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One traveller's day-by-day account of a year-long journey through Japan, China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada

who'd lurked the best part of the week in Kaikoura and who'd had every trip cancelled.

So it wasn't a great surprise when I rolled up at the, ahem, Whale Way Station on a gorgeous day but for a huge bank of fog far out at sea. The spotter planes couldn't see the whales through that, so my trip was cancelled. Luckily, I had double-booked yesterday, and so had another roll of the dice tomorrow morning.

I moved into the YHA today, unfortunately into an empty dorm all to myself. No matter, I was content to be on my own and I crossed the road to park myself down on the stony beach, soaking up the sun (skin-cancer-tastic: they seemingly have no Ozone Layer down this way), taking in the view of the mountains looming silently over the bay, and scribbling my diary.

In a one horse town like Kaikoura there wasn't a great deal to do apart from laugh at the crap whale-associated souvenirs on offer. So a trip to the local Pak'n'Save supermarket became the highlight of my day. I picked out a cheap and (unbeknownst to me) tasteless steak to accompany my pasta'n'sauce, and even went wild and picked out a bottle of red to wash it down with.

"I'm going to have to ask you for ID," said the stern-faced, middle-aged checkout lady as I