Monthly Archives: February 2011

Nelson Saturday Market

This morning I made my way to the Nelson Saturday Market which is apparently one of the best in New Zealand. After making a few short detours through a few stores, I found myself in the middle of hundreds of market goers and oodles of stalls. There were all kinds of foods like fresh organic fruits (strawberries, apricots, and of course kiwis) and vegetables, nut butters, cakes and cookies and every kind of sauce and spread under the sun. The crafts were unique and expensive as well were the clothes though I think they were all of high quality. I had quite a time fawning over the whimsical jewelry and was tempted on more than one occasion to buy a delicate souvenir. Luckily my will power won out and I walked away relatively unscathed with only a pint of blueberries, some veggies and a packet of smoked fish. All things I needed…or so I told myself.

After exploring each and every stall, some of them twice, I made my way into a temporary store that was selling climbing and hiking clothes at a steep discount. I was interested because I am currently in the market for some well made sports clothes which tend to hold up well when backpacking. I ended up with a few shirts and some shorts which I reasoned also, that I needed. The t-shirts were made out of some crazy material which made them feel like a really thin layer of the softest velvet caressing your skin. I bought two.


I went back to the hostel and decided to plant myself down until I figured out my Europe trip. I was on the fence about several choices and was really having trouble making decisions. Finally a solution presented itself in my mind that seemed to fit perfectly! I would book my flight to London then decide the rest when I got there. Ofcourse! That was the answer and I knew it because it felt so right. There are a billion flights from London with cheap airlines and I will see how I feel mid-March when I return from Italy, Greece, Egypt, and Croatia. I am leaning towards Turkey but am not sure it will be warm enough for me. In any case, it was a huge relief to be able to have filled in that missing link. Now I can stop thinking about the future and be fully present.

Although I wasn’t really into it, I decided to accompany the girls from the hostel who were going to a latin dancing club. I reasoned that it would be good for the walk and I could use the exercise after all that chocolate pudding and ice cream the other night. It did turn out to be not my style so I stayed for a few minutes then took my leave. I strolled back home the long way stopping now and then to glance in the dark store windows. That night as I lay my head down to sleep, I was able to watch the stars from the window just above my head. I sighed deeply and sent a silent thank you to the universe for building such a gaze worthy night sky.

Grateful for resolution.

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Laid Back Nelson

Today I changed hostels and then made my way into town to explore. Although I have been here before, I don’t remember. I think we ended up somewhere near the outskirts and really didn’t spend much time in the center. What I had missed! This is an adorable little town with a multitude of hippy shops, clothing stores, book stores and travel agents. I loved the sidewalk fruit vendors selling sweet juicy cherries the size of walnuts. I bought a brown paper bag full for 5 dollars and finished them in two days.

There are a bunch of free festival events going on at the moment including a film festival as well as jazz concerts. I went to listen to some music but none of it really grabbed me. I wandered up and down the sunny streets lined with pots of bright blossoms hanging from the stores awnings. There were lots of tourists but it didn’t really feel too overrun.

When I got back, the English blokes were waiting for me to go to the beach. We had a bit snack then off we went. The tide was out but that didn’t deter us. We plopped ourselves down on the packed wet sand and basked in the sun. We talked about their girl problems and I tried to lend them any insight that I could. I was distracted when a juggling dude on a unicycle sped past us. It was so random and absolutely made my day. Then the wind began to pick up and we decided to leave before we got sandblasted any further.

I had a nice quiet night then climbed up to the top bunk where I was to be sleeping that night. I was pretty much exhausted and don’t really even remember sticking in my ear plugs. My dreams were visable for the first time in a long time and that made me feel happy and settled. Finally things are back on track.

Grateful for brightness.

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Escaping the Bully

I guess I spent most of my time in Mount Cook alone as Billy had more or less said he wanted to spend time alone with Stacy. I guess that was fine with me but I began realizing that I was craving interaction. It would be good to get back into a more friendly social environment.

We left  Mt Cook and drove back to Christchurch where we stayed with Billys family again. I wasn’t feeling well and pretty much went to bed as soon as we got there. The next day I spent some quality time with the kids before Billy woke up. Then it was hurry up and go. I was feeling quite sore from the hike the other day so I hobbled along like an old person vowing that I would give myself a good stretch as soon as possible.

Well, from here, things went from bad to worse. The tension that had been building over the last few days finally reached its pinnacle. I guess things were not working out with Billy and Stacy so he was in a really foul mood. It dawned on me that the grumpiness and attitude I had been absorbing was completely uncalled for. At this point, I stood up for myself and let him know assertively that he couldn’t keep taking things out on me. I thought as long as I was clear, honest and gentle, it would turn out ok. But I was oh so very wrong.

The guy went ballistic and started making up all sorts of crazy stuff and acting all nuts. I was a little worried to say the least. I thought seriously about what he was saying trying to look at things rationally and objectively. When I tallied his accusations, insults and complaints I realized something really wasn’t adding up. His account of reality was not consistent with what I experienced at all. And he seemed to think I (and it seemed all women for that matter) was the devil. He had a hate on for my gender and I was taking the brunt of the thrashing.

That’s when the light finally went on in my head. This guy was not someone I should be in a car alone with in the middle of nowhere. After shedding a few silent tears of terror, I composed myself and made a plan. He was obviously raging as he drove like a maniac almost taking us off the road on several turns. My knuckles were white as I clutched the door handle and I stayed as still as possible so as not to aggravate him any further. After 90 minutes of icy brutal silence as he weaved dangerously fast through the windy mountain roads of Lewis Pass, I saw a small town. I made up an excuse that I had to use the toilet so he would have to stop. I assessed the other cars that were at the service station as covertly as possible. I asked one couple as I passed them if they were going north or south. To my disappointment, they said south. I went in and paid for the gas then headed back out to the car, feeling quite desperate at this point. I  knew I only had seconds to make a move.

The car behind us had a couple surf boards tied to the roof and it only took a fraction of a second to realize that these two blokes would be safe. Surfers are almost always good peaceful kindly types so the chances were high that they would take me. I only had one chance and I had to work fast. I knew the moment that Billy realized what I was doing, he may become volatile. I wasn’t wrong.

I approached the surfer dudes and asked if they were going north…yes. I asked if they would have room for me…of course. I wasn’t sure if they saw the desperation in my eyes or not but I don’t think it would have mattered. They were the helping types. My pulse quickened and I promptly began gathering my stuff out of Billys car. He started yelling at me and to be honest, I don’t even know what he said. I was so focused on just getting the hell out of there.

He got my attention when he began driving away with me half in and half out of the car. The door smacked me and I yelled loud enough that he stopped just long enough for me to grab up my stuff. I was pretty terrified at this point as he was now graduating from mental abuse to physical. It was like something out of a horror movie. The whole thing happened so fast and my adrenaline was racing through my veins. As I clutched my valuables leaving behind whatever I couldn’t carry, I looked him it the eye and muttered loudly “You are just not a nice person at all!” I realized that if that was the worst I could muster, I surely didn’t warrant the caliber of nastiness this guy had bestowed on me.

I scrambled into the other car shaking like a leaf and the two dudes, seemed somewhat concerned. They listened to the quick version as I didn’t want to get into the blood and guts of it all. I was touched that they had began getting out of the car to help me when they saw the car violently lurching away with me half in it. Even complete strangers were willing to step in and protect me. Welcome back to the real world Carmella. These are the type of humans I am used to. I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief and tried as best I could to maintain  some small talk with my new carmates. I think it was probably best as a distraction from the trauma I had just endured. I have to admit, I am somewhat embarrassed about this whole thing and wonder why I allowed this bizarre type of drama into my life. I am a big believer in we create our reality so why I would choose this, perplexes me to no end. But to be perfectly honest, I am just really glad to have it over and behind me.

Now I am safe and sound in Nelson relaxing in a backpacker hostel. I made several friends while I was making tea and they just so happened to be the three blokes who would be my roommates. They were jovial and kind, inviting me out for drinks with them. I had to decline as I feel I have had more than enough excitement for one day.

Though I am trying to avoid sweets, I had to give in when the hostel brought out their nightly offering of chocolate pudding and ice cream. It was freshly made, still hot from the oven. Chocolate oozing out of a moist cake tempered with cold creamy vanilla sweetness. Honestly, all my worries just faded away, spoonful after spoonful.

It was the first real bad experience I have had with traveling that I can remember. A bonafide psycho hell bent on nuttiness. I have to admit, I have been beating myself up over the whole ordeal. Why would I have chosen such an awful travel buddy? Why didn’t I listen to my instincts and split back in Picton? Better yet, why did I even get in the car with the drunk dude in the first place? I must have felt like I needed some chaos or challenge. Oh well. Lesson learned, loud and clear. I will be much more selective with whom I share space with, that is for certain. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous the country is, how wonderful the weather, how exquisite the experience could be; if the company is horrible, then the beauty is wasted.

Grateful for protection.

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