As my blog/travel/life partner mentioned in the previous post, we made our way onto the ferry, no sweat! Unfortunately… things went downhill (relatively speaking of course) pretty quickly after that.
The ferry ride ended up being freezing cold and, with all our warm clothes checked below, we were left trying to squeeze in three hours of sleep sitting straight up with our arms inside our shirts. Needless to say, this left the boys a little bit groggy when we arrived to shore; enough so that we made a series of ill advised decisions allowing every car on the ferry to get well out of town before we could put ourselves in a proper position to catch a hitch to Nelson which, was still a couple hours away.
We ended up sitting on the side of the road long enough to go from super cold in the morning to sweltering hot in the afternoon. Combined with extreme lack of sleep, these conditions set the stage for our first fight since the time our friend Nolan and I didn’t wait for Rob to go to Dairy Queen about six months ago (the great DQ fiasco of 2012). Anyone that has ever lived with me (Brick Hau5 especially) knows that, when I’m really tired, I stop being a real person and start “doing things that serve no purpose”.
In this particular instance, this meant sitting against a fence, half asleep, heckling Rob while he stood on the side of the road with his thumb up. Apparently he had enough of me hollering, “Come on! Take a little pride in your craft and put a some wiggle in it!!!!” because he eventually snapped. Spoiler Alert: when you’re traveling around the world with one other person, your fights don’t last that long. #stillbestfriends.
We eventually caught a couple of uneventful hitches before getting dropped in a very small town about 150 km outside of Nelson. Although the town is apparently famous for their mussels, waiting for two more hours on the side of the road in the scorching hot sun did not leave either of us with the fondest memories.
With the initial buzz of hitching finally wearing thin and exhaustion/heat/hunger kicking in, we were beginning to lose hope when finally, a 17 year old kid named Tim pulled over and was on his way home to Nelson. He said he was getting a little lonely driving and was actually looking for some hitchers to keep him company. This sounded a little strange, but we were so pumped to not have to stand on the side of the road anymore we didn’t immediately see this as a red flag.
Driving away, the first thing young Tim said to us was, “my driving may scare you, but don’t worry, I’ve been driving these roads since I was 11”. Well guess what Tim?!? You were right! You spooked us! And just so you know, it wasn’t just going 140 kmh around windy turns or triple passing cars on a narrow two-lane road that did the trick!
In our collective opinion Tim was a pretty classic case of a 17-year-old kid trying to impress two 22 year old American guys. In addition to the driving, Tim did things like brag about getting arrested for marijuana possession two days prior as well as mention how many texts he had gotten from girls to hang out with him later that day. Also, driving through a Police Check Point, we soon realized although he had been “driving on these roads since he was 11,” he technically still couldn’t have passengers in the car so if Rob hadn’t had his license for over 5 years, Tim would have been in some more trouble with Johny Law.
Another aspect of the ride we really enjoyed was his constant battle with his ipod shuffle. About every 10 minutes a really gay song would come on (think Whitney Houston) and we would get to watch him freak out. Phrases like, “what is this???” and “How the hell did this get on my ipod????” were constantly being thrown around as he scrambled to find a song we’d think was cooler.
He was a huge Sammy Adams fan though, so we had to give him serious props for bumping Boston’s Boy on the other side of the world.
As we approached the city of Nelson he said he didn’t have anything to do the rest of the day (not quite sure what happened to those four girls texting him earlier) and offered to give us a tour around the city. As strange as he was, we were still hitchers grateful for the ride and, knowing literally knowing about Nelson, agreed to let him show us around a little bit.
Some highlights of his tour included: the school he got kicked out of for selling drugs, the house where his primary drug dealer lived, a church parking lot he used to do drugs in, the house where one of his friends punched him in the face four times and he was too high to fight back, the shooting range he used to go to before he got kicked out of school for selling drugs, and finally, a random gravel parking lot that seemed to have no real significance aside from the fact that he could do donuts and burnouts there for about five minutes!
As Rob’s mom would say, “you have to laugh or you’d cry.”
In the end, we had to regretfully decline his invitation to “get a tinny (NZ slang for weed) and go chill.” As tempting of an offer as it was, something about our lack of sleep combined with literally everything about him, made us opt for checking into a backpackers, finding the closet beach, catching a fat cat nap, and watching this glorious sunset instead.
Nelson actually ended up being a super tight city and we got drunk with our American friends and made the commitment to ditch our plan to try and find an apple-picking job and just hop in with them instead.
Moral of the Story: Never a judge a book by its cover, but, if you read the first 500 pages and it seems really sketchy, don’t go buy a tinny and go chill with it.