We got up and drove into town to Auckland Museum, a grand place in the centre of an open park that happened to have a couple of photography exhibitions on that had piqued our interest. We visited in the morning unburdened leaving all our gear in the van and enjoying both exhibitions. We nipped back to the van for lunch before an afternoon lecture by a prominent press photographer. While there a security guard knocked on the window advising us that there’d been a bit of trouble in the area recently with break-ins and not to leave anything valuable within. Forewarned we packed what we could into our day bags and set off to the lecture. It proved interesting and we left in good spirits. Then we saw the van window from a distance.
We reached the van – in the middle of a broad and un-obscured oval car park – to find that some (insert appropriate insult here) had broken in and cleaned it out completely. Immediately resigned we set about going through the awful motions you must do when evil befalls you. We had no clothes beyond those we were wearing, no souvenirs we’d picked up for people, no dvd’s of skydiving or bungee jumping photos & videos – the sods had even nicked our toothbrushes. We’d lost the valuables we hadn’t been able to carry and we’d lost a host of irreplaceables that would have been no use to anyone else.
Put simply, I was pissed.
After completing the unpleasant conversations with those who need to be informed but can do little to help we drove the van over to the Jucy compound where they were excellent and replaced it with another instantly. We then drove dejected to another camp site in an area we were assured was a safe one (our protective instincts now in overdrive) and ate a sullen meal while planning precisely how to get back on track in the single day we had left in New Zealand and looking at how much more it was all going to cost us that would only be partially compensated for by our insurers in the distant future.
We were on a mission. The next day it was into town with a vengeance to buy everything from a new bag to underwear (we’d got a new toothbrush the night before, don’t worry). We’d lined up a meet with Sam, our high-flying lawyer-musician-lecturer friend we met in Vietnam for a nice lunch and catch up before getting back into shopping right into the evening. Having got the majority of the essentials by nightfall we collapsed and ate from the remaining supplies for tea.
The next day it was up and back to the compound to drop the van off and after a lift to the airport we were soon on our trans-Pacific flight to Chile. Several hours later, after crossing the international date line and effectively heading back in time, we arrived in Santiago where we groggily found our hostel, nipped out for Pizza and returned to sleep off the epic journey.