As per usual I assumed I’d make a quick hitch to Picton (back across the mountain range and a bit past Blenheim) in the morning to take a Ferry to Wellington. I gave myself about four hours to make the two hour drive, which greatly amused Stefan, a Frenchman I met trying to hitch the same route who’d been standing at the spot for an hour and a half. Naturally, we caught a ride – good for the both of us – in minutes. You see, hitching is just like busking with rewards for attentiveness, appearance and enthusiasm. Stefan read a paperback at chest level with his thumb high and a cardboard signed “Please =)” in the straps of his nearby pack. I smiled broadly, waved my “Picton!” sign while dancing about in a fun silly manner to a random tune in my head, thrust out my thumb like a victory punch to each passing car, waved back at the car full of girls who waved at me and Peter from Perth stopped for to give both of us a lift in his red rental in minutes.
On the ride over, too, I sustained the conversation with questions to both of them, random commentary on real topics or small topics, and this won me a lift the extra twenty five kilometres to Picton from Peter’s destination of Blenheim. So I arrived nearly two hours early for the most beautiful ferry ride I’ve ever taken:
Despite the beauty of the Marlborough Sounds, once we quit those narrow waterways the roughness of the seas of the Cook Strait impelled me to sleep. I awoke just in time to dock at Wellington where I’d meet my host, Joe, at the rail station. A rail station reminding me alternately of New Haven’s Union Station and Helsinki’s Rautatientori. I arrived a bit early so I decided to try one of my recommended busking spots right away despite it being late Sunday evening, the tunnel connecting to the bus depot.
After a quick one kid silver tip fifteen minute pitch without seed change or water, I filled my bottle from the bathroom sink for a proper go and debut of two songs whose lyrics I’d memorized on the crossing. I’ve felt rather stagnant with my original hundred songs and I’ve since pushed it to an additional seventeen. Maybe the freshness of these proved intangibly communicative, as my two newest songs proved most successful. One man very kindly dropped me a fiver with a smile and “No request, just carry on with what you’re doing.” as I sang Priscilla Ahn’s Lullaby. Superman won me appreciative slowings of pace and hushed “Wow! That’s beautiful”s from the young women and girls.
Other than these, I entertained a range of baffled businessmen, confused Asians and poor students in that really gorgeous reverberating tunnel. Not long before I finished, a friendly young Maori man with a big smile requested Somewhere Over the Rainbow, stayed to film most of it, and walked off with an even bigger smile. He didn’t tip but that smile, as my lyrics run, was truly enough – and better.
Earnings: 12.00 NZD, 1 hour
Song of the Day: Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole