Bit of a lie in for me but I was tired last night and didn’t get to the site until just before 9, the sun had set (very nice too) but had enough twilight to get tent up even when having a conversation with an old chap who was originally from Essex who was camped nearby. I was looking forward to a hot shower but there weren’t any!! just a long drop and a sink so had a all over body wash (in the sink not the long drop).
One thing I forgot to mention yesterday was the little old chinese lady in Royal Oak (no she was not laughing so read on). She was dressed in a lovely matching light green suit and hat and came up to me with her hand slightly open and asked me for 2 dollars. My english shackles went up and I said no sorry automatically and walked on but within seconds I questioned myself. Why would a little old chinese lady need to ask a complete stranger for money? I turned round and called her saying “sorry here you are” with my 2 dollar coin extracted from my wallet. I have received so much help and trust from people all along my trip so far without any question of wanting something back. I just felt mean my not giving her what she had the need to ask me for. Although now I wish I’d given her a $5 dollar note as needed the coin for hot shower!
12 noon Auckland Airport
Don’t worry I’ve not decided to jack it all in and fly home. the TA takes you passed the airport on its way through south auckland. Yes this is still Auckland and I’ve been walking it for 3 days and still not the end of it as another day tomorrow too!
Quite a different walk today and a few firsts
1.It was flat
2. It has a sewage treatment plant as a feature
3.It included a stone field
4. It has a public avocado orchard which I think is neat
What wasn’t a first was me getting confused about the path again. The TA map/GPS goes inland whereas the “Watercare trail” which it had been following went out along the foreshore. I plummed for the TA map (you know what’s coming don’t you) and went inland only to find the path come to a halt with a fence barrier stating that this path would be closing in Oct 2013 and now goes along foreshore!!! I thought sod it I’ll go on inland as there were a couple of roads which would take me back to the new path. I was definitely out of place as a walker as there were hundreds of cyclists bombing up and down these road of all ages and sizes, it wasn’t a race or anything just individual and small/large groups out and about (maybe cos of the wide straight and flat roads?). Met some horses in a field and shared my apple with one of them, he must have liked it as he followed me all the way down his field.
I thought I could get back to the track down a side road which also had a sign up saying Plant Sale so went down it and there were lots of cars and scores of people milling about waiting for the gates to open for the sale. I “morninged” quite a few as i Imagined them looking on me with admiration at my tenacity and focus. Alas… the road came to an abrupt halt with 6 foot high fencing barring the way. I was now faced with the humiliation of turning round and walkingwalking passed those same people I had just confidently morninged in my superior “look at me I’m a TA walker you know” manner. So what do you do whan faced with running such a gauntlet of ridicule?
I considered my options
1. Wait here at bottom of road until they have gone then sneak back
2. Walk back up and join them as if I intended to go to the plant sale all along
3. Pull my hat down as far as I can, look down and walk as quickly as I can
4. Change my clothing and pretend to be another person to try and fool them
In the end I decided honesty is always the best policy so I walked back up and morninged the ones I had already morninged earlier and said “ah well, lost again” and grinned sheepishly
Finally got back on the proper path to the Outuataua stonefields and decided to mark the significant occasion of passing the 634th Kilometre. I’d not got round to doing the 600 marker back at devonport so thought what the heck. Being a stonefield there were plenty of stones and you can see for yourself the resultant creative work of art.
There was a really nice project as I came through the gate, an avocado orchard was planted for people to come and help themselves to , asks that you don’t take more than 5 and that the green ones will not ripen. there weren’t any non green ones in reachreach on the trees but I found one on the floor and have got it for ripening up.
6pm Manakau Holiday Park
Pheewwee. That feels better now I’ve had a shower and rinsed my pongy clothes. I was beginning to doubt there was a site here as could see no signs or space where tent/ campers etc could be. My right thigh was ringing its alarm bell again and worringly … I can hardly bring myself to mention it….. my left foot plantar is tender too. I have done a pretty long march today with 28km under the belt including a lot of road, just thankful there wasn’t the ups and downs too. to summarise the afternoon walking I would say “industrial” as it goes through a lot of light industry areas, business parks even when following the stream. Still the TA is all about seeing the real New Zealand and all its environs so I’m not complaining …owww, ouch.