It started out all right (I thought). The Motel was very clean and comfortable. I got downtown to the Nelson Saturday morning outdoor market. There were dozens of booths with all sorts of things for sale including crafts, home grown fruits and vegetables and some food booths. I had a blueberry muffin and coffee for breakfast. I picked up a bag of Gala apples (I suspect they were not home grown) to have in the car with me.
Negotiating the roads remains a challenge, but so far I have done no major damage. The trip from Nelson to Westport was on a winding road that made the roads to Hot Springs or Eureka Springs, Arkansas seem like a Kansas Interstate.
Westport was a very simple place that felt like a rural Kansas town. I found one of the two or three places that offered food (at least that I could see) and had a Whitebait Sandwich. It is a tiny fish caught locally with nets. It was cooked in batter forming a fish patty. It was okay, but not very flavorful. I followed that with a good latte from a coffee shop recommended at the i-Site (the information centers are all called i-Sites, part of a national network).
The trip between Westport and Greymouth has to be just about the most beautiful trip on the planet – probably much like the highway (?101) down the coast of California. There were green tree covered mountains on one side of the road and ocean on the other. I tried to get pictures to give something of the feel of it, but they will not even begin to do justice to the sights and sounds.
Greymouth has provided something less than an ideal experience so far. The i-site folks booked a nice motel for me. It has not turned out to be so nice. It is connected to a liquor store, rowdy bar and a restaurant. On the third try I made it to the liquor store clerk to get the key to my room. The sliding glass door has to be left open to let the heat out. I wish now I had chosen the bed and breakfast or homestay even with shared facilities.
The room is, of course, luxurious by comparison to what I will be experiencing in the days to come. I guess it is a matter of expectations and the substantial cost of “nice” facilities. I have been thinking of Mary Ann and feeling some of the grief coming along with me. Location and circumstances do not make that grief go away. It will be with me no matter where I go or what I do.
What is making this day a “not at all good” day is that I just realized that I left the battery charger, the adapter to NZ/AU outlets and a battery in the wall at last night’s motel. I do not even have the name of the motel since the i-Site clerk booked it and the only thing with the name was taken by the motel when I arrived. That stupid move summarily eliminates the ability to take photos after the battery in the camera gives out. The battery charge lasts a day of heavy use, maybe a couple of days if used judiciously. There is one spare battery in the backpack that I hope is still fully charged. That would get me a couple of days.
In the morning, I will try to connect with the i-Site in Nelson in hopes of finding out the name and address/phone of the motel. If I can get that, my hope is that they found and kept the charger. Then, I am hoping I can get them to mail it to the Backpacker place at which I will be staying in Te Anau. It is a long shot, but I have to try. The only other alternative is to order another one and see if I can get it mailed there or to an address in Canberra for the Australian portion of the trip.
There is no way to put into words the frustration and anger at myself for leaving it there this morning. I can do nothing about that stupid trick. While this too is wishful thinking, I hope this is my worst day. I will continue with or without pictures.