10th Time’s the Charm… I Hope

Last time I wrote was on Christmas, and since then a lot has happened but not much has changed. We were either going to get that job picking grapes or leave early. We called the guy about the grape picking job for the first time on the 22nd of December. He said to call him back tomorrow. We did. He said to call him on the 26th. Then I called him only to be asked to call back on the 3rd of January. By that point I was sick of this guy telling me to call him back later so we decided to get our visa and leave right after that. We’d just need something to do for the next two to three weeks while our visa was processed. We looked for other nearby jobs, nearby farms to wwoof on, and a couchsurfing host. The only success we had was a couchsurfing host who offered to put us up for one night. That would have been more effort than it was worth since we would have had to carry our stuff all the way across town. Plus when I talked to him on the phone all he did was say how I must be since I’m an American and how he is because he’s from New Zealand. I honestly would rather have worked for free on a farm than listen to that guy talk all night. So we turned to our last resort, camping. There were some big discounts at stores the week after Christmas so we got a cheap camping stove, a cooler, and some other supplies. We bought food for a week and found a cheap, nearby campsite to hitchhike to. All we had to do was Orbitz and change our ticket. The website’s information made it sound like it should have cost way, way less than they actually wanted to charge us due to a bunch of little things in the fine print. Well now we didn’t have the money to change our ticket and we couldn’t just go camping without any idea of what to do when we got back. We needed a long term solution. So we went back and found a hotel to stay in for a couple nights while we figured something else out. Liza found several ads for cherry picking jobs on the eastern part of the south island, including one where you’d register with one agency and farms would call if they needed workers. It seemed a bit too unsure, but it was the best we had and we couldn’t afford to just stay in hotels or hostels much longer. We booked the next ferry ticket available to the south island and planned on hitchhiking from where the ferry landed to the city with the cherry picking jobs on the eastern half of the island. While we were trying to hitchhike some lady comes outside and shouts at us to go somewhere else because she’s sick of seeing hitchhikers. I’ve heard a lot about how friendly the people in New Zealand are, but I’m still looking for those people. Anyways, this made Liza sad, and at this we’d been out in the sun for a couple hours trying to catch a ride so we decided to find a cafe or something in the shade where we could check our e-mails. When we checked we found an e-mail from a wwoof host on the western part of the south island working on a nature retreat. We decided that that seemed more for sure than the cherry picking work so we decided to to head that way instead. We took a bus to the nearby city of Nelson where we could bus to the retreat from. Nelson is also near Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand’s most beautiful park. We decided to take a day to see that, and booked our bus tickets online. The next morning we showed up at the bus stop to be told by the driver, “You aren’t on my list. This isn’t my problem. I’m running late.” Then he drove off. The people working at the bus station luckily called somebody to drive us there. The park itself was alright, but I’ve heard so much about New Zealand’s natural beauty so it was a bit of a disappointment. I got some nice pictures, but I would consider that a national park. It had one heavily traveled, nicely paved path with frequent campsites and even a hostel. On top of that, they had water taxis to bring you to your campsite or hostel. That’s right. You could take a bus to the water taxi to your hostel, stay in a nice room there, and say you’ve experienced New Zealand’s natural beauty. Also, I know New Zealand is struggling with invasive species, but seeing the path lined with animal traps was a bit off-putting to see at a national park. This was the 2nd of December. That night, after returning from the park, we booked our ticket to Franz Josef where our host is. Shortly after we got a call saying that there was a problem with the road and that they changed our bus to the 5th. This upset me because we had already been staying in hotels and hostels for too long and two more days would stress us financially even more. We sucked it up and waited until the 5th. We had to wake up really early to catch our bus at 7AM. When we got to the bus stop, though, they told us our bus was cancelled because the road was flooded and we couldn’t get changed to a different bus or get our money back because we didn’t spend an extra $100 each on a refundable ticket. New Zealand’s south island only has two roads. One on the west coast and one on the east coast. There is no alternative route or anything. So now we were tired, cranky, and now we didn’t have a place to stay or anywhere to go. I did some snooping and found that the flooding occurred on the 1st. That’s right. They knew our bus wasn’t going to be operational, but they sold us the ticket anyways. Then they never told us it was cancelled and refused to give us a refund. I explained that to the guy on the help line and at least got us credit for a different bus or the bus to Franz Josef on the 9th which should run. We still didn’t have a plan so we found a place to stay for the night to try to figure something out. When we were still going to Franz Josef we intended to stay the whole time here, but after the bus company screwing us over twice, we just wanted to leave. We looked into just sucking it up and paying to leave early, but that seemed ridiculously expensive. The days passed with us still having no plan (but much less money) until yesterday when we realized that its almost the 9th so we’re going to go work in Franz Josef and heading to India in early February. As you can see this is like our 10th plan so I’m really hoping this one works. If not I’m going to the store, buying 6 fun noodles and an ore, making a raft, and leaving New Zealand.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Nancy Rions on January 8, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    I hope it works out this time. It can be hard and sometimes scary when life doesn’t always happen the way we plan but there’s alot of knowledge to be gained from these life experiences (may even earn you a few college credits). Don’t get too discouraged, hopefully things will get better. I’m proud of you and I love you.



  2. Posted by brian maehren on January 11, 2013 at 2:24 am

    Hi guys! Sounds like New Zealand ZUCKS and is ZUCKED UP!Be safe,stay positive,take care of each other and have fun!


  3. Posted by Nancy Rions on January 16, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Next time go to Old Zealand, they have a salad bar and no bad Hobbits. Grandpa.


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