Tuesday 1 July 2014

Napier, New Zealand II: The story of how I fractured my arm

I joined a tour to Cape Kidnappers to see the gannets. Our little van drove past fields of sheep and cattle.

We stopped at this spectacular cliff top with panoramic views of Hawke Bay right across to the Mahia Peninsula. The water was amazingly blue, it was seriously beautiful.. I didn't want to leave and the driver almost left me behind haha.

When we made the final turn up the hill, these gannets suddenly appeared in front of our eyes. It was quite surprising to see so many of them gathered there and they didn't seem to be afraid of humans. They are magnificent in flight with wings stretching to 2 meters. A few of them were nursing babies under their feet, adults are slender at about 2 kg while babies are fat and round at 3 kg, so cute! They were extremely loud and smelly though. Gannets usually breed on offshore islands or some really inaccessible place, Cape Kidnappers is the only inland place where they breed because there aren't any foxes around. There were some seagulls around trying to fight with the gannets over food and both are pretty aggressive creatures. This is a sight that we rarely see, I felt as if I was in a documentary!

Another colony over on top of another rock. The tooth-like stone has a story related to it.. something about the youngest Maori tribe member not having any weapon but he had his grandmother's tooth which kind of protected him I think? I can't really remember it properly now.

I asked the driver to drop me off at a bicycle rental shop in Clive so that I could cycle to Te Mata Peak. I wanted to do a day trip there but didn't have the time. Also, I think there is no bus between Napier and Hastings because I asked the owner at the rental shop if I could get a bus back to Napier and he said no. But he said he could drive me there which was really nice of him!

It was an extremely scenic ride towards Te Mata Peak but SO HOT. I had to put on layers of sunscreen to prevent myself from getting cooked.

I finally reached the bottom of the peak and I had to push my bike up because the hill was way too steep for me. I pushed and pushed and after an hour, I reached the entrance to Te Mata Peak.. -_- Gee. So I left my bike tied to a pole and walked up. The view up there was gorgeous, mountains after mountains, I love how they stack against each other, creating such a lovely wave.

Dark clouds were approaching so I decided to hurry down. Last thing I wanted was to cycle in the rain again. I zoomed down hill, feeling incredible when a car suddenly sped past really quickly right next to me and I got a shock. I kind of knew that I was losing control of the bike.. as my bike fell sideways with me on it. An immense pain shot through my elbow because I think I stuck out my elbow to prevent myself from tumbling down the hill like Jack and Jill. I couldn't move for a few minutes but managed to drag myself to the side of the road for safety. I really felt like crying at that moment because it hurt so bad.

After sitting down for a while, I picked myself up, dusted my jeans (thank goodness I was in jeans or else I would have scraped my leg) and got back onto my bike. However, I couldn't exert any strength in my left arm/hand so I could only hold onto the handle gently while I gripped tightly onto the other handle with my right hand. I managed to cycle myself to the city center and then back to the rental shop though I got a bit lost along the way. Two little boys offered me help and requested money in exchange! I was really shocked because New Zealand is one of the last places I would expect people (CHILDREN) to ask for money openly on the streets. Maybe they were just being cheeky, I don't know but I told them I injured my arm and needed money to go to the doctor's.

Ah while I was cycling, I startled a rabbit and it tried to escape but got tripped by the fence wire!!! It picked itself up, embarrassed and hopped away as elegantly as possible. AWW SO CUTE but gasp is this karma?!

I didn't know it back then but there was actually a fracture in my arm and amazingly I cycled for almost 3 hours in that state. Thinking back, I am really amazed at myself. Well done, Ally! The owner gave me an apple when I returned and dropped me at my hostel, really thankful for that.

When I got back to the hostel, the French girls (told you I'm fated with the French on this trip or there were just a lot of European travellers in NZ) saw my wound and helped me dress it! They also immediately agreed to change beds with me because I could not climb up to the top bunk. So touched :') They gave me an ice pack so I sat in the kitchen icing my injured arm when an American, S, sat down across me with his steak dinner (yes he cooked steak in the hostel) and asked if I was ok. And he offered me his dinner!! I politely refused but he insisted that he wasn't that hungry anyway so he gave me half of what he cooked. I was beyond touched and we spent the whole night chatting. He is an extremely well-mannered and intelligent boy.

I told S I wanted to catch the sunrise because the sea faces the East and our hostel is really near the sea. We checked Google and it said that the sun would rise at 5.39am. We went early and watched the colours of the sky change from blue to orange but the sun was still nowhere in sight. Then S checked his watch and went, 'Ok, it's 5.39am.' and to our amazement, the sun popped up of the horizon! That moment was so unbelievable and incredible. I didn't capture it because my arm was injured but if you're in Napier, you MUST go see the sunrise at the beach.

Then back to the hostel we went so that I could get ready for my bus to Wellington. But S noticed that my fingers were blue and he was worried that it might mean a break in the bones. He accompanied me to the doctor's but the X-ray wasn't open till 9am so I had to miss my bus. The X-ray result announced that I had a fracture in my bone and it would take 3+ weeks to heal. They put me in a wrap and a sling and sent me off with pain killers and anti-inflammation pills. After taking the pills, the pain subsided and I felt a lot better so I went to buy a ticket for the afternoon bus to Wellington. I didn't manage to say goodbye to S face to face because he was napping when I left but I thank the stars for him because I would have felt so lonely and sad if I was injured and alone, he was such an angel. :')

While I was waiting for the bus, surprise surprise, I met my friends from the Tongariro hike! They were so shocked to see my arm in a sling but we had a nice time catching up.

So there you have it, my long winded story about how I fractured my arm haha.

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