So far, only vaguely. I usually start looking for a place to sleep on the day that I’m moving on. Most of the time, that works out fine. There are so many hostels here, there is always one that has a bed left (even if I have to pay more for it than I would have liked). Until Napier. A first time for everything as they say.
I wanted to be in Napier by the sixth of February because I wanted to take a Taekwon-Do class at the dojang of Ben Evans. My wallet is starting to feel the strain of staying at a hostel every night, so I wanted to try couchsurfing. Couchsurfing is basically what it sounds like. It’s a platform where people offer their couch or air mattress or spare room to travellers who are looking for a place to crash in exchange for the chance to meet people from all over the world. It’s a good way to meet people and save money.
Of course, this whole system only works if people respond when you send them a message, which is not always the case. The longer you wait, the higher the chance that the hostels will be fully booked. I miscalculated in Napier, because I hadn’t realized it would be a long weekend because of New Zealand Independence day. By the time I gave up on crashing at somebodies place, there were no more affordable beds left.
So now what? The teacher at the Aikido place I had trained at in Rotorua suggested I would just send a message to the club, asking if they had/knew a place where I could stay. I felt a bit uncomfortable doing that, but he assured me it was within New Zealand custom, so I send a message. Lo and behold they would help me find a place! Long live Kiwi hospitality.
During the training, I was reminded I really should work on my stamina more (something that’s just boring on your own), but it was so much fun to be training in a group again. It was an especially interesting group because Ben also trains special needs people. This training consisted of both regular and special needs taekwon-doin.
The next day I went along to have a look at a training at a primary school and after that, I was shown around town. Apparently Hastings has quite a bit of gang activity! we didn’t see any gang members on the tour, but it was fun to learn about the dark side of town. It’s of course not something that is advertised much.
I had a fun couple of days. Before I left for Wellington, I wanted to see the sunrise. Napier is about one of the most easterly cities on the planet and one of the first places you can see the start of a new day.