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Saturday, March 15, 2003

Ferry to Picton, Road to Nelson

Before getting on the ferry in Wellington I happened upon this bungies-for-tots device someone had set up. Some of the kids were getting right to the top of the structure (with a little pull and launch help from the adults):

Wellington from the ferry:

Strait Shipping only handled freight until recently when they added car and passenger service. They're still not well known, not even mentioned in Lonely Planet that I recall, but way cheaper if you don't mind the economy ambiance:

Indoors was pretty crowded, and most of the outdoors was windy and cold, but I found one bench along the side that was in the sun and out of the wind, and napped their under my hat for a couple of hours.

Sailing into the south island was perhaps the most spectacular scenery of the whole trip. These pics don't do it justice:

There's a nice house tucked in there, accessible only by boat. Wouldn't that be a neat little retreat:

I didn't spend any time in Picton; drove straight to Nelson instead. Nelson reminded me of San Luis Obisbo, or maybe a bit of Santa Cruz.

The hostel, "Club Nelson", which I picked because it seemed safely away from the center of town, turned out to be a nightmare. My single room, which I naively booked ahead for two nights, was one in a long row of rooms sharing a common poorly constructed front wall. The doors had no door knobs -- just spring latches opened by a key, and closed by slamming the door shut. At the opposite end of the room, a slat window scooped smoke and noise up from the party patio below. Until the wee hours of the morning, I could hear three or four conversations loudly and clearly at any given time, word for word except for the mixing making a murmuring of it. Then every couple of minutes, slam, someone down the hall entered or left their room. I closed my window (who needs air?) but still it sounded like a party was going on in my room. And then there were the cat allergies (yes, another hostel cat)... I scribbled frustrated notes in the dark, tried to sleep...

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com