I had to get out of Wellington for a little bit. I love this city, but the longer I stay in one place, the more restless I get. And I hate feeling restless. It also majorly adds to my increasing homesickness, which I planned on not experiencing, ever.
So I went to Napier with Kelsie. Booked a cheap bus ticket, and left on Saturday afternoon. Got there around 9 p.m. and discovered a city of my dreams: full of TWINKLE LIGHTS. Yeah, no joke. And at once I knew Napier was a good choice. It was dark when we got there, and these huge pine trees all along the waterfront were lit up with freaking Christmas lights. I couldn’t stop smiling, looking up at all those trees lit up. It was the perfect welcome to the city. Of course, with the good comes the bad, and somewhere between getting to the town and checking out our room at the YHA, I lost my precious camera. Seeing as I just got the camera right before coming to NZ, I was more than a little distraught by its disappearance. So distraught, in fact, that after thoroughly checking every pocket in every article of clothing and every bag I brought and seeing that it wasn’t there, Kelsie and I retraced our steps, and this involved digging through trash. Because, you see, I had thrown away a McDonald’s bag on the way from the bus to the hostel, and as I was at the time completely positive I left the bus carrying the camera, Kelsie thought that it was more than likely that I had accidentally thrown the thing away with the bag. So we walked back down the waterfront, checking each rubbish bin along the way with a flashlight and our hands in order to find it. Alas, the camera was nowhere to be found, and to this day remains AWOL. But not having a camera has been a good thing for me, I think. If you haven’t noticed by now, I take a LOT of pictures. So many, in fact, that I’ve come to realize I may be missing out on the full effect of experiences in my hasty attempts to photograph them. So this trip to Napier was, for me, all about taking mental photographs instead of tangible ones – taking images that stay much truer to the actual moments they are meant to hold still. I took in breaths that I could have spent searching my pocket for a camera, fumbling for the on switch, adjusting settings, keeping busy, but instead spent just breathing in – and looking, smelling, touching – those moments I won’t ever get back. I think I’ve figured out the key (well, my key, anyway) to real traveling.
Less philosophically, Napier was a phenomenal place for a holiday. We stayed at a beachfront hostel in a room all to ourselves. Every day was sunny and beautiful and warm – and there were palm trees everywhere. We took a walk to Hawkes Bay to take in some truly stunning landscapes, napped on the beach in front of the YHA, befriended ducks at a tropical park, sipped some cold coffee beverages (AND THE WORLD’S LITERAL BEST MILKSHAKE EVER) in the sunshine, got sunburnt, ran into some friends from Wellington (I’m telling ya, small freaking country), ate ice cream, got Kelsie a donut sundae (yup, exactly what it sounds like, a donut with ice cream on top – disgustingly delicious), saw circus people, watched the Rugby World Cup semi-final: Australia vs. the All Blacks (WE WON, BY THE WAY) at Napier’s own fanzone – an art deco-inspired theatre showing the game on the big screen, ate Pizza Hut, watched Blood Diamond, and of course put together a puzzle, among other things.
So it was a good trip. And a beautiful place. I’m very glad I went. But, as you will see in my next post, things got much more interesting when we left Napier, and decided to hitch our way back to Wellington. Stay tuned!