Wed 06 January – Day 53
A sad day for my budget. With a dead phone and a day up my sleeve I thought I had better get somewhere where I could get my phone fixed or in the event that was not possible, purchase a new one. The closest Vodafone dealer is in Taupo which is 1.5hrs away by car and the only way to get there would be by hitching a ride in and back from the holiday park. After Elena Kaj and Jonathan had left to do the Tongariro Crossing I had a bit of time to kill before the office opened. Overnight the outside basin and bathroom block floors had attracted huhu moths which the others thought were cockroaches. They look just as hideous seething en mass but nevertheless are harmless and I can think of one person who would see them as a meal!
When the office opened I told Greg of my predicament. As luck would have it his son was going into Turangi this morning so I had the first part of the hitching sorted. Once there I took a stroll to the Taupo end of town and put out my thumb. Everyone seemed to pass me by as the minutes ticked over. I thought in hindsight that I should have brought my pack to make me look authentic. I imagined the drivers thinking I was some single guy on P and there would be no chance they’d stop for me. And then a van pulled over. It is Paul who owns Adventure HQ in Taupo. I really couldn’t be more fortunate as he does Tongariro Crossing transportation so I also arrange the ride back to the holiday park as he’ll be returning to the mountain to collect his clients. This gives me just over three hours to do the business with my phone. We chat all the way to Taupo. I barely remember the drive in either direction as we were talking so much. Turns out he was working for RAL when I was at Skotel back in the 90’s. Once in Taupo I went directly to the Vodafone store. The initial diagnosis by trying to turn the phone on with screen contact not working isn’t good. They suggest I take the phone around the corner to a mobile shop to see if it may be possible to fix it. Mobile Monk was only a few doors away. The girl asked me to leave it with her for one hour and they would see what they could do. In the mean time I went to Cafe Bacu for breakfast. Coffee and mince on toast. ☕😋
An hour later I was back at Mobile Monk. The phone was dried and tested. Although it switched on there was no other action it would perform. So I paid $40 and went back to Vodafone to purchase another phone. I settled on a Samsung A31 as it was cheaper than the A51 I had destroyed. First stop afterwards was to Torpedo 7 to buy some tech drybags for the river journey coming up at the end of the week. I met Paul at our predetermined time and rode with him back to the holiday park with my pocket sadly lighter. At the park Dean had arrived. He had camped on Waione Cokers the previous night and was thrilled to have seen some Whio. Quite a bit later Seth and Peter rocked in having done the big walk from Owhango. First time I had met them. Then nearing 8pm Michael and Francisco stumbled in looking tired and sore. Again first time I had met them as well.
Tomorrow – the Tongariro Crossing