Hitch the guide, in getting to know what is around.
Bay of Islands hasn’t got a bus service in sight.
My ass hurts from bike riding the day before, couldn’t even sit for a second on that bike seat, not worth the pain. No way, so sore!
I had no choice but to put out a thumb, as no hire cars are available for me.
On my way to Paihia for a day at the Waitangi Grounds where the signing was held, for the treaty. In 1840, in all its glory, the English and Tribal Maori Leaders signed a treaty, which to this day is held up for disputes of accountability and liabilities between the two parties. Like the English do well, they took all the land from the Maori. It’s a battle that many say today it just ain’t valid. But it is, and it claims the reign of the Commonwealth.
First car was from where I am staying to the first intersection. Lovely lady tells me it is more dangerous on bicycle than hitchhiking – what a relief that my ass hurts today.
So there I am dropped 1k down the road.
Thumb comes out again. Several cars pass on by , but a fellow named Julian decides to stop and says hi. He can take me 10mins up the road.
Great! Getting close.
He opens the conversation saying that there a lot of dodgy people in New Zealand – where he works as a dairy farmer in Whanganui, pronounced ‘Faganui’, there were five murders.
“I wouldn’t want to hitch there.” he says.
“Dude, you are scaring me?”
“Ah nah, don’t worry, I’m not like that”
“Did you drive passed me and then come back again to pick me up? I remember seeing your car?”
“Yea was me, thought to myself should I be kind and pick you up or be an asshole and just drive passed? So I came back.”
Julian made me shit my pants and I sweated all my body weight during that ride.
Thinking, there are handles on the door to get out, good start, and if I needed to roll out, I would. And why would someone come back and get you as a hitch hiker?
Oh geez! Why am I doing this to myself?
Conversation got light about car rego prices, comparing Australia and New Zealand and that petrol prices were high here – so we diverted from the murder topics and how dodgy people are, to harmless chit chat, superficial conversation; that is an art.
And there is my drop off. I was so happy to say the least.
Second car, was not long after, and this car I saw as well down at Waipapa. 10 mins up the road, not long ago.
“I saw you , but I was stopping at the shops close by, so I didn’t stop” In her strong Kent accent, she tells me.
She seemed nice, English lady, her name Ellie. Been here with her husband for over six years.
I could just relax and be taken all the way to my destination. I spoke to her of my experience with Julian, she agreed that was just horrible to begin a conversation, about the things hitchhikers could encounter. “But you never know.” She concludes.
“Let’s face it” she says, “I will pick up single females, as long as they don’t look sketchy, couples are ok too. But if it is a single guy, I doubt very much that I would think twice, particularly if they look a bit rough around the edges, you just never know” She sighs, “Yes, I’m superficial about those things, sad but true.”
We live in a society where mostly men commit murder. Recent statistics show this, but these are usually in domestic violence situations, or gang related. So the chances are low between two strangers, but isn’t it sad that you just don’t know. I wish it wasn’t so, and that we could trust each other regardless of our gender or attire.
Best be cautious though, this is Earth after all.
I know in my heart 90% of people are true and kind and harmless, and that nothing could go wrong. But TV these days brainwash our waves, to get us thinking that the world is one dramatic place of violence and bad things happening to good people.
I leave her vehicle, letting her know that I will not be killed today. And this would be a great way to start the day.
My cardboard sign for the return trip would be something like this:
“My ass hurts from the recent bike ride and your transport system does not exist. How am I meant to be a tourist with nothing available to hitch? Pick me up, I’m going to Waipapa. I will ignore you, if you wish so that we do not discuss the frivolities. And please don’t kill me today, are you going that way?”
I ditched the hitch idea, and paid an overpriced taxi for peace-of-mind and serenity.
But would love to do it again, if it didn’t just stress me.
P.S. the Waitangi Treaty Grounds are a must visit in Paihia. Hire a car.
Featured image drawn by me at the Orange Frog Café, Paihia, where I relaxed with a coffee and colours to ease my anxiety.