Kooky Is As Kooky Does

Charleston Travel Blog

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The old school kitchen at the backpacker
The plan was to drive across to the west coast and spend the night in Punakaiki.  Unfortunately, when we called to book some beds for the night, all the rooms were full.  EVERYWHERE.  

The next best thing was to spend the night in the last town before Punakaiki and then switch for the following night.  We ended up in Charleston, a forgotten little strip of a town.  Once a booming settlement during the gold rush era, Charleston was the kind of place where if you blinked, you'd miss it altogether.

The backpacker we found was the home to a very rural, and, at the time, very drunk, outspoken kiwi.   I was lucky enough to walk into the room just as he was about to take off on a drunken rant about the Japanese.
The restroom at the backpacker
  My Asian appearance shut him up quick replacing his words with a slightly embarrassed look.   I actually think I had unlucky timing because what ever he was about to say would have been, at the very least, enlightening and perhaps even amusing considering his off-kilter mannerisms.

'Kooky' is a word I would have used to describe him.  And his house reflected his odd character.  The place was fairly old (a heritage house as we later found out) but seemed well kept.  The main room was large yet maintained a cozy feeling with its wood kitchen, wood furniture, comfy couches, and hardwood floors.  There was a building safety certificate posted on the wall.  It expired last August.  There were only 2 dorm rooms with a total of 9 beds.  

The bathroom was a whole other gem.
Jade jewellery hanging in the windows
  With only three stalls for the toilets and shower, the place had a transient feel to it.  Notes and messages in black, blue and green marker covered the walls written by previous travellers much like in old public school bathrooms.  Messages such as “when tomorrow comes think tomorrow's thoughts”, “chant Hare Krishna”, and “Garfield was here!” surrounded hand drawn pictures of flowers and alien heads.

And to add just another layer to the whole mix, the backpacker also served as a workshop and store for the proprietor's jade carvings.  Beautiful pendants and earrings dangled by the front windows and were easily missed by the cars passing through town.  I guess that's what happens when you blink.    
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The old school kitchen at the back…
The old school kitchen at the bac…
The restroom at the backpacker
The restroom at the backpacker
Jade jewellery hanging in the wind…
Jade jewellery hanging in the win…
photo by: Connie