The Big Trip – Day 6

Mostly listening to: the beatles, bloc party
Sleeping on/in: karry mat, okarita campsite. West coast.
Coffees: 3 and a bit (one was really big)
KMs: 1333
Eating: noodles, grapes
Place name of the day: cesspool gorge
Sand fly count: several million, the annoying wee…

Woke by a splash of water in the face. I’m in a closed tent so that comes as a bit of a surprise. It’s also not raining. But the inside of my tent is covered in water.

I remember watching ray mears survival programmes about if you were in the desert and needed to get water then you’d need to stick a sheet of plastic up overnight and collect the condensation. Turns out my tent is doing precisely that. It did only cost 12 quid. I didn’t expect much.

After towelling myself out, and a quick breakfast we headed to the pancake rocks. This is a wee collection of funny shaped rocks on the coast of NZ. Kind of like the giant’s causeway but not as good.

From there to greymouth. An unpleasant town with a twenty-four hour laundromat in a portacabin. The laundromat was the more pleasant of the two experiences.

Ended up near the glaciers half-way down the west coast. Nicely in the middle of nowhere. It’s a campsite with an honesty box as a pay system. There’s a tiny grassy run way for a tiny unstable plane, meters from our tent. There’s millions and millions of sandflys. What did they eat before we arrived? In order to stop the bites i’ve resorted to socks and sandals. I’ve plastered on oodles of this mossie repellant stuff, that makes your skin burn and would make an elephant’s eyes water at 50 paces.

I’m flapping my arms about like i’ve got a nervous tick, trying to kill the darn things. I think it’s (the tick and socks and sandals and the human being repellant cream) scared off the pretty blonde scandanavian girl in the caravan across the way. Ruining the movie-script romance between us that i was inventing in my head. I was even playing sad songs on the guitar earlier to paint the lonely, troubled soul image. Maybe i need a girlfriend. Or better insect repellant.

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February 2007

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