Archive for April, 2010
I got up close and personal with a koala today. I had myself a little bonding time with a marsupial named Irwin at the Taronga Zoo today:
A little less up close and personal was my encounter with a ginormous elephant ding dong. And don’t act like you aren’t interested in viewing this video. If you aren’t at least moderately curious about elephant genitalia, then you aren’t human.
If you listen closely at the end of the video, you can hear a woman next to me say “That would make for a fun night,” and the another one reply, “Yeah I know, tell me about it.” Aussies scare me.
Apparently I’ve gone right past being fearful of driving on the wrong side of the road in New Zealand to being overzealous, because today I was given a “wee reminder not to speed,” otherwise known as a $170 speeding ticket:
I don’t know how $170 could ever be considered “wee,” and I was lucky that the nice constable didn’t clock me 30 seconds earlier, as the results may have been even more dramatic, but still, it was not exactly a fun way to end an otherwise fabulous vacation. If $170 is “wee reminder not to speed,” as Mr. Hot Fuzz stated it was, then I’m afraid to know what a “substantial” reminder not to speed might be. I’m assuming decapitation is involved.
The last couple days I’ve been tramping all over Mount Cook, which means “hiking” in New Zealandease. This is the view from the hotel room, which is totally awesome but reminds me a ton of the Overlook in the The Shinging. Probably just because it’s near a mountain and all creepy and stuff, because my brain really does work that simple:
We tramped all over this joint today. Seriously, it took like seven hours and man are my muslces aching:
I was all active and stuff. I don’t think i’ve been this fit in years.
I only fell down hard thrice. Once, in a river:
My shoes and socks and feet are all gross and wet and smelly but I don’t give a fig. This place is amazing, but at this point I am sick to shit of it, mostly because of the CRAPPY INTERNET ACCESS that I just paid 4 bucks per minute for and ain’t worth a fig.
I know I’m in a foriegn country because i just used the word “fig” twice in one post, and because there are a million asians around me right now.
Two days ago was Glacier day, where we toured glaciers. Yesterday was Winery day, where we went to (probably too many) wineries. Both days ruled:
Then today was a 12 hour coach ride to the Milford Sound, and I can tell you that in New Zealand, rainbows, glaciers, and waterfalls are a dime a dozen:
Fer real, New Zealand. Ain’t you got anything else to show me?
Honestly, though, it’s pretty awesome here, everywhere and all the time.
Like I said in the previous post, sometimes you need a break from mountains and waterfalls and rainbows and Lord of the Rings. So we went to Puzzling World.
You know the type of place. They had one of those rooms that has the slanted floor where things that should be rolling downhill are rolling uphill. This is the same room that makes dan want to barf.
But they did have this awesome room, although dan doesn’t tend to like any illusion that makes him look ginormous:
You can only take so many pictures of the most beautiful wateralls and mountains you’ve ever seen before boring the hell out of your camera, so you have to get creative sometimes or you’ll go bonkers.
Get it? Rocks?
New Zealand style.
Right now I am staying overnight in a B&B in Wanaka, which basically means that I am staying in my Gramma’s bedroom on the other side of the planet. Seriously, you should see this bedspread. Tomorrow it’s off to the birthplace of the Bungee Jump, but I will most likely be passing on that adventure.
It turns out that New Zealand is indeed very Lord of the Ringsy when you get to the west coast. Here are some random pics I’ve taken of pretty New Zealand things in the last couple days:
Kiwi wedding receptions are remarkably similar to American ones: dan gets sopping wet with sweat and dances like an epileptic cheerleader.
Although they are lovely people, it’s probably a good thing I will never see most of them again because I am mortified by my own behavior…
The wedding itself was beautiful and up on a hill in the middle of a valley and surrounded by mountain peaks, but those pics will have to wait until I have time to sort them all out.
My biggest fear of going to New Zealand was driving on the wrong side of the road. I’ve been told that to be politically correct, you need to call it the “left” side of the road and not the “wrong” side of the road, but since driving on the “left” side of the road truly doesn’t make any sense and is indeed the “wrong” side by anyone’s definition, I don’t feel too bad about being politically incorrect about it. Plus, American’s still don’t use the metric system, so we are equal offenders when it comes to sticking with stupid traditions that make no sense.
Anyway, so I was terrified to drive on the wrong side of the road, so I asked the seemingly kind lady at the car rental counter if she had any tips for me, and she laughed a little too heartily and then said with all seriousness, “Don’t die or kill other people, like the last guy…”
But it hasn’t really been so bad on the road yet, since there really is only one road and it only has too lanes. I’ve just been trying to make as few right turns as possible.
No deaths, yet.
The impetus for my Kiwi vacation is the wedding of a friend, for whom I had to help organize a Kiwi bachelor party. Except apparently in New Zealand they are exclusively called Stag Parties, so nobody knew what I was talking about when the Evite mentioned Bachelors and such. But regardless, I did my best and I made commemorative T-shirts and buttons (or “badges” in New Zealand) for the event, and we went lawn-bowling and Mexican-food-eating.
The proud Stag:
He was less impressed with my buttons and badges and more disappointed that there were no nipple tassels planned for the evening. He didn’t mention whether he wanted a stag or a hen to be wearing the nipple tassels, so I very nearly wore some myself, but unfortunately I had accidentally left my set at home.
Today I climbed a mountain to soak in the spectacular view of Lyttelton.
I think I’m in trouble. We’ve planned a lot of “easy” walks (or “tramps” as they call them here) to enjoy the scenery and experience all that New Zealand has to offer. This trek to the top of the Port Hills was an “easy” walk, and it kicked my ass. Hard. Is there a difficulty level above “easy”?
We took in a lot of Kiwi Kulture today. I liked this cool, floaty thingamabooby:
It’s a lot less “Lord of the Rings” here than I was imagining, but their accents still throw certain people for a loop. My travel companion got confused when I selected what he thought we were told was “Camouflage” ice cream, when in fact it was Caramel Fudge. And it was nummy.