Thursday, January 06, 2011

Rain in the Forecast

Yesterday, I was remiss in reporting that at 10am, our bedroom door opens and a surprised young woman says “Excuse me, but you need to leave by 10 and it is that now.” For a moment, in my mental fogginess, I thought we had rented a room by the hour and were caught in some lewd act of sleeping. How many decades has it been since a young woman entered my bedroom? You won’t get the answer from me…because it has been too long ago to have made a lasting impression. When we said we had two more nights, she apologized and left. Another reason why I gave up on women, they kept apologizing and saying your check out time is overdue as they were leaving MY bedroom.

On a more dismal note, the weather forecast today is for torrential rain. For once the weatherperson is right on. The sound of rain woke us early this morning. Niagara, Iguaçu, and Victoria Falls are mere faucets dripping water compared to the downpour that is comically called a rain shower. We had no plans for the day other than read, relax, go through photos, and write. It was a perfect day for it with the only interruption being the sights out the sliding glass doors. We waited for evacuation orders to come any minute. Yesterday, our guide said they can get as much rain in three hours as London gets in a month during a wet period. If we knew Show and Tell was following his statement, we would have prepared better. In fact, it really was a joyful day. No transportation to take us elsewhere, no luggage lugging, no checking in or out of places to sleep, just shear bliss relaxation with reading and writing. I finished the book Safe Houses and started What to Keep. My idea of a glorious day.

Because of our perils with Pauline yesterday, our bonus was free entry to the hot springs. At 5pm, we decided to walk over there, soak for an hour and then get dinner. With the rain flying out of horizontal clouds, an umbrella was worthless. What we needed were the protective shields of riot police, nothing over our heads was going to protect us from anything. Ron attempted to use his umbrella, but the rib assembly kept doing back flips causing it to go inside out, while the stretchers were holding on for dear life. At first we thought we would stop at the ATM for some cash, but it was the nasty bank’s machine that charges NZ$10 for a withdrawal. Fo’get-about-it.

There was some irony in trying to stay dry in order to soak in hot water. It must have been the knowledge that we were saving NZ$23 entry fee by having survived the glaciers that motivated us. By the time we had arrived at the spa, my waterproof shoulder bag that normally has my camera, but now was holding my towel, was also carrying about a liter of rainwater. The rain was hitting my eyes so fast and furiously, even little eye shield wipers would not have helped. 

When we arrived, the attendant cut off our wrist bands that we had been protecting through showers to show that we did indeed deserve to enter. She pointed the way to the male locker room and said there were lockers outside, but they cost $2. Why would you put the lockers outside when the changing rooms are inside? DUH!! Because I do everything that does not require much physical energy faster than Ron, I was ready for the pools in minutes and went to find a locker out by the pools. As soon as I walked out the door I thought we had made a mistake; being an atypical male, I DID ask for directions.

Twenty lockers are available for hire. Twenty lockers for all of the guests of a well publicized spa. Twenty lockers are all they have, twenty. The alternative is to pack your clothes in a plastic bag and tuck it under the benches in little cubbies, where the rain is flooding. Who did the planning for this place?  In 2009, there were eighty-four bank robberies within New Zealand. That is more than once a week; there are only fifty-two weeks in a year. By 2010 it had dropped to half that amount; a lesser number of high achievers I guess. Regardless, with these statistics do I really want to store my clothes and my wallet in a cubby open to the public? I think not.

So without getting to soak in the hot springs, we were soaked in cold rain. After looking at the restaurant menus, it did not take brain surgeon intelligence to determine we were cooking dinner tonight, not eating out. For the price of one dinner in the inflated dining options, we were able to buy four pork steaks, salad, and a bottle of wine. They have a great Australian Shiraz wine on sale for NZ$7.95. We know for a fact it was good. We polished off a bottle last night.

After dinner, we watched Winter’s Bone. If anyone wants to know what rural mountain life is like in the US, this is the movie to watch. Aside from the meth labs, the rest of it was pretty darn realistic from areas I have been to. Back then they were making moonshine, perhaps they have moved into another product line by now. Tomorrow is a quantum 8 hour bus ride. I just may need another bottle of the Shiraz to go.
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