Maruia Hot Springs and The Little Guy*
A downside, when you’re wanting to chill out, is finding yourself unable to block out, despite your best efforts, conversations that are going on around you. Having said that, I was interested in what two middle-aged couples were going on about in the hot pool just the other side of a few boulders we were resting our backs against in the adjoining pool.
The New Zealand couple were staying for two nights in one of the rooms with ensuite within a few strides of the hot springs, and I overheard the New Zealand woman say, “We’re paying $400 a night and for that we get dinner and breakfast as well. We don’t usually pay anything like as much, but I said to Bruce, why not, let’s treat ourselves.”
The other couple were Swiss German and, as you would expect, there was nothing wrong with their English. It was the woman who responded: “We’re in a caravan – $300 a night with dinner and breakfast also. And there’s a couple in a teardrop camper down in the camping area and it’s costing them $300 for two nights.” (No meals provided with our package deal!) She slipped us into the conversation as though we’d been chatting to her and mentioned ‘teardrop’ like New Zealanders would know what she was talking about: wrong on both counts.
I’d noticed that the Swiss woman was behind us as we were at the reception desk because I’d overheard her speaking to her partner; he stayed outside with their dog on a lead and she came in to book. A few minutes later, as I backed out of a parking spot right next to the building and therefore in an area were a lengthy set up wouldn’t be an obstruction, he came over and asked whether I was returning to that spot. If not, then because they had a dog with them, he’d park the caravan there. (The Maruia Hot Springs Resort complex is located within the Lewis Pass Scenic Reserve which is part of The Department of Conservation estate and dogs are prohibited.)
So that would have been why the teardrop camper was on their radar. And she knew about the cost of our stay because she was behind us when we booked in.
We’d recently sold three weaned doelings (female goat kids) and been paid cash. June was looking forward to handing over three hundred in cash to pay for our two night stay, and duly fluttered it around as she went to hand it to the young guy with an English accent who was dealing with bookings. “Sorry, we can’t accept cash,” he said.
Well, yes, he could accept EFTPOS, but then he wanted to know whether there was a three-digit security number somewhere on it. That was news to me, I thought you only had those on VISA cards. Then he said EFTPOS would be okay so long as he had my VISA card details as security. By then, I couldn’t stop myself from wondering whether onlookers were speculating as to my financial street creds.
You know how it is, you’re feeling self-conscious – it’s all a bit embarrassing: like the time, after a particularly stressful day at the chalk face, I swiped a card to pay for groceries in the local Four Square supermarket under the gaze of locals and couldn’t remember my pin number.
“I’ll just pay by VISA,” I said. How pathetic, I thought, as I flashed my modest, bog standard (except for the amount of debt accumulating!) Kiwibank credit card about – here I am using credit to help me feel that I’m restoring my sense of financial cred. I recently overheard a relative terminate a brief but fractious exchange with a work subordinate by saying, “It is what it is.” I’m no fan of the expression, and would probably never actually say it out loud, but I get a bit neurotic about our finances or lack thereof at times, so what the hell, “It is what it is!”
No wonder, then, that our teardrop camper and our three hundred dollars for two nights were on the Swiss couple’s radar. Coming from Europe, where teardrops are a popular feature of the holiday landscape, she assumed a similar situation existed here. Personally, I’ve yet to meet a Kiwi who refers to our trailer as a teardrop camper, and most haven’t even registered that they exist. In fact, we fell into that camp ourselves until a couple of years ago, when one caught my eye on the cover of a NZ 4WD magazine because it was coupled to a lime green Jimny just like ours.
To give you the flavour of a typical Kiwi response – and we get at least one whenever we take The Little Guy on an outing – I need look no further than our recent trip to Maruia. A beefy bloke sporting a T-shirt with ‘Woolston Boxing’ emblazoned in large black letters on the front and back, was standing across the bowsers from me at the Culverden NPD self-serve fuel station, putting diesel in his ‘tiny house on wheels’ sized motorhome:
“Dinky wee set-up you’ve got there.”
“Yeah, it’s great.”
“Can you sleep in it?”
“There’s a queen size bed in there.”
*I was supposed to be telling you about our couple of days at the Marble Hill Campsite, but I got totally sidetracked! Promise I’ll keep on track next week: Marble Hill Campsite and The Little Guy.
That’s all on modern-day homesteading at Little Owl Gully till next Monday. Thanks for your company. Bye for now.