Friday, 5 October 2012
Since my arrival in New Zealand I have been making use of a hire car to get around. It turns out that there is a category of hire car even lower than 'Economy'; this.
A majestic 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer sedan with 180000 kms on the clock. Like many cars here it is an automatic; which means instead of numbers there is a bunch of confusing letters on the gear lever. I reached into the glovebox and consulted the manual.
The manual was in Japanese. It also seemed to include a helpful section on how best to crash your majestic 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer sedan.
As much fun as the majestic 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer sedan was, I couldn't afford to have it on hire for the full three months that I'm here; but a car would still be essential for weekend hobbit-hunting. In theory, a cost effective solution would be to buy a second hand car and then sell it on again when its time to leave...
Of course, this meant having to find a balance between the conflicting requirements of "must be cheap" and "must be cool". What I found was this 1990 Toyota Celica GT-R... it was advertised at $1350 (cheap-ish), and had pop-up headlights (cool for the eighties, so good enough for me). A test drive revealed that it was full of what some might refer to as "character" - covered in dents, a collapsing drivers seat, peeling paintwork, knackered front shocks, worn cv joints, a disintegrating steering wheel and possibly water in the oil too.
Of course I bought it.
Less striking, more stricken.
In the end I forked out $1050 for it, which is about $1050 more than it's worth. It's a manual though, and surprisingly, everything on it seems to work - including the active suspension, which as far as I can tell is a button that does nothing more than make lights come on on the dashboard. But they are green lights, so they're probably telling me that everything's okay. The manual might be Japanese, I don't know - I'm too scared to open the glovebox in case I find a severed head in it.
I have decided to call it DeathCar2000.
We moved into more permanent temporary accommodation this week. It's nowhere near as fabulous as the cottage, but it is also half the price of the cottage; and we could always spend the money saved on fairy lights, scatter cushions and a disco ball if we start getting fabulousness withdrawals. Aside from the lack of fabulousness, it's not too bad here; two double bedrooms, a living room with a pair of sofas, a crappy but usable kitchen and a similarly crappy but usable bathroom. It feels a bit like student accommodation; the furniture boxes have been ticked at the lowest possible cost to the landlord, and there's next to nothing in the way if knick knacks or anything to make it feel like a home. Nothing is particularly nice, but nothing is particularly dreadful either.
And finally... I spotted this poster on the noticeboard outside the canteen at work.
I have literally no idea what it's all in aid of, but the sign-up list beneath it has around a dozen names on it.