After a restless night in an uncomfortable bed in a stuffy hot room filled with creaking bunks and too many people (including a loud snorer in the bunk above mine), I got up at first light and encountered an equally sleepless lytteltonwitch in the bathroom. We decided to try and get some internet time while it was quiet, so (after waking MrPloppy for long enough to tell him where we were) we headed for the TV/internet lounge, where we also found the hostel’s bookshelf, mostly full of books in foreign languages. The internet connection turned out to be impossibly slow, so after printing off a few more pre-numbered labels, we set to labelling all the books in the bookshelf:
- Dinosaur Days by Jill Laurimore
- Neue Vahr Süd by Sven Regener
- Sporen in de Sneeuw by Susan Kearney
- Regn by Kirsty Gunn
- True to Form by Elizabeth Berg
- Le Triomphe de la Passion by Nora Roberts
- Abenteuer Polarkreis by Mike Horn
- Escudo by Thomas Gifford
- Kamikaze: Japans Självmordspiloter by Albert Axell and Hideaki Kase
- Relative Sins by Cynthia Victor
- Children of Dune by Frank Herbert
- Mauvais Génie by Marianne Denicourt and Judith Perrignon
- Haikerens Guide Til Galaksen by Douglas Adams
When MrPloppy got up, we decided to ignore the rain and walk up to the information centre, next door to which according to the research I’d done on the internet before leaving Christchurch, there was a cafe that was open for breakfast. The walk was a lot further than we’d expected (Mt Cook may be a small village but it’s very spread out), and the rain was heavier, so by the time we got there we were wet and cold and tired (and limping slightly in my case, with my muscles still stiff from my fall of the previous day), and not at all impressed to find out the cafe was closed. We went into the information centre, where they told us the only place to get breakfast was the Hermitage, and that the forecast was now for heavy rain for the rest of the weekend.
Suddenly the prospect of a weekend spent stuck in a crowded hostel (we’d discovered last night that the lounge areas were nowhere near big enough for the number of people staying there) full of wet, bored people, with the rain too heavy to go for any decent walks (which is really the only thing to do at Mt Cook) and our only options for eating being the expensive Hermitage or driving all the way down to Twizel, was not looking quite so tempting. We decided to have breakfast before we made any rash decisions, so lytteltonwitch bravely volunteered to trek back through the rain to get her car (and some more books :-)), leaving me and MrPloppy to explore the wonders of the information centre (the highlights were a possum on a stick and a display about when the top fell off Mt Cook, with before, during, and after photos, the “during” photo of which had (because of course nobody happened to be standing around watching the mountain when the landslide happened) been photoshopped in a highly convincing way (not!) by pasting a picture of an avalanche on the top of the before photo :-)).
Lytteltonwitch came back and we went up to the Hermitage, and found the cheapest of their three restaurants (they still charged us $9 each for tea and toast, though!!! And it was self-service with tea out of a machine!!!) to have breakfast and discuss our plans. We considered just giving up and heading back to Christchurch, but it seemed such a waste of a long weekend. So I suggested that, as we were already half way to Central Otago, we just carry on over the Lindis to Alexandra. I rang Mum, but they were away for the weekend, so I tried Dad instead, and we made arrangements to stay the night in Omakau.
So we dropped off a few more books at the OBCZ (we didn’t buy a drink this time – quite apart from the fact that it was still early in the morning, we decided the Hermitage had already had more than enough of our money!):
- Kiwi Dads: A Celebration of NZ Heroes by Jo Malcolm
- Where There’s Smoke by Sandra Brown
- The Last Key by Beverly Sommers
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Snake Charmers in Texas by Clive James
- Falling For You by Jill Mansell
- Love in Black and White by Robert James Waller
- Whisper From the Gods by Jennifer Bacia
- The Hawthorn Goddess by Glyn Hughes
- Serenity House by Christopher Hope
then picked up the rest of our gear from the YHA (and discovered we were 20 minutes too late to get a refund on our booking for the second night, but by that time we were so sick of the place we just wanted to get away, so didn’t bother to argue), and got on the road, stopping off at Omarama for a more substantial (and much cheaper!) second breakfast (and to release a few more books: A Quiche Before Dying by Jill Churchill and Something’s Cooking by Joanne Pence).
Dad was out when we got to Omakau, but he’d told me where to find the spare key, so we let ourselves in and spent the rest of the day enjoying the luxuries of warm showers, a comfortable lounge to relax in, proper internet, and most of all, peace and quiet! Oh, and a very nice roast dinner when Dad and Stepmother got home 🙂