Archive for februari, 2010

Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Buy a car that is easy to sell, bargain down to 1400 NZD
  2. Enjoy car for 6 weeks
  3. Place car on trademe
  4. Receive enthousiastic response from a Kiwi who has been looking for exactly this kind of car
  5. Go off on a tangent to make it interesting
  6. Sell car for 1450 NZD to said Kiwi

The interesting bit went something like this:

Just a I was leaving Rotorua to head for Auckland, I received a text from a Kiwi indicating that he was very interested in my car. I called him, and he lives in Wellington. He was willing to take the plane from Wellington to Auckland to buy the car if he liked it. We talked about the car, and I took extra pictures and emailed them. I heard nothing after that.

So I drove to Auckland to sell the car there. And as luck would have it: the biggest car market in town was the next morning from 9-12. But as I was looking for a car wash with a vacuum cleaner to tidy it up for the sale, I received a text message from the Kiwi guy. He liked the pictures I mailed him, and now suggested driving all through the night to buy the car the next morning. He suggested a price 200 below my asking price, but still giving me a bit of profit. And that was exactly my goal: to have the satisfaction of buying and selling at a profit. I suspect that I would get more (closer to 1650 NZD) if I sold at the car market, but then this guy would really make an effort. I texted that we had a deal, and asked him if he was willing to do the trade early in the morning -so as to allow me time to go to the car market if it would not work out.

I went back to the backpackers and there I received a text saying that he would rather pick it up next week, as he had classes on monday. We spoke on the phone and I explained that I would be gone by then, so he committed to driving to Auckland that night, and we’d meet at 8:00 am. He’d give me a call around 7:00 am. That night at 00:30 am I remembered that I really had to recharge my phone.

The next morning came, and around 8:00 I had not heard from him. Some texting back and forth, he was about 45 minutes away.

  • At 9:00 more texting: now he was 15 minutes away, oh and he has “a slight money problem”. It was getting interesting…
  • At 9:20 we spoke on the phone, he was only 5 minutes away. But strangely enough, it did not sound like he was in a moving car.
  • At 9:30 I had enough. I texted him that he would have to come to the car market and we could meet there. I set off for the market.

Barely out of the street, a car honked at me. And it was indeed, the guy. Friendly, but very weary he had indeed driven all through the night (640 km, 10+ hours). His girl friend and another girl were with him as well.

He inspected the car, had a test drive and was very impressed by it. It turned out his girl friend had a car like that in the past, and he was buying it partly for her enjoyment. And it was the low kilometers on the clock that had attracted him, just as it had attracted me.

Now for the slight money problem: would I take 1200 NZD in cash? He had no more on him, and it would take him a day or two to get more. I refused and he suggested several ways to transfer the money to me the next day. After some deliberation I decided not to do such things. This made him anxious (asking again and again if I did not just want to accept the 1200 NZD). And he started calling around frantically to his family in Auckland.

I felt sorry for him, but decided that it really was his problem. I offered to sell him the car for 1200 NZD if it did not sell at the car market, and started heading for the market. Again. But this time before I had even reached my car, he had spoken to an aunt that was willing to loan him the missing 250 NZD.

Long story short (way too late), at 12:00 we sealed the deal. Since the post offices -where you perform the legal transfer of ownership- are closed on Sunday, and he was short on time, we setteled for a nice hand-written contract.

All in all an interesting way to sell a car. And I’m happy for the end result. Happy for the guy that really wanted this car, and made serious effort to get it. And happy that I kept to our deal and traded at a slight profit. Overall the car still cost me money (spent on checks, insurance, AA, service, new tire, etc.) but way way less than a rental car. And it was a cool experience to boot.


Read Full Post »

This card game has been the absolute hit of my holidays and -as promised- I dedicate a post to this great game. I so enjoy unleashing this game on unsuspecting fellow backpackers and trampers.

The original game is called “Kuhhandel” and is a German and dates from 1985. Kuhhandel roughly translates to “Horse trading”, but the English version is called “You’re bluffing!”.

The best place for information about this game is at BoardGameGeek. They have rules in all kinds of languages, and links to people selling various languages of the game.

I’ve done my best to hunt down a place to buy this game online, but so far I have not been lucky. The Gamekeeper in Amsterdam had lots of copies of the game last time I was there, so the best I can offer is their email address: info@gamekeeper.nl . Since the game has no words on any of the cards, it really does not matter which language you buy.

Read Full Post »


Trademe is the Kiwi equivalent of eBay. I’ve posted my car on there, trying to see if I can sell it without having to hang around car markets for too long.


And I’ve already had a couple of reactions the very next day. That’s encouraging!

Read Full Post »

Good gods!

The trip was good. Very good. The weather fine, even when it was overcast.

The hike to the first hut heavy, but interesting. The hike to the second hut glorious. Nice mountain pass with great views, and a lovely valley to end up in.

And the side trip to Lake Crucible in one word unforgettable.
This picture shows one of the beauties of the lake. If you sit on the stone in the lower right corner, you will see the entire face of rock reflected into the blue lake. Very hard to get onto a picture, but very beautiful nonetheless.

On the trip I met a group of four very decent Kiwis: Alan, Scot, Steve and Collin with whom I spent some good times, and who were eager to play card games and Koehandel.

Oh, and the trip back… I decided against taking an airplane. Just didn’t seem flash enough.

Read Full Post »

More more more!

Today -during my mandatory rest day after the Reese-Dart- I’ve decided that I haven’t had enough. I’m starting the Gillespie pass track tomorrow. One of the great things about this walk is that there is an action/adventure tour heading into the area by plane. And if you’re lucky you -as a tramper- can hitch a ride out by the departing plane for only $40 (20 Euro). And the plane departs from exactly the right hut, so that you’re only missing out on the less interesting part of the tramp.

So tonight I’m making a secret not so secret offering to the weather gods and airplane deities hoping I will be fortuitous the coming days.

Read Full Post »

The last two weeks have been all about hiking, or tramping as they call it here.

First the Kepler track, a nice warm up track. The Kepler is a ‘great walk’, meaning that it is a sort of state highway through nature. Boardwalks, ladders, steps, bridges and track workers that actually remove the stones from the track so that you won’t sprain your ankle. Still the Kepler was a nice and sometimes strenuous walk.

At the first hut (Luxmore hut) there was a cave to explore. Very nice.

Margot, I understand some of your lighting problems now :)

The second day was the only overcast day of my hiking so far, but that did not detract from the beauty of some of the tracks. Walking across a ridge between two mountains, being accompanied by Kea birds (no photo of them sadly).

The last day was hiking to the pickup point. Very varied views, including nice lake and river views.

This trip had wetted my apetite for more hiking adventure. So I decided to do the more demanding Reese-Dart track. But not before spending a day or two in Queenstown doing absolutely nothing. Well, maybe appreciate the view from the backpackers, and play a few holes of frisbee golf with a stereotypical Japanese guy. Hilarious!

Next day consisted of more preparations, getting to the start of the track, and a small warm up hike. And then, finally I was of. And this time the track started like a real track. River crossings, marshes, following stone men for direction, clambering and in general requiring some level of walking experience to make it safe. But the scenery and views were beautiful!

The second day was the day I had to change my expectations. I was hoping to combine the trip to the next hut with a side trip to the Cascade saddle (a serious 8 hour side-trip), which incidentally was a plan concocted with a cute Israeli girl, but first I overslept and then my trusted Platipous turned on me and became a leaking liability. It took a few hours to dry my damp down sleeping bag, and killed any chance to make the side trip.
Drying stuff in the sun.

To make up for it, the trip introduced some of the best river sections I have ever encountered. Including the perfect stones to hop around on, and to sit on and soak in the power and turmoil of the water. Plus snow bridge as icing on the cake.

Picture rotated… will fix later.Oh, and I want a house with this view!

So I decided to prolong my trip by another day, and did the side trip to the Saddle the next day, together with Melanie, Brent, Tami and Leo who -by now- had become my travelling companions. We were headed the same way on the same time schedule. There were lots of people going slower/faster or the other direction. But the five of us kept meeting up at the viewpoints or the hut. And these companions made the trip thoroughly enjoyable.
Melanie, marine biologist and fellow boardgame maker

Brent, photobomb!

Tami and Leo, a lovely and very sociable couple

The last night I introduced them to “Koehandel”, which was another top hit. And this afternoon we arrived just in time to catch our ride back to civilisation. And now I’m properly knackered but well satisfied!

Read Full Post »