After my week in Christchurch, my good buddy Alex flew down and joined me for our grand tour of the beautiful south island. We loaded up our Corolla, which we dubbed (wub wub wub) Carrie, and hit the open road.
This was a very visually stunning trip, so it’d only be appropriate to have some pictures. Still, the scope and true beauty of the place cannot be contained by words, pictures, clay figures, poems, interpretive dances, or Legos. But I’ll try. A picture a day.
Monday afternoon was met with rainy skies, the only precipitation we saw all week, and this huge rainbow. So bright. So vivid. A good omen for sure.
Tuesday was Queenstown. The adventure capital of the adventure capital of the world. This is the highest bungy in New Zealand at 134 meters = 440 feet = taller than the Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point. The jump came in three phases. 1) disbelief and shock. no grasp about what is happening. 2) holy shnikes! why am i falling so fast and so far? i am surely going to die. i’m not stopping! 3) holy shnikes! i am falling so fast and so far. i am surely going to die. i’m not stopping. and this is totally awesome! look at this view! all boxes and preconceptions blown for what 134m and jumping that far might entail. Afterwards I felt like I could scale mountains and crush ice. Intense!
Beautiful. Towering. True grit. Last summer, I had a dream where I saw two incredible peaks just as the sun was rising, electrifying them with a gorgeous morning glow. I had never seen them before, but when I woke up, the image was burned into my mind. I searched in vain on the internet with searches such as: “two mountains,” “gold beautiful sunrise peaks,” “dream twin peaks” (this just got me hits for the red room and the midget scene from the tv show. yeeks). I did not find the sight. When I was doing NZ research in the following months, I discovered Milford Sound and wouldn’t you know it, there were the mountains. Immediately I remembered the dream and knew that I’d found it and needed to see it for myself. I have lived the dream and it is sweet. Alex and I travelled with our Israeli friend, Adva, and our rally cry for the drive was, “Osher!” Hebrew for happiness. Milford Sound = שמחה.
I’ve never seen a glacier before. Thursday we saw two. Fox Glacier and Franz Joseph. We were able to walk to the deceptively close Franz Joseph and see it in its dirtiest, smallest form of the year: the end of summer and beginning of fall where it has melted and accumulated the dust and debris from the mountains, before its snowy makeover. It has receded an alarmingly large amount in the last 150 years. Global warming? It was quite surreal approaching it from such a distance and make seemingly no headway. Dwarfism mixed with the Hitchcock Vertigo effect = huge mountains that stay huge for a long time, even with cows and trees and cars zooming by.
People will ask me what I did for my 21st. They’ll ask if it was crazy. If I went ballistic. If I had a good time. And I’ll say yes. I’ll say it was more crazy than can be imagined. I won’t be able to tell them where I was because the place had no name. I’ll tell them how I felt more free than I ever have. Inhibitions gone I ran around and danced like a fool. I ended up without a shirt and with no shoes on. I clambered up rocky stools and drank up the sun’s rays. I had no money by the end. I was cut off by a tide that rose and rose. I was in the company of a good friend who let me have this time to just be free, go nuts, and be 21.
Sea kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park was rad. Five of us in our group, led by Sally our instructor, headed out to sea to see seals, postcard beaches, and tramp through beautiful greens. Lunchtime was well deserved and picturesque on this deserted beach. Chicken cesar sandwiches followed by coffee and carrot cake made for a yummy afternoon. We basked in the glory of the sun and sand until we felt it was time to tramp off through the trees and across more beaches to get to the aqua taxi that would pick us up. Sand flies ate me alive. I’ve never felt such itchiness before, but they were worth the trouble. I’d do it again, but with a healthy bottle of Goodbye Sandfly in tow next time.
Finally Sunday arrived, and so did Picton, the town that would be our hom for 11 hours as we waited for our 10:30PM ferry. We became Picton experts in approximately 35 minutes and the mystery was gone after that time. We passed the time by heading to the local library, eating fish’n’chips, kicking around a soccer ball, writing about rock’n’roll, and climbing on the playground outside the ferry holding cell. In my tired and sick of waiting stupor, I wrote this:
The time in the terminal ticks die die die
Minutes like molasses like a train goes by
Ferry in the water must be sinking in the sea
Reading Paul and John singing “Let it Be”
Distracted by the people and their noise
Wonder at their stories and the ploys
Waiting, always waiting for the welcome home
Welly on the water saying, “Son, you’re done”
Time is on your side
The mountains will be there
Forever like a promise
Made by someone close
The ferry was stacked with nice seats, tvs, and cows. Cows? Yep, the late Sunday ferry is prime time for cattle transport. It looked unpleasant to be a cow for that journey. We made it back to Wellington around 2:15 AM, Monday morning, just in time for classes later that morning!
Incredible. I’ll treasure this trip for as long as my brain will let me. My life be like Ooh-Ah.