Thursday, November 22, 2007

Greymouth Public Library, Greymouth

A lazy, quiet evening in Fox Glacier village, then off the next day to Hokitika. The main tourist-style reason to go there is to buy pounamu (greenstone/jade). They also have a nice beach and really excellent sunsets. Greenstone is a major part of Maori culture and you see it everywhere in New Zealand.


If you’re more craftily inclined you can go to Just Jade Experience, where you can design your own piece and it gets carved for you, and then you spend the rest of the day hand-polishing it. Sort of – from what I hear the chap who does the carving is a little picky about what you design, and if he thinks it’s too complicated or whatever he may try to modify it. OR you can go to Bonz ‘n’ Stonz, which is a nicer workshop where you can design whatever you like and do all the work yourself instead of having the interesting part done for you. (There’s some entertaining drama between the two shops – go to Bonz ‘n’ Stonz and ask about it).

They let me around power tools

I met two people while I was there, and we, plus another, ended up going out for drinks and dinner that night. No terribly entertaining stories from that, but I did learn that there’s a New Zealand sheep farming board game, which sounds pretty awesome.

And the place I stayed. OH the place I stayed. This is what Lonely Planet has to say about Stumpers: “Stumpers has clean, neat, reasonably priced rooms above its café-bar. Doubles have TVs, dorms have a maximum of three beds; most rooms have shared facilities (this was pub accommodation before Kerouac invented backpackers).”

Now, how true it is that Kerouac invented backpackers I don’t know, but what I do know is that the author of that little description did not actually stay there. It’s true my room had three beds, and they had a ton of bedcovers, which was excellent. HOWEVER, as for the rest of it, they LIE.

You might want to get some tea. I’ll wait here.

Well. FIRST I went in, and there was no one at the reception desk. There was a sign saying if they weren’t there, to go into the café and ask. Fine. I went into the café and said hey, I’d like to check in. They said there was someone at the reception desk. I said no, there’s not. They said, yes there is, she just went back there. Fine. I went back to the reception desk. It was empty. And remained empty.

I rang their bell, and no one came. A chap at the internet kiosk suggested I go into the café, as the sign said. I said I had. I rang the stupid bell again, and FINALLY someone showed up. I had to write out my credit card number for security, I suppose, in case I decided to glue all the furniture to the ceiling or similar, never mind that no one else requires that. She told me that if anyone else showed up I might have to share the room, and I refrained from telling her, “Duh.”

THEN she said my room might not be ready (apparently she couldn’t be bothered to check), so I couldn’t get in until 2, which left me about three hours to kill. Fine. Whatever. I could, she said, leave my bags under the stairs until I came back and she would watch them. You know, because she’s been doing such a good job of watching the office.

I came back a little before 2 (the office was empty) and got into my room. Cramped, but fine. It had a sink, which was moderately exciting, though the foot of my bed was pressed right up against it. I unpacked the yoghurt I’d bought while waiting for the room to be ready, and went a-hunting for the kitchen. Down the hallway was a glorified closet with a sink, a very mini fridge, and some errant silverware and dishes. I went back downstairs and rang the bell.

“Is there no full kitchen?” She looked shocked. “No, this isn’t a backpackers. It’s a hotel.”

A hotel. Oh really. Go read the Lonely Planet description – no indication that that was a possibility, and nowhere on the “hotel” does it indicate that it’s anything but a backpackers.

Fine. Fine. I’ll just eat out then. See if I care.

After a walk on the beach to watch the sunset I ended up consoling myself with a very tasty steak dinner at the attached bar. And I got half a beer for free when I pointed out to them that the bottle they’d given me was two months past its “best by” date. I found myself to be a very delightful, if quiet, date.

I slept very well and woke up early, which is a good thing because one of the cleaners came into my room at 7:45am. Just walked right in, saw me, apologized, and left.

I still have yet to figure out why she was coming into the room since none of the beds had to be made up. Or why it would’ve been so hard to, I don’t know, knock. Or what the hell she thought I was doing up so early.

And she did it again the next morning.

I won’t even mention how they don’t have a phone for customer use, and how when I asked to use the office phone she looked as though I was planning to call order every set of tv-based, but-wait-there's-more knives and hair products and charge them all COD. I’ve never seen someone look as frequently stricken as that woman did. Sheesh.


(Also, the most hilarious thing about Hokitika? Is this:

You know what this is?

You know what it is? I mean, obviously it's an eco center where you can see kiwi and fish and what have you, but you know what else it is? A yarn shop. I am not even kidding. You can see kiwi, and then buy yarn).

1 comment:

miss said...

LOVELOVELOVE the sunset picture of you on the rocks.

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