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Sunday, March 16, 2003

Over the Hills to Takaka

So, this morning I bailed on Club Nelson. They gave me a refund for the second night without issue, and I hopped on the road to Takaka. I'll give Nelson another look on the way back.

Unfortunately, the Auto Association was closed today, so still no maps of the south island (I meant to pick them up in Wellington but forgot). Eh, it's an island, how lost can I get?

From Nelson, the road to Takaka winds up and over the mountains behind Abel Tasman national park.

I picked up a hitchhiker on the way down the hill, a local fellow who'd been tramping in the forest for a few weeks. He gave me the verbal tour of Takaka as we drove into town, and decided to join me for lunch as well. Between the car and the cafe we ran into a friend of his, and the three of us had lunch at the Wholemeal cafe. (For some reason I failed to include their photo in my pre-sorting, but here's the cafe itself):

Takaka is a tiny little one-street town, strikingly similar in character to Makawao (or a less sporty Paia) in Maui. Health food and spiritualism are the town's themes, and despite being such a tiny town it has at least three decent restaurants -- The Big Fat Moon (which is actually a tiny restaurant), serving Indonesian fare, the Wholemeal Cafe, serving all sorts of stuff often including yummy curries in the evenings, and some other hoity toity sounding restaurant that I didn't actually try but sounded like it would be good if one wanted to spend a little more. :) There is also a scattering of other cafes and takeaways with smaller menus, some of which also proved to be decent.

Paul's friend gave him a ride home (she was, I gathered, not just friend but also housemate) and I headed north about 12km to the gravel road leading to the Shambala hostel:

Here's my room and private mini-deck. Hard to tell here, but I think there was a peek of the ocean in the background:

The beach was a short walk away...

A crooked self portrait:

Looking back...

I walked a couple kilometers back down the gravel road to the Muscle Inn for dinner, ordered the fish which proved delish. Eric and Jaime, who I'd met briefly at the hostel, were here as well and I joined them later for desert and spectator scrabble. On the way out, I dragged them aside to show them the glow worms I found on the way there (the big sign that said Glow Worm Trail helped a little):

Their car was stuffed full, so I stood on the rear bumper and held onto the roof racks for the bouncy ride back. That was a lot of fun, actually--much like riding a horse. :) (With the roof racks as grips, it was a pretty secure mounting, so we were able to go faster and further than would normally be comfortable standing on a bumper...)

When we got back, the moon was up...

And the other hostelers had started a fire down on the beach:

Shambala was a very Mauitian hostel, with an EA (emotionally aware) atmosphere, hugs all around, that sort of thing. I think I actually spoke with most of the hostelers at one point or another. Big improvement over the typical TV cage, but alas with all the usual Mauitian caveats... (Rationality? Oh, we're so far beyond that...)

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com