Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday Night

Thursday night we went out for Chinese and had a rollicking dinner discussion on the state of gay marriage in US law. Ljuba and I tried hard to muster the will to go out again, but ended up spending the evening in our room. Plans to wake up early were foiled by alarm-related technical difficulties, but we managed to get out of our room on time anyway. In the rush to pack stuff up I mistakenly chugged a glass of soapy water which made my stomach an angry stomach well into the afternoon. The ferry to the South Island was boarding at 9:30.

After a dockside breakfast of croissants which Nada had foraged that morning, Ljuba and I sat in the car while his parents took a stroll. An older Kiwi man struck up a conversation though a passenger-side window, informing us that he was on his way to a deer auction in the South. Turns out he operates a “hunting” reserve, where he releases hand-raised red deer for American tourists to shoot with a gun. We were frequently referred to as “you stupid Yanks”. He was well-intentioned and oblivious, but I wasn’t a fan of this man.

Eventually we made it onto the ferry and departed Wellington. Ljuba and I roamed about the decks for a bit and played computer games in the galley until we reached Picton. We had lunch at Rumba, which was just OK, and took off toward Manukau. Stopping in Nelson, Ljuba bought trunks (togs if you’re Kiwi) and I a singlet which I thought looked like a 20’s beach costume. Stripes!

Buda and Nada dropped us off at the beach and went to find a grocery store, which later turned out to take much longer than expected. The beach was too windy and sandy, so we frolicked on an adjacent playground instead. It was full of deliciously dangerous apparatuses designed to break and maim, and we had a great time.

Dinner in Nelson was at Amigo’s, which is the first Mexican place I’ve seen in the country. It was tasty, but pretty obvious that there wasn’t a single Mexican within 100km. The rice was Spanish, the enchilada was a corny burrito, and the tomato sauce had a distinctly Italian flair. Regardless, it was pretty delicious stuff.

We’re now spending the night at the freakishly immaculate Abbey Court Motel, whose sign bears an image of the Virgin Mary above the phrase “The Divine Stay”. Despite my initial misgivings, the proprietors seem very friendly. This marks the third place where we’ve received apologies for Ljuba and I having to share a double bed instead of sleeping in separate twins.

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