Saturday, December 3, 2011

Self-inflicted struggle street: NZ Day 3

I think I must have woken up at about 9:30am.  The sun was blasting in the window of our gaol cell room, and I didn't feel great.  I was still fully clothed from the afternoon before, including shoes, polar fleece and compression pants.  I was sweating a sickly sweat and felt very pasty.  I had gone to sleep with my keys, wallet, phone and camera in my pockets, and tools and gear all over my bed, so I was covered in bruises.  I got out of bed and looked at Jer in the top bunk, he was totally out of it.  I grabbed a bidon, shuffled out to the coffee shop and got a coffee, then shuffled to the front garden to get some fresh air and wake up a bit.  Thinking about it, I hadn't been all that outrageous the night before - I'd gotten eight hours sleep and only had five beers and three shots, but being such a lightweight I just couldn't handle it.  I felt more vague than ill, and strangely depressed.  I remembered that feeling from when I used to drink back in the day - for some reason the day after I have even a couple of drinks I used to feel really down and out, and that was part of the reason I gave it up entirely.  Still, it had been good to have a bit of a blowout the night before, and I resolved to drink an electrolyte drink, have a shower, then walk around town to see what I could find.

After drinking my drink, I walked back into our room to grab my gear for a shower.  It smelt feral and was a disgusting mess, and still Jer was fast asleep amongst it all.  I headed up the showers.  The showers had been much spruced up since the building was a prison, but the same basic plumbing remained.  Basically, water in each cubicle drained into a small channel cut into the floor, which ran through all the cubicles before draining out at the end of the room.  I felt fine walking into the shower, but for some reason as soon as the water hit me, I started to feel suddenly and extremely wretched.  With great gusto and force I projectile vomited my coffee and electrolyte drink, trying to get as much of it as I could into the little drain cut into the floor.  The stuff just kept coming out, with the bright green coffee and bile smelling liquid flowing through the little open drain in the stark white floor, past all the other men showering, before eventually draining out.  It probably didn't make the other people having a shower that day feel too great, but I certainly felt back on top after getting rid of it all.

After cleansing my body inside and out in the shower, I walked down to the Burger King about fifty metres away to fill up on greasy food.  I bumped into Myles again at the hostel, he was bright as a button after the night before, and we walked off into Christchurch city centre.  Myles had told us that a new shopping area had opened up only the day before, and it was the place to be.  It wasn't too hard to find, there were hoards of people walking in that direction, and the place certainly was jumping.

In the heart of the destroyed city centre, a new shopping precinct had just opened - in shipping containers!

Coffee shops, boutiques, it was all pretty cool and exciting to see

This was all great, but I was still feeling a bit fragile and have to admit the crowds were freaking me out a little bit

Just over the fence from all the hustle and bustle, the broken glass and twisted metal of the city loomed

Walking back towards the hostel, Myles mentioned a girl at the bar had invited him to a Halloween party that night, and he needed a costume.  I suggested he go to "The Warehouse", which is kind of like K-mart or Target, so we wandered to a shopping centre to find something.  Much hilarity ensued, as he tossed up between either a French maid outfit or a naughty Mrs Santa outfit.  In the end Mrs Santa won the day, and Myles announced he might head back to the same bar as the night before for a few more beers, at about 1:00pm in the afternoon.  There was no way I was joining him in this endeavour, so I politely declined and kept walking back to the hostel.  The last time I saw him he was jauntily walking into the bar - it's a shame we never got his email address or anything, he was a funny guy.

In New Zealand, a trolley is called a "trundler".  This amused me greatly

I say I was feeling better, but the reality was I still had to wear sunglasses indoors

Sleeping beauty
Back at our room, little had changed.  It still smelled like drunk cyclists, there was still clothes and tools and bikes and crap everywhere - the only difference was now Jer was lying the other way in bed, still asleep.  He later told me the sun was too bright, but he didn't think to close the curtains and that just flipping the other way in bed seemed the logical option.  I went back out into the hallway, made a cup of tea and walked about taking photos of the building for an hour or so.

This really was an incredible restoration of an old derelict building into something useful

Historical displays and artefacts all over gave the place the air of staying in a museum, which had the added bonus effect of making guests go about their business quietly

We were due to head out onto the road proper in the morning, I was concerned by the cloud and wind increasing as the day progressed

Back on track
I went back to the room of stench, opened the window and had a siesta for about an hour.  I awoke from this feeling much better, physically and mentally.  I remembered that I was actually here for a big bike ride, a fact I had somehow forgotten in all my hungover moping.  I set a simple plan for the remainder of the day to shower, make some dinner, have a cup of tea and pack my panniers for leaving tomorrow.  Having a plan and being back on track made me feel a lot better, and I had a real sense of excitement growing at the prospect of getting out on the road, into the unknown.

I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth when Jer walked in, having eventually surfaced after having spent the whole day sick in bed.  He grimaced silently at me, then walked into a shower cubicle and closed the door.  A second later I heard him shout "ah FUCK!", I asked him what was wrong - he had dropped his new toothbrush in the drain, the very same one I had thrown up in earlier in the day.

I went to bed early, pretty much as soon as it got dark.  I was in a state of complete contrast to when I first got up, and I was refreshed, excited and feeling positive.  I considered the prequel of this tour to be over, and the real adventure was about to begin.

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