To Molesworth and Beyond
We woke, packed, walked out to the front of the trailer park...then waited...and waited...and waited.
We’d booked a shuttle to pick us up from the Kaikoura Subway - Ron needed his traditional breakfast - but had changed our minds when we found that his supply of Footlongs was a couple of kilometres down the road.
The night before, Fiona had rung the shuttle company to let them know our new pickup place - the holiday park we were staying at - but she came off the phone suspicious that the guy who took the call wasn’t really onto it.
As we stood on the roadside with our packs, it slooooowly became clear that her suspicions were right.
Eventually a likely looking van came down the road towards us. We obviously looked like the three trampers the driver had been looking for at the Subway because he stopped and waved us over.
He was pissed off.
“I got to Subway early!” he moaned.
“For breakfast?” I asked stupidly.
“No! Cos we’re really busy today!”
He eventually forgave us and we settled in to our ride.
“I'm taking you to the “Cowtra River eh?” He checked.
“Um...isn’t it the Kahutara River we’re going to?” Asked Fiona in an attempt to head off another cock-up.
“Yeah...that’s it. But we call it Cowtra round here,” came the reply.
“Oh no...we’re about to have another argument about maori pronunciation”, I thought as we started a friendly conversation about tribal dialects.
We’re from the North Island and Cowtra meant nothing to us and probably even less to the people who named it.
He could’ve argued that we were disrespecting local Ngati Pakeha culture by refusing to acknowledge their hapu’s special character but...thankfully...he remembered that “the customer’s always right” and agreed that even Ngati Pakeha has its own regional tongues and those tongues can be confusing to foreigners like us.
Those of you who’ve been following this story closely may have been disturbed to read that we hired a carbon-producing shuttle to take us to our destination thus ruining our Eco Warrior/Low Carb credentials. We may be eccentric...but we’re not stark raving bonkers. The ride from Kaikoura to the Kahutara River is 25 kilometres. We don’t mind lugging heavy packs over long stretches of hot tarseal, but we like to build up to such tasks slowly...and preferably without 10 days of food in our packs.