Friday, August 22, 2003

After the Earthquake

Up about 8:30, after a fairly restless sleep. An exciting night!!! Showered, went and had breakfast.

Checked out of hostel, left about 9:30, went to internet in town and posted my earthquake experiences. Left Te Anau and headed to Queenstown, through Mossburn, Athol, Kingston, then Queenstown. Got to Queenstown about 2:00.

WOW!! The drive to Queenstown is awesome, and Queenstown is one of the most beautifully positioned cities I've ever seen, situated on a bend on Lake Wakatipu, and surrounded by a series of mountain ranges on all sides. It's amazing here.

Checked into Southern Laughter, a hostel with comics and humorous quips plastering the walls. A chuckle inducing hostel. My favorite quip: "I used to have a handle on life. Then it broke." I laughed out loud when I read that one. I'm in an 8-bed dorm, and I was the first one there, so went inside the room, and it doesn't smell that good. OH well, I got my pick of beds, picked a bottom bunk, and then swapped my crappy, thin mattress with a thick, comfy mattress on a top bunk.

Walked downtown and around, then booked the Nevis Highwire Bungy for tomorrow. It's 134 metres, the highest bungy jump in NZ (perhaps the world?) I bought the complete package, the jump, t-shirt, photo's, and video for $259. Steep, but if I'm gonna do it, I need the proof. There's actually a higher jump in Queenstown, from a hot-air balloon, but it's not a true "ankle" bungy jump, which is what I want. The hot-air balloon one, you're strapped via a harness around the waste, which is dumb. I jump tomorrow, supposed to meet at the AJ Hackett (he's the guy who "invented" bungy jumping).

Back to the hostel, and decided to drive, so drove out to Coronet Peak ski field. Didn't get all the way to the ski field, just part way up the mountain, and WOW, amazing views!!! There are two ski fields (Coronet Peak and The Remarkables) within 20 km drive of Queenstown, with plenty more an hour away. Queenstown is a mecca for young people, they are all over, carrying skiis and snowboards, hanging out by the side of the roads, trying to thumb their way to the ski areas.

On the way back, I was driving along the highway in a pack of 4 cars, two in front of me, and one behind me. We came around a corner, and there was a copper parked on a side road, obviously looking for speeders or whatever. We all went by him, and then he pulled out, and turned on his flashers, and started following us. The last car slowed down and pulled over to let the cop by, and the cop went around him, and I did the same to let him by me. He didn't. Instead, he pulled up behind me, so I pulled over on the shoulder, thinking to myself, "What the heck? I wasn't going any faster than anyone else!!!!" I put my window down and waited for him. He came up, looked at me, then pointed to my shoulder and said, "What is that?" I looked down, I had my shoulder strap for my seatbelt underneath my armpit, not over top of it!! I said, "Oops!", and put it over my shoulder. He then remarked, "At least you're wearing it." He said it didn't look like I was wearing it because it was under my shoulder, he couldn't see it. He then politely lectured me on wearing my seat belt "proper", and said that could be a $150 ticket, but he was going to let me off, because I was actually wearing it. Whew!!! That is the FIRST time in my life I have been pulled over my an officer of the law. Weird that it happened in New Zealand!

Continued back to the hostel, then went to McDonalds for supper, then to McCafe (McDonalds specialty coffee and dessert arm...some McDonalds even have internet cafe's!) for a mochachino and a piece of double chocolate cake.

Back to hostel, watched TV, then a movie ("End of Days", starring the next governor of California), then to bed.

AJ Hackett didn't actually invent bungy, he apparently got the idea from watching locals on some island do it off a cliff. AJ Hackett just popularized and commercialized it.

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