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Readers Blog: The Bike Writer

Dracula Laugh at New Zealand hostel

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Taihape, New Zealand, Dec 26 -

 Happy Boxing Day; it's a New Zealand tradition much like Black Friday. HUGE after-Christmas sales, only I really haven't seen many shops open.

Matter of fact, the sporting goods shop in Taihape kicked me out; my darn bike was to blame.

Let me quote the store owner - "Out, out, out! Get that bike out of my shop!" I took that as a casual suggestion; I tried to explain - briefly... and the second time he was even MORE loud and clear.

Think drill sergeant.

That's too bad because I was going to buy a sh-tload of stuff. Since getting kicked out of the Catholic church on Christmas day, and now this, I don't think New Zealander's are too keen on the spirit of the holiday.

 ~~~ Bicycled 75 kilometers from Marton to Taihape today and it was tough, everybody said so. Lot of hills, it was overcast and chilly.

Pulled into Taihape around 2:30 p.m. and tanked my plans to make it another 30 kilometers up the road to Waiouru. I actually thought Taihape was only 48 miles; for some reason I'm having trouble reading my book map.

The city I want is always located on the NEXT page, but it is never the next page, it's always, like, three pages away and I need to look in the reference to figure it out. Found a backpacker's hostel rather quickly; The Gretna.

I must be tired, I didn't even try to dicker when the clerk said one night was $30. I searched out a laundry with some urgency; I pinned my ripe clothes as the source of my nausea.

Returning to backpacker's headquarters I found my room and its only window opened directly across from the tavern on the first floor.

There's a guy in there that laughs like Dracula. He seems to be having a super time.

My room is quaint; not the historical feel like HotelClub from last night - just convenient, with charming character. At least that's what I call it. The bed is less than sturdy - think hammock. I'm glad there's somewhat of a siderail, it only took me three elephant heaves to get out of the bed hole the second time.

The hallway smells like we're right above the greasy kitchen exhaust and there's a crack in the seam of the old wooden door of the communal bathroom. I suppose it's convenient, that way I know if somebody's in there or not, but the door doesn't close all the way anyway..... so there's that.

I found my only window is also directly across from the tavern jukebox. This evening's clientèle of dedicated drinkers prefers a mixed tape of Don Ho and old country with a lot of warbling crooners.

An update, Dracula laugh has a wife - they must have been separated at birth and then found each other again. It's offensive in a joyous way. I'm so tired nothing really bothers me at this point; but note I can still hear them with my fingers shoved in my ears.

One other bathroom note, you're squatting at an angle. At first I thought it was just fatigue, but there's a definite slant to this operation and a bit of a Wallenda factor.

Like sitting on one of your dad's old lawn chairs he should have gotten rid of a long time ago. There's a convenient wall for stability, that definitely reduces fear of falling off the perch. And maybe I was too quick to judge the crack in the door - it could be for safety purposes. Sometimes I wonder why nobody wants to come on these trips with me

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