hair, then watched Chronicles of Narnia. Went to work at 6pm. It was a quiet night so I helped Ange sort through the junk in her office. Finished and home by 12.30pm.

Thursday. Cy gave me the option of working or having the day off. I chose the latter, hoping I might be able to shift my cold. Read, watched Match Point and Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Went to work at 6pm, expecting it to be totally dead, but we were busier than last night. Still finished at 11.30pm though. Chef made my dinner tonight and wrote my name on the side of the plate and drew a heart!

New Zealand Round the World 2007

So Where the Hell is National Park Village?!

So National Park Village is in the middle of the north island, on the volcanic plateau. There are basically three volcanoes surrounded by mostly flat land, and a few villages dotted around. National Park has great views of all three volcanoes – Ruapehu, Ngaruhoe and Tongariro – but isn’t that close to them. It has a population of around 500, and is basically three streets wide and four streets long. The “perimeter” can be walked in about 30 minutes. Industry basically comes down to tourism and logging. There is loads of accommodation in the village, and most buildings are chalet-style or A-frames. Schnapps, Basekamp, The Station, Eivin’s, and National Park Hotel are the drinking/eating options. The only shops are the petrol station/general store, and ski shops. Walking is the big summer activity, with loads of places in town offering transport to and from the Tongariro Crossing. There is also biking, and skiing brings in the crowds in the winter. Whakapapa Village is near Ruapehu, and that is the nearest ski field. Again, accommodations provide transport. And that’s about it for the village.

On to Plateau Lodge. It’s in a U-shape arrangement, with the motel units on the left as you come up the drive, and the lodge in front and to the right. There are six motel units, one of which Cy and Zeus live in, so is never sold. They are currently being upgraded to two-bedrooms rather than studios. In the lodge, there are seven rooms downstairs and two en-suite rooms upstairs. There is also an open plan dining and living area, a kitchen, and communal bathrooms, with four cubicles each containing a shower and toilet. The reception is to the right of the complex, and the two internet stations, payphone and hot tub are all over that end too. The other side of reception is the flat, where Cy’s dad lives. Next to that is the guest laundry, then my room with the cleaning room behind, and then the tool shed. Out front, there is a large lawn for camping, and a car park. Can’t think of anything else to tell you about the lodge. But you can check out the website.

Lastly, on to Schnapps. From the outside, it looks like a bit of a shed. Inside though, it’s quite nice. There are lots of long wooden tables with chairs, plus a few sofas and coffee tables. There is a pool table, dart board and a couple of arcade games. There is a bar and a food till/coffee area. We also sell wholesale, for people to take back to their accommodation. It’s an informal dining set up: people come to the till to order, we give them a number which they take to their table, and we find the right number at the right time. The kitchen is small and badly designed, but Spud has plans to improve it. Behind the bar is a chiller room though, which makes restocking easy. You just push everything forward and place the new stock behind it – no need to worry about rotation – and the kegs are kept in there too. There is also a back room which we apparently open when it’s really busy, but so far it’s only been used for meetings and as dDub’s green room while I’ve been working. So that’s about it I think.