First off I think I may have been too harsh on the USA in my last post. Lets get it straight that I love the USA and my life there is very good. It just frustrates me that I cannot travel in the same way as at Jack Kerouac or Christopher McCandless did in their day. I have historically been a person to plan and prepare before engaging in anything. I like to assess what I am getting into before committing to it but after realizing this in myself I became determined to experience the opposite side of life. I wanted to be spontaneous and impulsive without thinking too hard of where it might lead. While hitching about in a foreign country I can honestly say that I have been able to embrace the long repressed urge of mine to throw caution to the wind.
|Dunedin in the Background|
|Hitchin a ride to Dunedin|
While traveling south from Christchurch and the Akaroa Peninsula towards Dunedin, pronounced done-ee-din (thus the poor joke made in the title of this post), we caught a ride that made our week. After a few short rides each taking us to the next town down the road we were standing opposite a gas station sporting our Dunedin sign and happily waving at every car that passed, ride or not. We were in high spirits at our luck with rides the past couple days and would have been happy simply to make it to the next camping area. Except that just then a car pulls over sharply and out pops a smiley, extremely well dressed man about our age. He says, "Your not going to stab us right?” and then with a cock-eyed look continues, “I'm only asking so that I can plan around it while we drive." We laughed along and reassuring him that we are not insane he agrees to take us along with him all the way to Dunedin with him.
|The most important ingredients|
His name is Tim and his friend sitting shotgun is Ben. We get to chatting, as you do when catching rides with strangers, and we all make fast friends of each other in a short time. It is a few hours down the road to Dunedin and in that time Tim offers us a place to stay at his friends house. It is pouring rain outside in Dunedin so we happily agree while hoping that his friends will not be unhappy about his offering up their place to a couple random hitchhikers.
|Kaka (Adriana Weil)|
On the contrary, every person in the house is welcoming and happy to meet us from the start. They are understandably wary in the first few moments but after a nice night hanging out, getting to know each other, playing music and with everyone in a jolly mood we even started making plans to go to the Speight’s Brewery tour the next day.
|Speight's tasting room: Gabii, Susan, Sam, Ben, me, Adriana, and Tim|
Adriana and I couldn’t believe our luck at meeting such great people through hitchhiking and though this would not be the last time, it certainly was an excellent example of pure good-hearted human nature. We ended up staying for three nights longer than the one night we had planned to be in Dunedin. These wonderful young adults were all around our age from 19-25 and more than happy to share the little they had with us. They even made a point of bringing us to the sights of Dunedin including the botanical gardens, an aviary and the steepest street in the southern hemisphere, maybe even the world? There is debate about that.
|The name we gave to our host's house.|
Our most sincere and heartfelt thanks go out to our new and forever friends Tim, Ben, Meeral, Claire, Susan, Gabii, Ravi and Sam. We cannot wait to see you all again and hope that soon you may come to the US where we can repay the good-natured hospitality that you showed us.