A casual day spent picking up a few things for the next nine days: a ticket for a bus ride for tomorrow, it will be a big day, 7 – 8 hours says DOC, so I want an early start rather than the unpredictability of hitching; a beanie to keep my head warm at altitude, left mine at home, also handy for the mornings; a few consumables but I’m mostly already well provisioned; fixing the leak in my sleeping mat, might have got one leak repaired but maybe there are more; email while I have connectivity; working out how to get to the start of the actual track; some washing, body, again, and clothes; going out for breakfast, etc.

Not much to report, the weather came and went, there is now a big high sitting in the middle of the Tasman which is the best news for good weather for a few days.

I spent some time talking to a random backpacker, J, as I had my early morning coffee.

He showed me some tats and told me his life story: working four nights on, three nights off on the chain at a meat works; then working in commercial demolition in Australia, knocking down walls that fell the wrong way, guys falling through asbestos roofs, chainsaws doing damage in ways they shouldn’t, the full OHS video of what not to do, the boss with his gold bracelets and evil manners. Now he had found God but for some reason he was living on the wrong side of the Tasman from his partner and three children, maybe he was part of the recent deportation of the non-citizen criminal element. He smoked, both ciggies and weed, and felt he had to give one up, he had reached the age where his recollection of his mother dying of emphysema might have been starting to make an impression, ciggies would go, but it didn’t seem scheduled for this week, or even Christmas next week.

His top front teeth, four of them, had been symmetrically removed, abruptly I guess, and not by a dentist, which made speech somewhat imperfect, but that might have been the effect of the previous night.

He was impressed with my response to his, “How are ya?” first up.

Might have to tone down that “Excellent!” in the future even though I was feeling it.

Some people just have ridiculously complicated lives.

I like to keep mine simple, but suspect there may be major developments next year.

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