Along the West Coast we were dropped off at Cape Foul Wind and the Pancake Rocks to have a walk and a look around. The former has a nice (short) walking track, but it wasn’t all that spectacular. There were a few seals visible on the rocks, but my camera and/or photography skill were insufficient. The latter reminded me a little of the Twelve Apostles rock formation that lies along the Victorian coast, but more interesting and photogenic, and predictably the path was crammed with other tourists.
We were warned on the way to the Lake Mahinapua “Poo Pub” (where we would spend the night) that we would be expected to participate in the nightly fancy dress party thrown by the owner – 84-year-old Les. The theme was anything starting with a P, and our driver took great delight in the alliteration involved the P-Party Piss-up at the Poo Pub, or some permutation thereof.
Living out of a suitcase and/or backpack isn’t conducive to the construction of a fancy dress costume, but everyone managed to pull off something or other. We had quite a few pirates, two presents, a pool party, a pimp and a prostitute, the pink panther, a couple of plastic bags, a pop star, a princess, two pregnant princesses and probably some others that have slipped my mind. Determined not to be sucked into the trap of buying things I wouldn’t need once the party was over, I spent a grand total of $1.50 on sticky tape and improvised myself a penguin outfit. I made a beak from a small part of a disused plastic water bottle, a yellow plastic bag and the elastic straps from the luggage tags from our trip over the Cook Strait. I turned my rain jacket inside out (it’s black on the inside) and taped a white T-shirt to the front, fashioned into an oval. I rounded this off with a beanie, gloves, dark trousers and more yellow plastic bags taped over my shoes.
This came off fairly well, so I was told, but after about 45 minutes I was feeling the heat from my waterproof clothing, and my stomach (the white T-shirt taped to my front) had dislodged from the sticky tape. I took a breather for an hour or so, and then put everything back together and came back for the last of the group photos. The next morning on the bus I learnt that I’d won the best costume prize, which turned out to be a canyon swing voucher that I immediately resolved not to use, much to the dismay of everyone else.
Earlier in the night we’d been treated to an enormous dinner by Les, with the help of our driver. This involved a large steak, potatoes and a buffet of pasta, curry and salad. Had it been a restaurant, our $10 meal might have cost us $40 or more, though of course I couldn’t finish it.