The Big Trip – Day 10

Mostly listening to: the streets – a grand don’t come for free (simply stunning album, the world needs more story book albums)
Sleeping on/in: bunk bed aboard the milford wanderer. anchored somewhere in milford sound.
Coffees: two good ones. One vile black instant coffee. And I only drank half of that.
KMs: 2100
Weather: pretty cloudy
Place name of the day: knobs flat
Company name of the day: dial a hubby – odd jobs and home maintenance.
Beard up date: like a weasel with radiation poisoning

Covered a lot of ground this morning. Drove from queenstown to milford sound. As the crow flies (though I suspect it has more sense) it’s less than 100km. By road, it’s over 4 hours, half in the opposite direction.

Good drive all the same.

The road to milford sound (a massive fiord/fjorf, seen on all postcards of NZ) is pretty flippin spectacular. I now have neck strain from looking up all the time. And I was driving.

It’s also full of sand flies. Everywhere. Even at sea, there’s clouds of the things. How the flip do they get there? I confess I don’t really understand the life cycle and hopes and ambitions of a sand fly. Though hovering above the sea and being swatted by me was surely not in their plan.

We’re on a cruise. Well it’s a mickey mouse cruise. All our own teeth and original hips so not a proper cruise. It takes us out onto milford sound and all the way out to the tasman sea, spectacular fjords all the way along. It’s a 60 birth boat, full of drunken, noisy, young travellers who are travelling as a group. I suppose that’s who we’re meant to be but i’m not sure we fit in. More on that later.

The boat carries kayaks, and a wee speed boat. Me and si abandoned ruth and kayaked for an hour or so round the place. Tick box checked for something we both wanted to do while in NZ.

We spent most of the time paddling really fast from one side of the sound to the other. Mostly to lose the sand flies. Though they knew they were onto a good thing with us.

The biggest cruise ship in the world sailed past us. The ‘sapphire princess’. It’s the biggest cruise ship in the world cause the captain of our boat told us and he’s a proper captain with a hat and knows these things. He’s even got a proper captain’s chair and all.

It stands 63m out of the water. It carries over 2000 people. The whole scale of the thing amazes me.

I worked with a doc who was a cruise ship doctor for a few years. Worked for over two years and not a single death and then got two on his last cruise. Amazing there’s not more. Cruise ships are full of octogenarians who take so many pills that if you shake them they rattle. And people who have terminal illnesses (though being an ocotgenarian – brief note, morsies thinks an octogenarian is someone who likes octogons – is almost a terminal illness, especially if i’m involved in your medical care) who have sold the house and are seeing the world before they leave this mortal coil.

I like the idea of being a cruise ship doctor. It’s one of my ambitions. Though I perhaps base it too much on TV’s ‘loveboat’. I think it’s the buffets that sell me on it. And bunk beds. I love bunk beds.

The cruise ship doctor fantasy is probably a bit out of character as it’s enforced, corporate happiness on a scale I would normally abhor. I think it’s the possibilty of getting to wear a hat of some kind and a shiny white uniform.

Currently we’re sitting in the lounge/galley of the boat trying to ignore all the (drunken mostly) revelry. There was a group renditon of weezer’s buddy holly a few minutes ago. We’re not revellers. Never have been, never will be. I’m the boring guy at the bar, reading an old novel while the others are dancing on the bar. Theoretcially. I have no intention of going to a pub where dancing is even a possibilty.

I read the paper. Si reads the jonny cash autoboigraphy, occasionally asking for help with the big words. Ruth’s answer to entertainment problems is ‘anyone for a puzzle?’ she’s been carrying one of these puzzler magazines with her. With a disturbed looking child with pig tails on the cover. The girl likes her sodoku.

Perhaps I missed out on the drunken, loud moments of my youth (like i’m not still young, 25 is still young? please say yes…), and I have no regrets about that. Being loud and obnoxious and overly cheery was never a trait I got round to. Being arrogant and snobbish and pseudo-intellectual was more my thing.

Though I lie. Maybe I do have regrets. Maybe i’m just bitter that i’m not much of a party animal. I’m barely a party protozoa, never mind an animal. Maybe I want to be loud and brash and young and drink too much and talk to lots of girls. Apparently that’s meant to be the point. ‘apparently’ has always had a big influence on me.

So maybe I just entered puberty at a social age of 45 with three kids. Feels like that anyhow. I worry far too much about who I think I am, or who I think I should be. I worry about who I might become, and who i’m in the process of becoming.

Somewhere a long the way I manage to get my head out of the sand and catch on that there’s life going on all round me and in the words of red from shawshank ‘get busy living or get busy dying’.

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February 2007

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