The Big Trip – Day 9

Mostly listening to: steve miller band (the joker), spin doctors
Sleeping on/in: poplar lodge hostle – arrowtown, near queenstown
Coffees: 2
KMs: 1870
Weather: oh so very hot
Company name of the day: a woman’s touch – cleaning services.

Wanaka is a nice wee place. Nice lake, nice lake front, nice scenery. Not too many people. Never a big fan of people.

Anyhow, time to move on.

Today was queenstown. Founded on the basis of a glod rush some 150 years ago. Some guy Hay turned up in search of farm land and converted an abandoned maori raft into a sail boat ans scouted the lake in mid-winter. Then proceded to walk the 230 KM back to dunedin to claim the property rights and found somebody else had beat him to it. Got to be gutted about that. Yes I do read the tourist info signs.

Gold rushes are a weird thing. I can understand the panning thing, or if you happen to find a seam of gold. But people just turned up here and started digging holes and crossed their fingers.

Queenstown is now the archetypal kiwi tourist, adrenaline capital. If you wanted to throw youself off of it, you can throw yourself off of it here. The first commercial bungy jump was here. There’s paragliding, handgliding, waterskiing, wakeboarding, river surfing, canyoning, jet boating and other pointless, silly, moneygrabbing activities that I don’t even understand. And there’s a lot of money in them.

I’m cynical, mostly cause i’m too scared to do any of them. I’ve been to the same bungy site in NZ twice now and have chickened out both times. Bungy jumping is probably one of the safest things you can do here (compared to say mountain biking or driving to work or stealing food or criticising the all blacks), but it’s just the concept of the voluntary jump off the thing. Seems all wrong. Plus, I object to the whole commercialised, advertisement driven push of the whole adrenaline culture. And that sounds like a much better excuse than being a scaerdy cat.

Simon is worse than me (in many ways of course…), watching the other people bungy jump was an adrenaline rush in itself. We then took a gondola up the hill overlooking queenstown and there was a further brown trouser moment. It’s mum’s fault really, she’s kind of scared of everything – heights, flying, enclosed spaces (she wants to be cremated cause she doesn’t like the idea of being in a box). Me and simon are convinced we can blame all the neuroses and insecurities on our parentage, but still claim all the good bits for ourselves. Though I doubt nature/nurture works that way.

And the beard off has come to an end. Simon’s beard (the beard police are tracking us down to prevent the devaluing of the word ‘beard’) has officially come off. To be honest it looked as if a hot meal and some TLC might induce it to crawl off of its own accord. Mine continues in hairy abundance, itchy and looking like a school boys attempt to get into a night club but i’m on holiday ain’t I?

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February 2007

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