Chore Day at TCR
A rest day! The last full day off for one reason or another was Auckland, and yeah, we have a few chores, but most of the day we will get to rest. We linger late in the tent, writing and reading, listening to the safety speech being given in the building above us, knowing it will be for us tomorrow. Sometime after we hear it finish, we emerge and embrace the day.
First order of business: settle the campsites. Tristan and Prana address this with Karen, who is a whiz sorting this out. We don’t really have a great guess for what is reasonable to travel by river per day. She advises, we accept; she makes the calls to book the bunks. Voila. Next order of business: all the town chores, which of course starts with lunch. Ron gives us a ride into town and drops us off at a Thai place he swears by- it is pretty tasty.
The post office. We retrieve all the boxes we have sent to ourselves, and rummage the bounce box for anything it makes sense to take. Unfortunately, they don’t have our new credit cards. “It says here that it was accepted by a person at this facility,” I said, handing her the entire list of its tracked history. “Well we aren’t an agent of this delivery service,” says the unhelpful and dare I say malicious woman at the counter. “What’s the tracking number?” I read it to her, and three characters in she interjects, “Those are wrong. It shouldn’t start with three letters.” She has me painstakingly read the whole tracking number anyway, and then informs me, “yep. That’s not a number I can look up. You’ll have to call whatever agency sent it and get a usable tracking number from them.” In a split second I live the Sisyphean eternity of the electronic phone tree of UPS in my mind. I don’t have the gumption or the international minutes for that today. Another clerk comes out. The post mistress ‘helping’ me gives a bare bones explanation of what’s going on. When I hand the tracking information over, she says, “Oh. Well that’s strange. We’re a UPS receiving agent, so it should be here.” I feel a brief flicker of victory, but it’s a hollow one, as it still doesn’t cause the package to appear. The new post mistress suggests trying one of the other receiving agents in town, in case it was delivered to one of them anyway; apparently any receiver in town is fair game, regardless of the street address on a package. After a confusing sorting out of plans on how and when to meet up with everyone (once it is apparent the huge amoebic approach to chores wasn’t going to work), we attempt the other UPS receiving location. Immediately, this woman hands the envelope across the counter. Thank goodness!
A few more sundry searches and purchases create a spontaneous town wide scavenger hunt for the next hour. During this, we square with the fact that we are not willing to walk 6k for the only available shower, and cross that off the list. Bye, bye dream of a shower. Finally, Prana and I fill a washing machine with our clothes at one end of town and walk to the other in our rain gear to start the process of filling in everything we still need for our next two weeks of resupply, split between a long carry out of town and what will be delivered with the canoes. The store is tiny, and crowded, and things aren’t in the spots I predict them to be, so this becomes a bit of a process. At one point, over an hour in, Prana walks back to switch our laundry to the dryer and I momentarily abandon the cart to purchase a bubbly water to drink while shopping, a little perk-me-up. The clerk seems to think this a strange request, but agrees and marks the bottle. With delighted expectations, I twist the cap and PPPPFFFFFHHHHHH! A full third rockets out in a gleeful explosion of foam. Standing there, dripping, unsure what to do, I simply accept it as the defining moment of expectation vs reality of this day, then soggily continue the hunt for miso soup.
Three hours later we call the canoe biz, and Ron comes back to pick us up. Mercifully he drives us and all of our groceries and bags and boxes to the top of the hill and the sun room, where we can repackage everything into our packs and the dry barrels that will arrive with the boats. It’s already 5:00! Damn. At least we won’t have to resupply again for the next two weeks. A fair trade off? Mike No Evil arrived earlier today and had an entire day off to lounge in the sun room. I am definitely envious. Then again, he eats oat porridge for breakfast lunch and snacks every day and has couscous every night; I don’t know if I am envious enough to make that sacrifice.
It’s dark when we close the lids on the barrels and recycle the last of the packaging. My feet don’t hurt, but my brain does. Somehow we forgot to get toilet paper and are one dinner short, but it will probably be ok. Prana and I crawl in the tent with happy sighs of relief, grateful that our rest day is over so we can relax while hiking tomorrow.