Friday, February 27, 2009

2/20/2009 - Masterton

I do another leisurely morning today, including laundry. My guess is that, in my quest to save money, time, and soap, my clothes have been slowly developing a "funk" that I am used to but people in enclosed spaces may not be.

Soon enough, I am testing Zod's endurance again up the major hill from Wellington to Masterton. As usual, the van manages to make it despite being passed by every vehicle including the New Zealand equivalent of Geo Metros.

IMGP1866.JPG Looking back from the top of the hill. In the distance is the park where they filmed Rivendell from the Lord of the Rings.

Once over the hill, things flatten out considerably. It takes about an hour and a half total to go from the campground to the Masterton city limits.

I show up for a surprise visit at the clinic, grab lunch with David and Caroline Nixon (the head of the clinic), and get paperwork done. David kindly offers me the big apartment as Kylie and her family have finished there at the clinic and are now traveling again. Not bad!

Today's entry will be short, as I'm betting that no one wants to hear where I put "line 23b subtracted from the sum of lines 12a and 12b" or how many deductions I am taking. It is federal tax day for me, and I spend quite a while tracking down W2s and other forms for my taxes. Riveting.

It is definitely nice to have a place of my own. Though I am used to sharing bathrooms and showers and campsites and tables, I suddenly realize that not having to worry about all that is refreshing. I can set my own schedule without reference to check out times or cleaning times or traffic or closing hours. It is so strange that traveling can sometimes be more regimented than being in one place.

Kayra and Kevin have invited me over for dinner so that I can forget all of the tax fun. I make it over around 7PM, and I get to meet her husband, Kevin (who had been working away for a month when I last came through). Tracey, a mutual friend of Kayra, Kevin, and I, also made it over. We put down some wine with dinner, then headed over to a local pub to see how the beer tasted.

Belinda, the pharmacist at the clinic, and Adam, the podiatrist at the clinic, just happened to stop by as well - all in all, a really fun group and make me even more excited about working there.

The weirdest thing about the bar was that the drinking age is 18 here. As 11PM rolled around, boys and girls (they just look too YOUNG to call them anything else) make it in to eye the opposite sex, all dressed up for the occasion. I think we were not mentally put in the category of the "geriatric group", which was fine by me. Also, a limo kept driving up to the bar dropping people off and picking them up, really pushing my definition of a small-town taxi. Weird.

I called "uncle" around midnight, and headed back to the apartment. My plan is to sleep in tomorrow (Saturday) and finish all of my preparations for Tasmania, as I'm leaving on Sunday for the real Down Under.

I sleep on the couch as I do not want to mess up the clean linens and so on. Will be getting up early to start work on my taxes. I could use the refund for sure.

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