Greymouth lived up to the name. Grey sky, grey rain, grey sea, Grey River, grey faces, grey industrial parks (passed through as quickly as possible). Grey day! My bus broke down as we limped into Greymouth and we had to limp into a lot where we could transfer our packs and selves onto another bus, then stop by a service station so the driver could explain the situation to a mechanic who promised to “go ‘aver look, no worries.”
No worries is the upbeat Kiwi bloke equivalent of “thanks” or “no problem” and is said at the end of nearly every interaction or transaction. Where’s the public toilet, you might ask? Right, some helpful fellow will invariably say: go three blocks down – you hang a right, follow the signs to the alley, cut through the little park – oh, ya can’t miss it. Okay…, you might respond, a bit tentatively. No worries, he’ll reply cheerfully.
I am now in a hostel called Birdsong just north of Hokitika, famous for New Zealand greenstone or jade. The sea, dark and forbidding as any Great Lake during the winter, is directly across the road, but alas there is a highway running in front of the house. Hopefully the traffic will die down as the night rolls on. It really is a terrific hostel, despite the traffic. There is an outdoor hot tub, and friends I met from Bar Harbor Maine (who know my friend Cyndi Crow from MCAD days!) just arrived and will be camping in the yard. There is a log woodstove and about 20 of us are enjoying the warmth, and planning our next day’s travels.