Yesterday I decided I wanted to head into nightcaps to resupply and fix my food and water situation, as well as to take a rest day and take care of some blistering on my feet. So, I did. The road to Birchwood Station is fairly low traffic so I started walking. After nearly reaching Ohai I finally nabbed a ride from a nice lady whose name I can’t remember sadly.
I got to nightcaps, got what I needed from the store and stepped out onto the sidewalk and took a seat on the bench in front of the city hall to wait for the pub up the street to open which I’d heard has rooms available. I called my dad on the phone to check in and say hi, and while I was talking to him a lady approached and asked if I was looking for a place to stay and invited me over. Hearing nothing but great things about Kiwi hospitality, especially Maori hospitality, I decided to go for it.
When I walked in my gut was telling me something was wrong. The place was reasonably clean but shabby as all get out, half broken furniture, an old crt tv in the living room, and it was just this young couple living there. They seemed nice enough and I’m trying not to judge how people live, combined with a large heap of “how do I politely decline after getting the walk through”. I didn’t see any bed bugs or needles so, whatever.
My goal for the day was to resupply, fix a couple of things, treat some wounds and lay in bed and watch trashy tv all day. This was mostly what was on offer here so I took advantage.
Later in the evening we walked over to the pub, I got a burger and fries takeaway and we walked a couple of houses further down to one of their friends’ place where we hung out and played pool and listened to music in his garage. Despite the ignorantly racist jokes the guy kept making about Compton, he seemed like an alright guy.
Then 8pm rolls around and I want to get to bed, I need to get up early and eat breakfast then try to hitch a ride back to the trail, so I want to get to bed early and get some sleep. All is well. I probably end up falling asleep for good around 10:30 after doing some pre packing and reading while trying to fall asleep.
At some point in the night I realize there’s a party going on now in the house. It seems mostly contained to the rear part of the house but the music is making it through to my room. I’m fairly annoyed by this but whatever, I try to tune it out and go back to sleep.
That’s when things start to get interesting.
At some point I hear what sounds possibly like arguing. Or fighting. Not being sure and thinking maybe it’s just drunk people wrestling (I’ve done it) and faffing about, I try to put it from my mind and keep trying to sleep.
A little later and it’s clear this is not just faffing about. Given that I don’t know how many people are out there and what’s going on, I grab my phone and call the police. While I’m on with the dispatcher, the guy of the couple comes into my room, clearly quite drunk; and says something to me, then says get up, and walks out of the room. Fortunately I’d decided to hide next to the bed on the floor and I don’t know if he saw me or what. One of the reasons I had hidden is it originally sounded like maybe the argument was between the couple and maybe about my presence, so I did not want to get in the middle of it. At some point she comes in and says I’m fine and closes the door. Meanwhile I’m still on the phone with the dispatcher. Things seem to calm down a bit and then more fighting begins. At this point it sounds like it’s between 2 guys and she says something about “you’re bleeding” and I mention this to the dispatcher. Eventually the dispatcher advises me to try to get out the window if I can. So I grab my pants which are right next to the window, conveniently, and out I go. I run about half way down the block in my skivvies and duck into a storefront area to wait for the police to arrive. At some point the fight spills outside as I hear the woman yelling but I think it’s behind the house and I’m just staying away.
The police eventually arrive and I talk to them for a few minutes. At this point I think the people involved have either left or whatever as things seem to have calmed down. The cop enters the house and starts talking to the folks while I hastily pack up my shit and prepare to gtfo. One last look around the room and I’m convinced I have everything, so I walk out into the hallway and out the front door. The couple seemed to be playing off that they were just going to bed and that things had calmed down. The cop seemed way more interested in my safety than whatever was going on between them. I just wanted to leave and would leave it up to him to do his job.
Out the door and into the car and off we go. I tell him the story of me doing the TA, and how I even came to be sleeping in these folks’ house and we have a bit of a laugh. He says that address is known to him and that I pretty much lucked into the worst place I could have gone. Oops!
So, here I am, in a garage behind the police station in Ohai, NZ, my gear spread out around me, 4am almost certainly not going to be able to get any sleep, writing this entry.
Both the cop and the dispatcher were letting me know I shouldn’t treat this as a typical example of Kiwi hospitality and I got quite the laugh. Great folks, all. I don’t remember the dispatcher’s name but the cop’s name was Chris.
Oh, and after I started kinda unpacking at the police station I realized I didn’t have my medicine. He went back over, didn’t find it, came back, let me know, I told him where else it might have been. It had been on the table I defenestrated myself over next to my pants so I would see it and remember to take it in the morning while packing up. I suggested maybe it was outside the window. So back he went, saying if he found it he’d bring it to me and if not he’d be back around 8am and I could come in to the station for coffee and such. About 15 minutes later I hear him roll up. Sure enough, it had gone out the window with me. Yay!
So yea. Now I try to sleep a bit before morning. I have 2 chairs, no power, and a concrete floor. Good times.
What saddens me is the day had been going so well, I even got a group selfie with a bunch of us, but now I can’t post it. Oh well.
TL;DR: I don’t have as far to hitch in the morning to get back to the trail.