I just have to say a few things about the van. We picked it up in Christchurch at around midday and Rhiannon who had previously claimed was really excited about the van and considered it the start of our travelling suddenly looked panicked. I'm not sure what it was pehaps the realisation that we really were going to sleep in a van for five weeks or that I was going to be doing the driving.
We'll get some pictures up soon but it is a Mazda 2ltr petrol van from about 2002. It's hired from Escape Rentals so you could look on their website. Ours is called 'Faces' which I thought was appropriate given that Rhiannon (and at least one reader of this blog) used to hang out in a dodgy nightclub in Essex of the same name. In fact you could imagine the likes of Anton Ferdinand crusing round in this bad boy with drum and bass booming out.
But I digress, the guy who ran the place must have thought he had a right pair of jokers on his hands as Rhiannon went paler by the second and looked more and more worried. "I don't like it Stuart" she whispered to me "Brilliant", I thought, "the next five weeks are going to be fun then".
Obviously not caring or not knowing about Rhiannon's worry streak he then went on to totally fail to calm her nerves by telling her that New Zealand drivers are terrible and that there are loads of accidents. Whenever Rhiannon looked scared he just launched into another anecdote about some people who'd had a crash recently.
By the time we left the garage Rhiannon was close to tears and I thought we were going to be turning back and dropping it straight back off. One soothing banana milkshake later and Rhiannon had calmed sufficently to get into the passenger seat and let me begin the four hour drive to the first stop. The drive itself was quite easy but to glance at Rhiannon was to see someone who feels like she is strapped to the front of a runaway train with a canyon approaching fast. Adopting a permenant brace position she hardly gave off the air of someone who has supreme confidence in my driving abilities.
Obviously we got there dafely and we have now drive over 1000 miles in about eight days and I absolutely love it. The roads in the South Island at least are often empty so you can just cruise along with the power ballads pumping from the stereo. The sun has generally been shining and the roads are good quality. Even Rhiannon seems to be relaxing a touch she now only tenses up when we go downhill, get to a corner or there is another car withing a kilometre of us. On the deserted straights she is calmness personified.
Sleeping in the van is ok aswell, the bed is pretty big although you have to make it every night and put it away every morning which is annoying. There isn't much more to say really but if there are any questions then fire away. Pictures very soon.