The beginningMay 29 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 17 °C
The night before I fly I realise things aren’t gonna be as smooth as I’d hoped-strikes in Buenos Aires means my flight is cancelled, now I’ll have a 24 hour stopover in Auckland while I wait for the next one.
Keen to not spend the whole time in the airport I walk out the front doors, hop on a bus to town and check in to a grubby backpackers for $15 a night.
The pricing proves spot on as the room is noisy and full. I can’t help but have a little giggle at a very ernest Indian fellow on the bunk below me who at 10 pm checks with everyone if it’s okay to switch out the light and wishes us all goodnight. Ha, needless to say the light goes on many more times throughout the night, the last person stumbles in close to 2 and the first to leave are rustling around at 5:30. It’s not the most restful sleep, but better than the airport floor.
I roll out at around 9:30 and head off to find a visitors centre and some coffee.
Latte in hand I board a ferry to waikhe island. I get chatting to a Korean fellow who advises me that single life is definitely best...then proceeds to introduce me to his wife 😆
Parting company, I find a Norwegian exchange student, Tildah, who is also travelling by herself, we end up tripping around the island together. Beautiful green scenery and lovely beaches.
It’s a pleasant day and I head back to the airport ready for my 11 hour flight.
I get chatting to a fun girl Sarah, from Melbourne. She’s heading to Argentina for 2 weeks and we have a good laugh together about not speaking a word of Spanish or having a clue what we are doing.
We hop on the plane and are disappointed to see we are seated miles apart, I bid her farewell and head down further. As I approach my seat I can’t help but giggle out loud. The Fijian national under 20’s rugby team fills up much of the latter part of the plane and my ‘seat’ is squished between three of the enormous Fijian staff. I point to the pile of pillows, blankets and headphones that obscure where I need to be and apologise.
Squeezing myself into the gap I introduce myself and find out I’m sat between the team manager and physio. I get chatting with the physio and can see the players necks craning for a look from the rows behind. It doesn’t take long for messages to pop up on both my and Roni’s screens
Mine along the lines of ‘hi, how are you’ and his ‘what’s her name? Where’s she’s from?’
Roni tells me part of his job is to keep an eye on the boys interactions with women when they leave Fiji.😆
I arrive in Argentina and spot Sarah at the baggage collection point. She has no taxi and as it is getting dark and it’s potentially dodgy I suggest she come in mine which thankfully Chris has organised me.
A short blond lady holds up a sign which reads ‘Tabitha- friend of Chris’ I give her a wave and she envelops me in a big hug. Kissing both cheeks and gabbling away in Spanish. She does the same to Sarah, unperturbed by the extra traveller.
Our attempts at communication are hilarious, myself and Sarah speaking in English and she replying in Spanish leaving all of us unsure as to what we have discussed. Midway to town we pull over on the side of the highway where a balding man with glasses loads our stuff out and into his car. From our attempts at conversing we think that he is her husband and is taking us the remainder of the way. But considering how confusing conversation is, he could well be a drug lord about to capture us as slaves for his cartel.
Laughing at the randomness and agreeing that between us we could knock him out if he tries any moves we hop into his car and thankfully he takes us safely the rest of the way to town.
I farewell Sarah and checkin to the air bnb that Chris has organised. The owner Magda greets me with the typical double kiss and hug then shows me around the place. It’s a narrow second story apartment in an aging building block, but despite the old and musty feel of the place, house plants and a gas fire make it homely. I’m happy to have a hot shower and get to bed just before midnight.Read more