The sea was completely flat this morning, so no early surf action. Instead I headed into town to attend an ashtanga yoga class at the town hall. It ended up just being me and the teacher, but that worked out fine – we had a really good practice together and then went for coffee afterwards and chatted about her life here in Raglan (as well as teaching yoga classes she also trains race horses, which mostly seems to involve early morning gallops along the beach from what I can gather – not a bad life). It was good to meet another yogi and practise with the benefit of another person’s energy in the room – it does make a difference.
Up until today, I’ve been practising on my own most days, eking out a suitable spot that’s as unobtrusive as possible. Budget travelling in shared dorms poses problems for finding yoga space as the rooms are invariably small, and I would probably take up the entire floorspace between the bunks, which doesn’t seem fair (or practical). Therefore I’m forced to find a space in communal areas, which isn’t ideal for someone who doesn’t like the lime-light, as the yoga I do involves some quite eye-popping contortions and arm balances at times, and it’s hard not to draw attention to yourself.
The way I get round this conundrum is by pretending that I’m invisible. It sounds silly, but it’s the old ‘if I can’t see them, they can’t see me’ trick, and it really works – we can learn so much from children! To be fair, people generally give me a respectful (or, more likely, slightly weirded out) wide berth, and so far I’ve had minimal heckling, although I was watched by a group of oohing young kids for a while when I was up at Cape Reinga – but again, I just pretended they (and I) weren’t there!
On the plus side, I’m gradually clocking up a list of weird and wonderful places where I’ve done yoga. So far, highlights include Bangkok airport, Sydney airport and Ninety Mile Beach. I’ll share any further notable locations/scenarios with you as they crop up.
Whilst on the subject of the drawbacks of budget hostelling, I may as well fill you in on the rest of them. Firstly, I am a very light sleeper, and hence am not getting great nights sleep, due to the shared dorm symphony of snoring, teeth grinding, fidgeting on the bunk above, sleep-talking, one bloke’s bizarre ability to make a sound like a jowly dog licking its chops (I nearly got up to watch how he did it, but chickened out in case he woke up to my face right next to his) and even, I reluctantly recall, the sounds of two other hostellers very drunkenly getting it on in the adjacent bunk – surely a huge abuse of shared dorm etiquette!
Secondly, I am also feeling my 33 years quite acutely so far, as I listen to the predictably escalating raucousness of endless drinking games each night – been there, done that in my last decade I’m afraid – my travelling objective this time is all about being inspired by beautiful places and finding time to just ‘be’. But still, I’m meeting some great people on my travels, and last night I spent a very pleasant evening playing board games with a wonderful ‘more mature’ lady called Starlet (the mum of one of the people that runs the hostel), whilst alcohol-induced hysteria spiralled skyward in the next room – rock and roll!
I intend to spend the afternoon enjoying the tranquility in the estuary once again, and am hopefully going for a sunset surf (or a bob around on my board if the waves are still piddly), before preparing for (sadly) leaving this place early tomorrow morning. I’ll leave you with a photo taken on my explorations yesterday – it’s the demented arachnids again, but this time still joined to the cotton-grass-like plant that they originate from.