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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

On top of frustration, a car, and the world. One crazy story!

NIUE | Monday, 2 February 2009 | Views [3872] | Comments [2]

Great God, I've been in Niue for three days and it's been misery! Why did I do this to myself? I still don't have any money. My father isn't able to wire me any because he barely has enough to pay the rent. My uncle and mother hardly have any for themselves. For breakfast I had some Weet-Bix and I was fortunate enough to get a carton of milk for free because Brian supplies guests with one carton. Frustrated, I sat at the computer trying to find a way to get a hold of someone someway. My mobile phone doesn't work here, I can't download AIM, the only internet cafe doesn't have Skype, I can't do a cash advance at the bank with a MasterCard (only with Visa)...it's Murphy's Law right now. Using my head I was thinking of every way possible to obtain some money. I looked in my bank account and on both of my credit card accounts to see if I could wire some money to myself. I sent Dannielle a MySpace message asking if she could call me straight away. I went upstairs and just relaxed for a bit because this whole matter has consumed me to pieces. Suddenly the police chief came in and spoke to me. It was a difficult situation for me, and he told me that if I do anything to upset anyone that he'd have me deported and that if I got deported from here then I wouldn't be allowed back in New Zealand. He asked me “what made you come to Niue?” and I explained that it’s very off-the-radar and that I like places like that. Most people would travel to islands like Fiji and New Caledonia but I feel comfortable in remote places like Niue. In talking to him about that I even explained how in 8th grade I saw it in a list of countries and I thought it was pronounced “Nee-U” rather than the usual pronunciation of “New-A.” Upset I sat there and then I swept the floor because part of the deal is that I keep the place clean and help Brian in whatever way possible. Dannielle then called me about five minutes after the chief left. She said that Dad has no money but I remember a huge bottle of change I had in my closet; I told her to take that to the store and cash it in and then wire it to me. She was concerned at how much it was going to cost to wire it to me but I told her to just take it out of what I have in there. Danielle said she couldn't do it straight away because she had to get my little sister, Maelea (who has Down's syndrome) off the bus. Danielle is only 5 feet tall and the bottle of change has to weigh at least 100 lbs, meaning she likely would have to wait until Dad gets home so that he could take it up to the store. For the time being I just sat and waited. Brian's wife, Ira, and I talked; she said that when I'm travelling I have to put myself first. I may talk about how I wired Teressa money a couple of weeks ago but it isn't her fault; I put myself in this situation and I take full responsibility for this matter. This situation is an embarrassment to both me and my family. At about 2:00 Dannielle messaged me with the wire transfer number. I ran down to the bank straight away but I had forgotten my passport so I ran back and got it. There was some trouble because I thought Dannielle had wired it but it turned out to be my father. With $600 I went to the market straight away and got some food. I got some fish patties and a few other things. It felt good to actually have some money. Niue is not a good place to try to travel around for free or on a very small budget. In a country like New Zealand it would be easy because I know a lot of people there and there are plenty of places to go WWOOFing and CouchSurfing. My message in that situation is that if you don't know that least one person in a country, DO NOT ATTEMPT to travel with a paper-thin wallet. Next I stopped at the police chief's office and explained to him that I got everything straightened out and that I WILL learn from this matter. This situation was made even worse by the fact that I got my family involved. The chief explained to me that I'd be risking a lot by travelling to an island country where I don't know a soul. He's right, because deportation from any country would not only hurt me emotionally and psychologically but it could potentially ruin a career for me because I want to be a geography professor and travel writer. When I get back to the farm in Whitianga I'm going to share my experiences with everyone. A few months ago I was asked by Steve Young if I could do a trip with absolutely no money, not even any in the bank or a credit card to fall back on. The answer wouldn't be "yes" or "no" but instead it would be "it depends." If it were a country that I've already been to like New Zealand or Tonga it would be easy; if it were a big country like France or Italy it would be possible because there are many WWOOF hosts, CouchSurfers, etc. whom I could stay and eat with. In New Zealand if I was broke I could stay at the farm or with Carey and Joshua, and they'd take care of me because they're my friends. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be threatened with deportation. I'm not a drug dealer or a criminal! And this isn't Saudi Arabia or North Korea. With some money in hand I finally thought I'd go out to explore because that's what I came to Niue for! I walked up to the edge of town and held out my thumb. I was picked up almost straight away by a couple of local girls who were heading to Makefu. They told me about Avaiki Cave so I went through the cave when the dropped me off. It is breathtakingly beautiful! Most people wouldn't find these limestone formations amazing but I do. There are many people who only admire stuff like Da Vinci's art and Michelangelo's sculptures yet they forget about natural wonders like caves, reefs, and limestone arches. What a relief it was to actually get out, rather than sit around and mope because I'm broke. When I was done at the cave I wanted to head further, thinking I could get around the island in an hour or so. I hitched up to the turnoff that leads to the east coast but nobody was coming and the flies were starting to get to me so I decided to head back. When a couple of guys stopped, their car was only a two-seater and it was packed with tools in the back so they had me ride on top of the car because there was a wooden rack on top. It was actually quite fun; I've never hitched on top of a car. They were going way faster than the 40 kph speed limit but I was hanging on tight with a coconut beside me. They dropped me off at the market so I could grab a few things. The rain was coming down hard so I waited under the cover until it stopped and then I walked back to the hostel. Brian told me that another mistake I've made is that I have no travel insurance; ACC wouldn't cover me here if I fell and hurt myself (or anything like that). The hospital here is very basic, and Brian told me about a friend of theirs who was visiting from NZ and she fell and cracked her head open will riding a bicycle. There was an NZ Air Force plane in Tonga and they wouldn't come and get her so finally a Royal Flying Doctor Service plane from Australia flew over and transported her to Auckland. The total bill: $80,000! It made me think twice about riding on top of cars because Brian told me that an emergency situation like what happened with their friend would make todays "catastrophe" miniscule compared to that. Sometimes I do take out travel insurance, depending on what country I'm in. Brian and Ira have really treated me well and I might stay here the entire time I'm in Niue. At first I was thinking about camping for a few nights but the chief said I'd get eaten alive by mosquitoes and most of Niue is private land. I've camped wild in New Zealand plenty of times but my first 2 1/2 days on Niue have been filled with drama, and I don't need anymore of that. For dinner I made some fish patties and I headed up some Wattie's spaghetti. I relaxed for a bit and looked through Franz' WWOOF book because I'd like to do some more WWOOFing. The moon was shining very bright off the ocean so it was really, really beautiful. I just had to get some photos of that. What a special place this is! In Tonga I learned that a week isn't enough for a Pacific Island; you have to spend at least two weeks. When I went to lie down the mosquitoes were annoying the hell out of me.  There was one that kept buzzing in my ear. Bugs sure do know how to annoy people! Tomorrow I'm going to go out and do some explorin' Good Night Niue... 

The next day...

It was the day I got yelled at for riding on top of the car. The police chief’s secretary had seen me yesterday and wasn’t 100% sure it was me. She brought the police chief in to talk to me and I was scared shitless, thinking he was going to deport me for it. He said “I don’t want to be scraping up your blood and bones off the street.” Feeling bad, I explained to the secretary that I hope the guys who did it don’t get in trouble because she knows them. Riding in the back of utes is alright, but not on top of cars. The guys who gave me the lift were just trying to help me out; they weren’t trying to get me in trouble.

The rest of my travels on this exotic Pacific island were amazing expect for a major cycling accident two days before leaving. It was really hard leaving the island (as it would be to leave any Pacific island). All in all I love Niue!




Hi I enjoyed your story.You have a wonderful attitude and spirit to life .I am glad you enjoyed your time on Niue.I am going there my self soon and will be taking my family with me.


  jon k tupu Sep 7, 2009 8:49 PM


Oh Chris. Great story though. Love how adventurous you are.

  Jamie Nov 19, 2017 12:50 AM

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