Sunday, April 3, 2011

Greymouth and beyond

When getting rides to Greymouth we’d heard bad things about the town. Not many people were too fond of it and we couldn’t figure out why. I guess because there was nothing to do? Glenn (aka Gimli) was driving south and offered us a ride. He drove us right to the house. This was going to be a different experience, seeing that we were staying with complete strangers that were opening up their house to us. Heidi, the head of the house (and whom we made the most contact) was a wonderful, tranquil spirit. I instantaneously felt comfortable with her. She made us feel right at home and we pitched our tent in the backyard the first night.

That night was also very wet and cold. The days after we stayed in the house in one of her son’s rooms. We fell into a nice routine at the Pace home, roaming around during the day and making dinner at night, everyone eating together. It’s wasn’t as abnormal as one would assume with complete strangers being in their home. I did some gardening for Heidi and Jonathan (the husband) and at night we all played Scrabble. It was like being with the hippy version of the Brady Bunch.

Heidi had two sons, Ethan and David. Ethan was a kayak guide in Abel Tasman and David was home from school since the Christchurch quake (which is where his school resided). They were both so different, Ethan outgoing and David introverted, yet both very respectful and fun. They never seemed to be weirded out by two random girls crashing at their house. We spent some quality time with them, but mostly with David, who was a natural, bleached cutie. One night we went over to a friend of David's house, Morgana, for drinks and games. She lived off of the coastal road in an old sailor's house that overlooked the ocean. That is where we met other fellow travelers Matt and Jamie, the latter of which we had briefly met in Abel Tasman a week prior. A sign we were in the right place or was this island just that small?

We had a hell of a time at the Pace residence and they made us feel as welcome as their own kin. Heidi was truly a comforting woman and the most gorgeous of beings. She exuded light. By this time I realized how lucky we’d been in our travels thus far. The rain had began and we had dry shelter.

One day on a side trip we decided to go to Punakaiki to see the Pancake Rocks. It wasn't too far from Greymouth to hitch, so we went for it. Our first ride was by a cosmetician whom may have been on cocaine or meth. She was a bit nervous and shakey, eventually dropping us in the worst possible spot. It began to rain and a middle-aged man took pity on our pathetic faces and picked us up, noshing on a pink pastry. He was a bellhop at the resort next to our destination. Gold. We had a nice drive there and made our way on a short tramp near the rocks. It was cool and rainy, but we still enjoyed ourselves. Getting a ride back was easier, as three gorgeous Argentines scooped us up and dropped us at our door, yet again. Couldn't complain about the scenery.

When figuring out where we were heading next, we remembered the words of Sonya (the Maui girl in Marlborough). She had previously told us that if we were ever to go near Harhari, on the west coast, we “Must stop there.” We figured we’d see if they were taking WWOOFers. We knew absolutely nothing about this place except that they were into honey and were hunter-gatherers. They didn’t even have a website, just by “word of mouth.” This was intriguing, and when they said “Come on down” we jumped at the chance and left the next day from Greymouth. This was going to be interesting. Greymouth was interesting and very homey, but it was time to move on. I’m glad to have found a family environment in this trip. I will always have a soft spot for the Pace family.

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