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New Zealand Round the World 2007

Leaving National Park

Monday. Last day! I had to show Elisabeth the ropes. All done by 1pm, then spent the afternoon doing the usual TV and puzzles. Went to Schnapps around 8pm. Had supper there because it was being bought for me. Hamish wrote “Happy Travels” on the side of the plate. Ange gave a reference that I asked for: it was really good. Bought a few cocktail shakers and shared them out. Spent most of the night chatting, until I decided I wanted to change the music. Put Rage Against the Machine and Metallica on, and moshed with Connie and Ange. Bad idea: serious case of “mosher neck” afterwards. Disapppointed that Ashleigh and Anna didn’t show up, but still had a fun night. Ange got very drunk and it took Zeus ages to get her home. Me and Ray threw drinks on each other. And finally everyone left by 2.30am, so Ray, Amanda and I had drinks and were the last to leave.

Tuesday. I was packed and all ready to leave by around 11am. I had so much stuff that I kinda looked like I was moving out! Went over to Schnapps, partly because I was bored and partly because Spud didn’t join us last night. Said “bye” to everyone again, then Cy gave me a lift to the bus stop. The south-bound bus arrived and told me that the north-bound bus had broken down and would be at least another hour. Luckily Clare and Zeus arrived at Basekamp (near the bus stop), so I waited inside with them. Got to Auckland around 9pm and took a taxi to Kris’s place. Good to see him. We chatted for a while, then headed out for some drinks with his friend Liz.

New Zealand Round the World 2007

Thursday 2nd – Sunday 5th August

Thursday. Woke up at 7.30am, so a grand total of 10 hours sleep in the past two nights. Managed to stay in bed until 10am though (it’s my day off, by the way). Paulina finished work and we headed up to the ski-field. Really shitty weather, so we headed over to Ohakune instead. We had lunch at Utopia Cafe, then came back around 2.30pm because she had work at 4pm. I was going to go to Schnapps to see a band in the evening, but the weather was still crap, so I stayed in and watched a couple of films instead.

Friday. Supposed to be my day off, but Paulina asked if I would mind helping because there was quite a bit to do, she had slept in, and she wanted to move into Clare’s before work this evening. So I worked 10.30-12.30 and just did all the lodge bedrooms, cleaning and making beds. Had lunch, went on the internet, and got ready for work. In Schnapps at 5pm. Worked until quite late, then had a drink with Ange, Amanda and Zeus before walking home.

Saturday. Worked until noon, then had another boring afternoon of lunch, puzzles and TV before going to Schnapps at 4pm, for my last ever shift! Everyone was being overly helpful so I could have a “cruizy” shift. The customers made that awkward. Not overly busy, just ticked over nicely. Spud wasn’t impressed with my last staff meal: chips, cheese and pesto. There was a DJ playing at 10pm, so I spent an hour on the door. Three guys started stripping for me because they wanted free Jagermeisters. It didn’t work. Finished at 11pm. Ange and Anna were saying “last ever time signing out” and looking worried/sad. I stuck around for a few drinks and danced to the DJ. Left around 1.30am, and got totally soaked on my walk home. Nick and Hamish both told me that it had been a pleasure to work with me.

Sunday. Worked 9am-2.45pm. I chose to do motels, which wasn’t a terrible choice, but I did have to refuse to get angry with one couple who left a huge mess in their kitchen. Another unit did leave some Vienetta which cheered me up! My replacement, Elizabeth, arrived and moved into the staff room. I’ll be training her up tomorrow, on my last shift. Had lunch, showered, did some puzzles, and went on the internet.

New Zealand Round the World 2007

Friday 27th July – Wednesday 1st August

Friday. Went up to the ski-field around 9am, and spent an hour and a half in the cafe, waiting for the weather to improve. There seemed to be quite a lot of people skiing, but most of the lifts were closed so they were all using one slope. It wasn’t that bad, but certainly not ideal conditions, especially for learning. So I drove back around noon, got some petrol and groceries, and went back to the lodge. Went into work in Schnapps at 5pm. Nothing special. Walked home at 2am with Jo.

Saturday. Had to work today, even though it was supposed to be my day off. Can’t complain too much – I did get Thursday off. Finished at 1pm, changed and went to Schnapps for lunch. It was quite busy, and Sarah was there so I ended up having lunch with her, and playing a couple of games of pool. Started work at 4pm, and it got busy around 5.30pm, so it was good that Mike arrived early. Once all the other staff came in at 6pm, I tried doing the floor (basically clearing tables), but ended up taking meals, doing a bit of glass-washing, and clearing tables. Getting frustrated with the other staff, but maybe I’m just expecting too much: like Jeff said, I’m a fast learner. It was quite a busy night but everyone left fairly early, so we were finished by 1am.

Sunday. Worked 9am-2pm. I did the lodge and the vacuuming (no beds, hurray!). Had lunch, did my laundry, went on the internet. Freddy sent me a message saying she’d already finished Harry Potter 7, but some evil kid ruined it for her by telling her the ending. I said she wasn’t allowed to tell me anything because I wasn’t going to buy it until I reach the US. Watched Spiderman in the evening.

Monday. Worked for a couple of hours. Went on the internet and found out hiring a car in the US would cost be $1000 before I take petrol into account, so I will now be travelling by bus! Went through the Lonely Planet finding names of the local transport companies to look up. Went into Schnapps around 6.30pm: I was in charge of the pool competition. Thought I’d be in for a real boring/easy night since there are so few tourists in the village at the moment. But it was actually quite popular. We had enough people to go from 7pm to 9pm in the speed round, and then we played two semi-finals and the final. Rick knocked a couple of the more competitive players out of the top four, so they played a couple more speed round to get back into the finals. Ray won the competition and the $100 bar tab though, and bought me a drink. Stayed for a couple more with Spud and Rick too.

Tuesday. Paulina’s ex phoned at 3am, which woke me up. Don’t know why she couldn’t just ignore the call, so it took me a while to get back to sleep. Meant to phone Nain this morning for her birthday, but forgot to set my alarm. Left her a message instead. Worked for a whole 15 minutes today! Paulina and Jeff were about to go to Taupo as I finished, so I changed quickly and joined them. We joked that we should’ve just got a bus from National Park, because we saw loads of people from the village in Taupo. We had lunch in a Japanese cafe, then split up. I chatted to Amanda for a while before she went to the cinema, and I went to an internet cafe. Spent an hour in there, then met up with Paulina and Jeff again. I drove back – lots of fun in the fog! Straightened my hair and watched some TV before running to Schnapps in the rain at 5.30pm. Lots more people for the quiz this week: there were 12 teams and I gave away loads of spot prizes. The first round was tag lines from films, where they were given the tagline and had to guess the film. The tag line from City Slickers was there: “Yesterday they were businessmen. Today they’re cowboys. Tomorrow they’ll be walking funny.” One team – The Fuckin’ Nihilists – put Brokeback Mountain, and the whole place erupted with laughter when I read that out. After the quiz, I had my dinner and staff drink, and joined Ray, Nick, Paulina and Anna. Walked home with Anna and Radka.

Wednesday. Woke up at 4am and couldn’t get back to sleep. Got out of bed around 6.45am, got a coffee and phoned Nain at 7am. Chatted for half an hour, then had breakfast and watched world youth athletics until it was time to start work. Both of us should’ve been working today but it was quiet, so it was just me, and it only took a couple of hours. Spent the rest of the day going through the US stuff I got off the internet in Taupo, and doing puzzles. Went into Schnapps at 4pm. There was a strange lady in, who shared a bit too much. Told us she was on a date with a guy, but wasn’t that attracted to him, and wasn’t into casual sex. We later found out she’d apparently escaped from a mental home! It was a really quiet night otherwise, so we closed up at 9.30pm, then headed down to Basekamp where they were celebrating Swiss Day. Aside from the music – which reminded me of Eurovision – it was a fun night.

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

Friday 13th – Thursday 19th July

Friday. Phoned Dad at 8am and caught him before he was going to the pub. Got the feeling I was being hurried off the phone! Went for breakfast in Schnapps around 11am. Had pancakes with berries. Yum. Had a very pleasant few hours reading and chatting to the staff. Went back at 6pm to work. It was a bad night: slow, bad service. Home by 2am.

Saturday. Stayed in the apartment all day, and don’t really remember too much about it. Went into Schnapps at 5pm. Incredibly busy night: All Blacks v South Africa Tri-Nations game. We did about 240 meals in less than three hours. Me and Amanda got the point where we were just calling out numbers when we were carrying food, and hoping someone would answer! Finished around 1.30am.

Sunday. Worked until 2pm, and it went quite quickly. Went up to the ski field with Paulina so she could get her season pass. She managed to lock her keys in the car when we got there. Luckily, a guy in the next car had a key which fitted into the lock of the boot, and I crawled through. Also got a coffee and muffin in the lower mountain cafe, before heading back to the village. We went for a spa, then I did my laundry and showered. Watched some of Chronicles of Narnia and CSI.

Monday. Worked until 1pm. The Dutch girl who was living in the staff room I had in March and April moved out today, so me and Paulina moved our stuff across, and our food to the communal kitchen. It’s kinda cramped, but it’s only for three weeks. Showered, straightened my hair, had supper, and watched Sahara. Went to Basekamp for cocktail training at 10.30pm. It was good fun: quite a few of us turned up, Ange and Clare gave us a bit of info, and then we all had the chance to make a couple. Me, Ray, Ashleigh and Mike ended up staying there until 3am drinking.

Tuesday. Went on the internet before work. Cameron emailed to say the army have cancelled his leave. Arseholes. Worked until 12.45pm, had some lunch, and then had to re-think the US stuff. Luckily I hadn’t started booking stuff. Went into Schnapps at 5.30pm for the quiz. Only 8 teams this week: much easier to look after! Chatted to Spud for a little while afterwards. $700 went missing from his office. Probably staff. Not good.

Wednesday. Worked until 1.15pm. Spent the afternoon in the lodge: not worked many hours there this week, so can’t afford to spend much. Went into Schnapps at 6pm. Me, Sarka (Czech) and Silvana (Argentinian). I was given training sheets for both of them, and decided it was easiest to try to do both at the same time, rather than repeat myself. Finished work around 11.15pm.

Thursday. Paulina didn’t come home last night. She stayed at Jeff’s house (works in Schnapps). Just about everyone knew by the end of the day, which was a source of great amusement, even though it was perfectly innocent! Worked until 1pm, had lunch, went on the internet, and read. Went into Schnapps at 6pm. Loads of staff on because we had a DJ playing later, so I was doling at jobs for everyone. Also trying to show new guy Elliot around. Ange decided I was in charge of tabs, corrections and refunds, and essentially overseeing everything. More responsibility! Wasn’t a busy night though. We had fun dancing, and I got to finish around midnight. Roger (works in the kitchen) told me I was the hardest working front of house staff.

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.

New Zealand Round the World 2007

Friday 6th July – Thursday 12th July

Friday. Very tired. Got dressed with my eyes closed. Worked 9am-2.15pm. Had lunch and read, then got ready for work. The adventures of Kurt continue: we’re struggling to find anyone who can work with him. So Jo sent him home around 9.30pm, then she left around 10.30pm, and I closed up with Ange around 12.30am. Had a few drinks with Ange, Ray, Spud and Spud’s mate. And Speights the dog too, who nutted me four times. And Spud and Ray had great fun throwing ice cubes at me for her to find!

Saturday. Thought I’d have to work today, only to go to reception and Cy to greet me with a confused look and Jodi stood next to him. So instead I spent my day reading and trying to sort out US stuff. Good thing too, cuz I realised I’d have to start booking things! Went into Schnapps at 5pm. We were really busy: 170 meals in four hours. I felt so guilty every time I took an order! They did OK in the kitchen though. Some of the new staff still found time to stand around, which pissed me off. We only do bar snacks after 9pm, which includes chips, wedges and nachos, and I had fun cooking them. Finished around 1.30am, got a hot chocolate and walked home.

Sunday. Three of cleaning today. I was the lucky one who got to start at 10am, and just vacuum, mop and make beds. Finished around 3pm. Paulina went to Auckland almost straight after. I did my laundry and went on the internet. Watched CSI and Hitch, and generally enjoyed having the apartment to myself for the whole evening.

Monday. The length of time between getting out of bed and starting work is getting shorter by the day. Down to about four minutes now. Finished by 2pm. Had some lunch then went on the internet to check my bank balance: $1100 – almost doubled in a week! Went into Schnapps at 6pm, and we were hectic. Too many people wanted feeding and there just weren’t enough staff! I closed up around 12.30am, but had a couple of drinks with with Ray and Jeff, so didn’t leave until around 2am.

Tuesday. Still at four minutes. No-one had left the motels though, so I came back to the apartment until 9.45am. Very angry day: with the vacuum, the foldaway cot, the cleaning rags, everything. Finished by 2.45pm, had some lunch and read. Almost finished the second Ian Rankin book. Went into Schnapps around 5.30pm to get ready for the quiz. I was hosting this week because Spud wasn’t there. Couldn’t find the mic, but luckily Cy had one at Plateau so he fetched that for me. I wasn’t funny like Spud, but at least people understood me. One guy also called me “The Voice” and made some reference to the local radio station. Walked back around 10.15pm, and sat with Cy and Paulina before going to bed and finishing the second Ian Rankin book.

Wednesday. Walked to reception at 9am, but the bad weather means the ski fields are closed so no-one is in a rush. So we hung out in the apartment until 10am. I did the lodge and got very angry because people were hanging around, and it was filthy. Finished by 3pm. Had lunch, did some puzzles and got ready for work. Went into Schnapps at 6pm. Tonight I was training Amanda. We started on the bar so I put Daisy on food with Sarah, not realising Daisy had never done any waiting on or restaurant work before. It got a bit much for Chef, so I took over on food and left Amanda and Daisy on the bar after Sarah had finished. Had a monster of a staff meal because I had all the leftover wedges. Ange signed me off at 11.15pm so I wasn’t closing up. Started the third and final Ian Rankin book before bed.

Thursday. In reception by 9am, only to come straight back, and then for Cy to phone me at 9.45am – from 100 yards away – to ask me start because we had people ready to check in. Finished by 1.15pm, so me and Paulina had some lunch then drove to Ohakune in her car that she picked up in Auckland. Interesting drive considering she has little regard for rules of the road and knows almost zero about driving a manual! I’m amazed she got from Auckland to National Park by herself! So I tried to teach her a bit about changing gears for bends and hills, and not coasting. Once in Ohakune, we went to Utopia cafe for coffee and cake, then to a ski shop with crazy staff. Then to another ski shop where Paulina bought some trousers, then to another cafe. I got to drive home which was ace! I miss driving so much! I thought I would’ve forgotten loads since January but it all seemed to come quite naturally. Not that I did any parallel parking or anything! And I did misjudge overtaking a big lorry: nothing dangerous, just didn’t accelerate as fast as I thought! We had a really nice afternoon out. Once back in the lodge, I went on the internet for an hour and we watched Take the Lead.

Music New Zealand Round the World 2007

dDub

Struggled out of bed, but got to reception by 9am, and worked until nearly 3pm. Mostly OK but one family were shocking: two went up to the ski field and left the others in the motel. They were supposed to check out at 10am: we kicked them out at 11.15am, and the two arrived back around noon. Then they went back into the motel (after I’d cleaned it) and used the toilet. And they left the place in a state too.

Spent the rest of the afternoon having lunch, reading and getting ready for work.

Horrible weather tonight: I got quite wet on the walk to Schnapps. So it was the dDub gig tonight. They’re a Kiwi dub band. They’re really good, but National Park is their biggest gig in NZ, even though they play in Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Queenstown. So we were prepared for it to be really busy, and I was in charge of the shots bar (all named after songs of dDub). From 6.30pm to 9pm I was taking food orders, making coffees and setting up my bar, and after 9pm I was serving shots and Corona. Only most people didn’t know I was there so I wasn’t that busy. Still got four drinks bought for me, and one guy insisting on dancing with me.

It was quite a good night, and we finished around 2am. Spud demanded our company in the back bar with the band, and I got to make them shots too!

But dDub are apparently cursed whenever they play in Schnapps. Last year, the snow was so bad that half the people with tickets couldn’t make it to the gig, and the band almost didn’t make it. This year they brought a thunderstorm, and a power failure, and at around 3am, Derek (the lead singer) got a phone call to say his Dad had died. He was ill and they’d visited him on the way down, but still upsetting obviously. So it all went a bit sombre. Then Spud and I stayed in the bar talking until around 4am when I decided it really was time to go home.

New Zealand Round the World 2007

Friday 29th June – Wednesday 4th July

Friday. I thought Paulina would work today since I did yesterday, so I left my alarm off. 10.10am Cy comes in because Paulina hasn’t got up either. Cy chose me to work. Hmph. So worked 10.15am-3pm. Had lunch/tea. Got ready and went to Schnapps at 6pm. I was on food with new girl Steph, and Terrilee and Sarah were on the bar. Not hugely busy, but enough to keep us occupied. I also taught Sarah how to make coffees. Finished at 2am.

Saturday. Definitely not working today. Managed to stay in bed until 10.30am. Showered and washed my hair. Wanted to go to Schnapps for breakfast, but it was raining so much that I didn’t want to leave the apartment. Read for a bit, then went to the shop when it stopped raining. Went to work in Schnapps at 5pm. It was busy but there were loads of us working. A huge crowd walked in at 9.30pm for the rugby. We ran out of handled glasses (what we use for beer), and you could barely move for people. Kicked everyone out and signed off by 2am. I got a pay rise to $13ph at Schnapps today, which was nice.

Sunday. We were supposed to start at 9am today but no-one told me and Paulina slept in, so we started at 9.30am. I was doing the lodge. Most of it was OK, but the kitchen and dining area looked like a pigsty. It shocks me that people can treat a place that way. Finished by 3pm. Laundry. Puzzles. Internet. CSI.

Monday. Had the day off so didn’t get out of bed until 11am, and then had a generally lazy day. Tidied, exercised, read, stuff like that. Went to Schnapps at 6pm and worked until 12. Mostly uneventful, but I did have to show Daisy the ropes because it was her first shift. Think it went better than with Kurt. Ray made a comment about me being “so damned efficient”, which was kind of a joke, but still nice to hear!

Tuesday. I was ready to start at 9am, but no-one had checked out so we had to wait until 10am. I was on motels, and training the new girl Jodi. Not too sure about all this authority and responsibility! Finished by 2pm, then had lunch, read, and exercised. Went into Schnapps at 6pm to co-host the quiz. Spud was right – it is more fun if you drink at the same time! Unfortunately, after the quiz, I carried on drinking, and don’t remember leaving or getting home!

Wednesday. Woke up and found that Dad had sent me a text yesterday, so replied to him. Started work at 9am, and finished by 2.30pm. Motels again. Had lunch and listened to music before getting ready for work. Which was crap. Me, Daisy and Kurt. He may as well not have been there. And he actually tried telling me what to do. He really does my head in. Ashleigh asked me if it honestly was good to be back. I told her that, although I miss home a lot, I was happy to back at Schnapps, and it made being away from home easier.

New Zealand Round the World 2007

Tuesday 19th – Thursday 28th

Tuesday 19th. Day off. Went grocery shopping. Went on the internet. Exercised. Watched TV. Did some puzzles. Showered and washed my hair. Cy came in and asked if we wanted to go to the pub quiz at Schnapps. I put my clothes on over my PJs and off we went. We came third which I was quite happy with. Got back to the lodge and I watched House and Boston Legal. Then Cy asked if we wanted to go to a spa party at Rick’s house. This time I had to get out of my PJs completely, and change into my bikini under my clothes. Got back around 2am.

Wednesday 20th. Day off. Went to Taupo with Cy and Paulina. He had stuff to do, so me and Paulina wandered around town. I bought a pair of slippers and three more Ian Rankin books. Cy bought us lunch. Back at the lodge by 7pm. Watched CSI and ER.

Thursday 21st. Day off cuz there’s no-one here! Spent the morning trying to remember my Welsh: we want to have a three-way conversation with Cy speaking French, Paulina speaking Spanish and me speaking Welsh, but all of us understanding one another! Started reading one of my new books, then we made pancakes for lunch. Spent the afternoon watching Amelie, then exercised for a while. We went for a spa around 8pm, which made the outside temperature bearable: we could probably have walked back to the room just in our bikinis!

Friday 22nd. Still no-one here, so no work again. Ange came by while I was lounging around: she needs me to work tomorrow night. Exercised and chatted to Paulina. Sorted through financial stuff. Not sure if I’ll be able to afford to ski: got to earn about $400 per week for the next 7 weeks. Spent the evening reading and listening to music.

Saturday 23rd. Worked 10am-2.15pm. Had some lunch, straightened my hair, and read until it was time for work. Worked from 5pm to 3am. I did almost as many hours today as I did in the whole of last week! My legs were tired but otherwise I was OK. Read a bit before going to bed: too many coffees in work!

Sunday 24th. Paulina had already finished cleaning by the time I got out of bed at noon. Had a late breakfast and watched some TV – One Tree Hill. Did a few puzzles, made another batch of pancakes, and watched some more TV.

Monday 25th. Day off, again. Cy took a photo of me while I was still in bed! Watched the UK news on Sky News – Gordon Brown’s speech. Went to the shop for groceries. Spent the afternoon making bread, reading, doing crosswords, and watching some TV. The bread turned out well for my first ever attempt. Went to Schnapps at 6pm, and finished at 9.30pm.

Tuesday 26th. Worked 10am-2.30pm. Then Terrilee (in Schnapps) called: she was ill and could I come in and cover her shift from 3pm to 6pm. So I changed and off I went. It was quite a novelty being there in the afternoon! I had my staff meal at 6pm and was ready to finish and join my quiz team, when hoards of people walked in. We ended up with about 16 teams, plus other drinkers and diners, and I had to just run over to my team whenever I knew an answer. I finished around 10.30pm, but honestly I’m just glad to be getting the work.

Wednesday 27th. Day off again, and in the interest of saving money, I stayed in. Made more bread, but didn’t allow enough time for it to rise, so it turned out really stodgy. Finished the first of my Ian Rankin books, which made me a little late for Schnapps. I had the misfortune of “training” Kurt. Unfortunately he only seemed to appear when I was busy doing something else, which stressed me out. I think I also misunderstood how little he knew before I arrived. I think he started to pick stuff up once we had time to talk and go through stuff, but he still spent a fair while leaning on the bar and doing Spud’s head in. I signed him off at 10.30pm and I stayed until midnight. Kyla came in too – first time I’ve seen her since I got back.

Thursday 28th. Worked 10am-1.30pm. Not much to do but I gave the bathrooms a really good clean. Went on the internet for an hour – emails from Mum, Nain and Freddy, but didn’t have time to reply. Joined Cy, Stacy (his girlfriend), and Brett (his dad) for Brett’s 53rd birthday celebrations.

New Zealand Round the World 2007

Sunday 10th – Monday 18th

Sunday. First day back at work at the lodge. Had lunch and watched some TV. As part of my new healthy routine, I did some exercise later. Did laundry. Went on the internet. Went to Michelle’s birthday party. It was fancy dress but I didn’t have anything, so I was given a plastic pirate’s hat when I arrived.

Monday. I slept in! Too much to drink last night apparently. I wouldn’t mind, except that I only had four drinks! Luckily it didn’t matter too much because we’re not that busy. Spent that afternoon sorting through all the stuff I left here over May. Gonna have a big parcel to send home! Had supper, watched TV, exercised.

Tuesday. Worked a couple of hours, then went for a walk to Taranaki Lookout because it was a gorgeous day. Couldn’t see Taranaki when I got there though, because there was a big cloud covering it. Had lunch, watched TV, exercised, supper, more TV. And texted Mum.

Wednesday. Work. Lunch. Internet. Nesta emailed and Charlotte sent me a Facebook message. Exercise. TV. Supper. Straightened my hair. Read the newspaper. TV.

Thursday. Work. The new girl Paulina arrived today. She’s from Chile, she’s 27, really friendly, and really looking forward to skiing. Exercised. Went to the shop with Paulina. Watched TV. Went to a beach party at The Station Cafe. I wore my sarong over my jeans, my bikini top, a halter-top, sunglasses, and my shell earrings. Lost my sarong. Not that it matters – I think that was the first time I’ve worn it in five years!

Friday. Work. Lunch. Did some puzzles. Watched TV. Generally vegged out!

Saturday. Work. Lunch. Watched the news: bad floods in the UK I see. Mardi Gras in Ohakune tonight. Cy and Rick were running a shuttle bus service to and from, and I was manning the phone from 5pm to 10pm. Didn’t have many calls to answer, but got paid $50 for my time. Got a text from Mum reminding me about Father’s Day tomorrow.

Sunday. Paulina’s first day of work. But too much for one person, so she learnt how to clean the motels, and I did the lodge. Lunch. Checked emails using a card that had a few minutes left on it. Watched TV. Did laundry. Tried phoning Dad but no reply, so texted him instead.

Monday. Work. Lunch. Did some puzzles. Went on the Taranaki Lookout walk with Paulina. Had a quick snack and did some more puzzles. Got Tuesday and Wednesday off, so I’m trying to save jobs for then!

New Zealand Round the World 2007

Friday 8th and Saturday 9th June

Friday.
Had some breakfast and straightened my hair, then me and Cy went to Taupo. I got some more food and Cy had some stuff to do. Then we got a Subway for lunch and came back. Spent the rest of the afternoon/evening watching TV and reading.

Saturday.
Spent the day watching TV and reading John Pilger. Went to Schnapps in the evening which was packed because of the rugby (NZ v France). Ange doesn’t need me to work for a couple of weeks yet. And it was Ashleigh’s 21st. Came back around 8.30pm and spent the evening watching TV.

New Zealand Round the World 2007

Back to National Park

Had breakfast in the hostel then walked across the road to the train/coach station. I spent the journey listening to music. Cy called to check I was coming back today.

I got into National Park by 3pm, and Cy picked me up from the coach stop. I’m now living in Motel 6 with Cy and another cleaner when she arrives.

I spent the afternoon/evening unpacking, watching TV, showering and washing my hair.

New Zealand Round the World 2007

National Park to Wellington

Last-minute stuff to do first: wash clothes, finish packing, etc. Had quite a bit of time to myself too, so read yet more LOTR and had lunch. Then went over to Schnapps for a coffee and chatted to Ashleigh for a while. Came back and said ‘bye’ to Cy, then walked to bus stop at 2.15pm. Bus arrived at 2.45pm and I was on my way.

Mostly uneventful bus journey – I slept or listened to my Zen or read. Passed through lots of V-shaped, non-glaciated valleys with interlocking spurs (I knew Geography would come in useful some time!). And sheep clinging to precipitous slopes. And roads winding around the valleys and mountains: no straight lines here – Romans didn’t get that far!

Got into Wellington at 8.30pm. I was very happy to see all the twinkly lights of the city. I got a taxi from the station to my hostel at The Cambridge Hotel. I phoned Steelo’s uncle, Roger, and he met me in the bar ten minutes later, singing ‘Land of my Fathers’ like he promised! We went for a walk to the waterfront and he pointed out various landmarks to me, then we went to his offices (he’s a publisher), where he gave me a book, “New Zealand for Free”, we had some wine, and he called his son, Ben, and a guy who works for him, Matthew, saying I would be in touch with them too.

New Zealand Round the World 2007

Wednesday 2nd May – Sunday 6th May


Wednesday. Lazy day off – slept in until 10am, surfaced around noon, watched Patriot Games and had lunch. Sat with Freddy and watched the rain pour down (and boy, did it pour). She left at 2.15pm, to catch the bus to Wellington and then move on to the South Island. We are hoping to catch up in Christchurch at the beginning of June, and hopefully go to see Pirates of the Caribbean 3. Went to work in the evening, but not much to do so I signed off at 7.30pm, and instead spent my evening watching CSI:NY, ER and Kept.

Thursday. Didn’t have to clean in the lodge at all today since I’m the only one there, so I started on the last two motel units that have been upgraded. Worked until about 2.30pm, and spent the afternoon reading LOTR. There was a crowd in from the mountain in Schnapps, getting merry. Spud kicked them out around 10pm. Later found out that they drove (bad enough in itself) and one was car surfing and fell off! To make matters worse, no-one in the car realised she’d fallen off, and she was found by someone else later!

Friday. I took a whole hour for lunch today, and I was still finished cleaning by 1.30pm. So I read lots of LOTR today! Chatted to Ange and Zeus in the afternoon. Ange hasn’t been in work for ages cuz she’s had pneumonia. Recovered now though, and back to work next week. Not many customers in Schnapps, so plenty of cleaning jobs getting done. I finished last, around 11pm, and stuck around for cake. Chatted to Spud’s mate Steelo for a while. He thinks I’m brave for travelling alone, and reckons I would’ve hated Camp America. And he called his uncle in Wellington who I’m going to now meet next week. Jonny and Tony had a game of pool and I was the prize. A step up from the game previous, where the loser got a shot of Chartreuse.

Saturday. A whole half hour of work today. One en-suite room, who literally slept and showered, and used no other facilities. I spent the rest of the morning watching Enemy of the State, then had lunch, packed my rucksack, and read LOTR. New cleaner arrived today – Taiwanese girl. Very neat and very quiet. Not working tonight, so watched some rubbish high-school basketball film, where basketball is all the kids have keeping them off the streets and out of gangs (cliched, sentimental rubbish). Luckily, Star Wars Episode 3 was on after that. Yummy Hayden Christensen. Mmmm.

Sunday. Last day of work – hurray! Did a few hours too, but was finished by lunchtime, so ate and watched Sideways. Only worked until 8.15pm in the evening, but had a few drinks with Spud, Kyla, Craig and Becky.