So Much for Planning

OK, I know what you’re thinking: “Three posts in 12 hours! Jess is so on top of things! Such dedication! Such organization! Did she hit her head on a stalactite in those glowworm caves or something?” Let me assure you that none of this is true and I’m still the same old Jess. It’s just that, for the next 1 hour, 36 minutes, and 35 seconds, I’m the same old Jess with unlimited wi-fi access and a drizzly, dreary view of Tongariro National Park outside my window.

As you may remember from my last post, I arrived in Tongariro National Park yesterday with the intention of going for New Zealand’s greatest one-day hike. After getting to the base of the mountain, I quickly realized I had no desire to spend seven hours scrambling uphill on loose gravel in the rain only to be rewarded with stunning views of fog six inches from my face. So I had the shuttle driver take me back to my hostel, booked another night in my room, and decided to try for the hike again this morning. As I mentioned before, this hike is entirely dependent upon the weather. Basically, when you awake at 7:15 in morning ready to take on the mountain, you want to see anything but  this on the other side of your shutters:

To jog your memory, when you wake up to go on this hike, you’re hoping for weather that will yield views like this.

Needless to say, I’m currently in my hostel’s cafe using up the last of the 24 hours of wifi I purchased yesterday and sipping green tea. To put it mildly, it’s a bummer that I won’t be able to do the Crossing at this point on my trip. But hopefully one day over the course of the next year, I’ll be back in the area and the air will be clear and the emerald lakes, they’ll be shining. For now, I have to move on. So tomorrow, it’s off to Wellington.

I’ve been looking forward to Wellington for quite some time. It’s much smaller than Auckland and further south and so, in a piece of logic difficult for my north-of-the-equator mind to remember sometimes, much colder. It’s the last big city before the Cook Strait, which separates New Zealand’s north island from its south island. I’ve also heard it compared to San Francisco — it’s got that whole artsy, cultural, heavily caffeinated scene that really appeals to me.

And, this weekend, it’s also got something called Sevens. This is apparently some sort of international rugby tournament popular enough that there is not a single hostel room to be found in Wellington this Saturday night. Luckily, the bus company I’m traveling with guarantees your accommodation for the night of your arrival, so by heading down there tomorrow I’ll actually get to take one of the beds they’ve set aside at their go-to hostel. Sunday and Monday I’ve found a room at a different hostel and will be exploring the city, trying to get a feel for whether or not I’d like to return in a month or so to actually look for a job and an apartment. Oh, and I’ll probably also be hanging out at local bars trying to get an explanation of what’s going on on the TV screens. I am picturing it like World Cup week in New York but with more belligerence and blood.

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