I’ve been travelling for five months now, it’s my last night in New Zealand, but still the surprises come. Here in Auckland I paid an extra $2 for a premium room. Not because I was fussed about having a premium room, but because all the rooms that weren’t premium were already sold out.
So instead of paying $26 (£13.43) I paid $28 (£14.46). My extra £1.03 buys me my own plug socket and a curtain to pull around my bunk bed. Some hostels give you this for free, but here you have to pay for the privilege.
Is it actually a privilege though? I certainly thought so back in Kaikoura when I was playing German Hide and Seek with Karoline the Kayaker. Here in Auckland I’m not so sure.
You see there’s this couple. And they clearly don’t understand that whilst a curtain does provide a certain amount of privacy, it does not block out noises, movement or the fact that everyone else in the dorm knows exactly what you’re doing. When I arrived on Sunday evening, the couple stopped what they were doing when I entered the room, and giggled behind their curtain whilst I picked my bed at lightning speed and hot footed it out of there to let them get on with what they were doing.
I spent three nights at the hostel and not once did I see this couple emerge from behind the curtain. They were very careless with their curtain, or perhaps they were so loved up that they didn’t care, but each time I went into the room you could clearly see them through the large gap in the curtain. By day they slept, cuddled up together, then in the evenings they’d resume their frantic shagathon – frantic but presumably quite frustrating with everyone else coming and going, they kept pausing – like in a game of Musical Statues – every time someone entered the room.
Not that the other guests were probably that bothered, seeing as the whole room stank of cannabis. On the first night I went to sleep wondering if I would wake up stoned, on the second night I worried that after three days and nights in a cannabis-infused room, my suitcase might actually be stoned and that I might get arrested at the airport when my suitcase set off the “I stink of weed” alarm at security.
And on the third night we had a fire alarm. Nobody was very keen to get out of bed, as we could all hear through the open window that Auckland was having a heavy thunderstorm. But the alarm persisted and a tiny girl in a hi-vis jacket came around knocking on all the doors and insisting we get out of bed, so we all trooped downstairs, hundreds of backpackers in an assortments of pyjamas, and stood in the rain as two fire engines and several firemen turned up, checked out the hostel and then sent us all back to bed.
Having been plagued by rain and cyclones for much of my time in New Zealand, it was a appropriate parting shot for New Zealand to throw one last heavy rain shower at me before I departed to Australia.
And on the bright side, it probably did the couple behind the curtain the world of good to be forced out into the fresh air for half an hour, this was probably the first time they’d not been horizontal for days.