Christchurch, Queensland, Wanaka, Franz Joseph NZ

Sunday 05/18/08

We woke up, showered and checked out of the jailhouse bright and early. Kelly drove 1st which made me nervous at 1st since we weren’t used to the left side of the road, but she did surprisingly well. We stopped at an over price grocery store (eeverything in the Southern Hemisphere is overpriced p.s), bought some essentials, checked the road map, and made our way north to Queenstown. With our ipods handy and Tom Petty on the speakers, we were unstopable and opptomistic about our grand adventure. We found 1North and about 2 songs later we already found our 1st mission.

A hitchhiker.

Kate and i screamed from the back seat, “Pick him up! lets do it!” Without hesitation kelly did a dirt clouding U-turn and the ipod flew accross the car – we were all screaming and laughing in our excited girlie way (i think mikey was just scared). We pulled over, let him in the back next to katie and said “where to?”

He was heading to a small town only about an hour away in the direction we were heading. He assured us that NZ is the safest place in the world to hitch and every one does it. We later learned that this was the absoute truth. He had a familar face, simialr to Josh’s and was 22. His name was Teejay – but when he spelled it out “T- double E J-A-Y” katie thought he said T-W J-A-Y and blurted out “Tweejay? HA!” I had to explain to her that aussies and kiwis say “double” when there are 2 letters or numbers next to each other and we all made fun of her. From that moment on, we called him Tweejay in a semi retarded voice whenever we spoke about him, and maybe even to him, i cant remember.

His story was that he had gone to Christchurch for the night with friends, but got arrested for drinking outside and was put in jail for the night since he was too drunk to just get a fine and fill out paperwork or something. His friends had to get back home so he told them to go and he’d hitch home. He smelled pretty bad (but not as bad as kelly and katie said he did!) and he talked about things like, “thats a cop car, dont speed by those.” or “do you guys smoke pot?” he did tell us a few cool places we should check out and some roads with nicer landscapes than ones we’d planned on using – info only a local could tell so that was helpful.

We pulled into a small suburb for coffee, stamps, and gift shop supplies. We went to a cafe called Kelly’s, sat outside with our drinks and made pb&j sammys. Well, kelly ate her left over mexican and TJ didnt eat at all. Probably too hung over. He mentioned something about riding all the way to Queenstown with us, but we were already over the novelty of a hitchhiker and didnt really want to hang out with him all that time. We needed a plan and i was nominated to devise and execute it (wimps).

With mikey driving and the girls in the back with Tweejay we rocked out to Queen blasting on the speakers. Katie passed me a note. Confused, i started to read it out loud until katie screamed her highy pitch wail and kelly kicked/smacked me in the head so hard – im not realy sure what it was but it was a sudden slash to the head and i realized the note was about Teejay. It said “we think he pooped his pants – get him out! ❤ the girls in the back.” I started laughing so hard and tried to make a cover like it was about something else that we were hiding from Mikey, which made mikey want to know what it said and in turn made us laugh harder. Soon we pulled into a gas station to pee and i told the girls i would talk to Tweejay and say we wanted to stretch out in the back& nap so we’d rather drop him off in his home town (Tenaeu, i think it was called). We really didnt want to take him 6 hrs north with us. I thought it seemed like a good excuse. We got into his town and he told us where to drop him off and how to get back to the main road. He was a really nice kid, but just smelly and seemed bummed to get the boot. Oh well.

Mikey continued driving all the way to Queenstown. We pulled over every so often to take photos of the beautiful scenery; the mts, water, farms – everything was amazing. One place where we pulled over I slipped in some mud and my whole ass looked like i shit myself. About 30 seconds later my entire left hand and arm numbed up and had these weird red dots all over my skin. I freaked out for a minute, but tried not to panic too much. I didn’t feel anything when I fell over, like a plant sticking into me or anything, but it looked like i had a bunch of stingers stabed into where all the red dots were. It was freaky, but i just ignored the whole thing, changed into new pants, and hopped into the car.

In a few hours we arrived and decided to stay in a hostel called Southern Laughter. Mikey & I were in a 6 bed dorm and the girls in a 4 bed. We booked 2 nights and made soup for dinner. Kelly was tired and not feeling well – she was car sick the whole ride and it took its toll on her. She went striaght to bed, but mikey, kate and i went to a shitty bro-dude bar accross from the YHA on the main strip. We had a drink, listened to some alright tunes and decided to go back and get sleep for lack of anything else to do. One of our beds was wet for some weird reason, so mikey and i slept in the same one & got an awful nights sleep.

Monday 05/19/08

The next morning the girls woke us up about 9:30 and we showered and met them back in their room. By the time we made it down there, they were shitting them selves laughing because katie had walked outside and straight into an open window that was sticking out onto the balcony (really dangerous window actually). She cut her lip open and they had taken all these gross bloody photos. We wrote some postcards and booked ourselves a horse back riding session at reception. We had some time to spare before our horse adventure and walked into town. I bought a journal for $2.50 and decided to get a late start documenting our adventures. We took nerdy photos and caused a bit of trouble. I took my car turn and drove us to Glenorchy where we were all assigned to a horse and taught the very basics of how to ride one.

My horse’s name was Winston and he was the wild one of the group. He kept trying to run off and ditch the pack! Our guides told me to be stern with him and yell at him while pulling his harness quickly to stop. I was scared at 1st that i had the crazy horse, but i felt safe after i got him under control and the two guides told me i did really well & to stay confident so old Winnie would listen to me. (Winnie the poo – he took craps every 5 minutes). We learned to gallop but it was pretty hard to do so we mostly walked through some of the most beautiful scenery I’d ever seen. The lands had been filmed for Lord of the Rings which made Kelly happy – nerd! The girl who lead us was really nice and from NJ. The whole experiance was so serene and felt so unreal. It’s too hard to explain what it’s like to be so awed by the nature aournd you while riding a damn beatuful horse. so cool!

We drove back to our hostel and made pasta. We started drinking but had eaten so much we never felt the alcohol at all. The girls met a german guy, Richard Helmut Barth, who was staying in their room. He seemed serious, but fun. He came in the hot tub with us while mikey met a Czech guy named Joseph back in our room. Once we were all dressed we joined forces and went to a pub and played some pool until it closed. Then we went to another crappy bro dude bar for 2 for 1 drinks. We danced like assholes and even got Richard to dance (he said he hates dancing). We left that bar at 12:30 for a new 2 for 1 bar – had one more drink and decided Queentown is obvuously not known for its night life so we all walked home and said our goodnights. It was certainly an interesting evening, and we made quite the impression on our German/Czech friends.

Tuesday 5/20/08

In the morning we checked out – the girls and i did some grocery shopping and found a bead store to make necklaces. Mikey slept in the car like a boring turd. He didnt like Queenstow and was grumpy most of the time we were there. We met up with him a while later and headed towards Wanaka, where we thought we could do some scenic hiking. When we arrived at the hostel, Kelly was instantly in crush mode with Cambell, one kid living at the hostel. He was no doubt, a babe, but i didn’t think he seemed very friendly.

We grabbed a few drinks at an old pub and played pool by the fire place. Eventually we went back to the room and chatted over vodka drinks that mikey and i had bought in customs. (We bought 2 handles, but at the jail house mikey pured one down the sink thinking it was water in the middle of the night. I was so bummed). After sitting in the room, lots of giggles and stories of home, we decided we should try to go out and socialize. We had one drink at an overpriced bar and kelly spotted cambell and re confirmed her crush. We went home, Kelly and mikey were already drunk, but bought more beer anyways. Kelly needed the confidence. Katie and i hung out briefly in the common room while kelly & mikey attempted conversation with Cambell and his boys – but they were the lamest and so rude. Katie and i went to bed and mikey followed shortly after. Kelly stayed to see if the guys started to turn cool or something. Then she came back and made katie go out there and ask the guys if they thought her friend (kelly) was cute. I felt like we were 12 but it was pretty funny. They said ‘yeah why?’ and kate just replied, “no reason” and retunred with the results. Kelly acted like she’d forgotton something in the living room and got stuck chatting with the dudes that were not Cambell, but got out of it by telling them she knew how to use numb chucks. She showed them and under the leg move and then said, “my friend does it to” and said she would go get her and the numb chucks to show them how it’s done. Then she just went to bed with no return. HAHAHA best excuse to get out of a conversation ever!

Wednesday 05/21/08

We checked out and had breakfast at a natural food cafe accross the road. I had an amazing scrambled tofu and was so psyched about it. We started on our journey to Franz Joseph where we wanted to sky dive and glacier climb. We made the mistake of letting katie behind the wheel and drove around town for a while before finding our way out. It was hilarous – shes so mental. She drove into drive ways, took U turns, dead ends and we all laughed at her idiot ways, but calm nature thoughout the whole rucus. We finally found the road and made our way North towards the Glaciers. Mikey and kelly slept off their hangovers and just before fox glacier, kate and i did a quick walk to a swing bridge on this hidden rainforest trail. There were beatuiful blue pools and the swing bridge was pretty scary to walk accross, but we were bad ass about it. We yook self timer photos and laughed about asking people walking towards us on the trail, “is it worth it?”so easily amused. We walked back to the car after the giggle fest and continued the ride north. We stopped a few more times to take photos of water falls and beautiful rainforest scenery. Kelly drove the rest of the way once we’d stopped for snacks and photos so she wouldnt barf.

We arrive din Franz Joseph around 5ish and checked into the Rainforest Hotel. We had our own room with a bathroom for all 4 of us which was nice. Mikey and kelly had a pub meal while katie and i cooked Indian curry. We just hung out, wrote a bit and had some good bed time chatting. It was an early night, but we needed it for the nonsense to come.

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Game On

Well, Obviously I’ve been insanely lazy about updating my site, but to be honest the past few weeks haven’t offered any news too blog worthy. Or maybe that’s just an excuse for my lack of motivation.

Well as far as news goes I am currently unemployed. On Friday May 16th my boring temp. job finally realized they were paying me to sit on my ass and told me they didn’t need my help any more (hmm…I don’t think you needed it to begin with guys, but it’s your money and it was coming my way, so I can’t complain) I found it rude that they didn’t give me any notice and just said, “you can go home now,” but it was really a blessing. I needed to get the hell out of there.

I left the job around 1pm to meet Nikki at my place for lunch. I was a little worried about cash but decided to block that thought from my mind since I was about to embark on a nerd-tastic roadtrip around New Zealands south island with some rockin’ babes (and Mikey). Nicole drove Mikey and I to the airport like the good kid she is, always doing everyone favors. We flew Jetstar and round trip the tickets were only $400 each Sydney to Christchurch, pretty good deal. We arrived around 1030pm NZ time after an effortless 3 hour flight. Katie and Kelly were meant to pick us up at baggage claim, but when we didn’t see them anywhere in the tiny airport we figured they were either too drunk or too jet lagged. We rang Kate from a pay phone (our phones didn’t work) and it turns out they were both hungover and jet lagged and had been in bed since about 7pm. Fair enough. She told us they were at the Jailhouse Hostel which seemed appropriate since it reminded me of “Jailbreak” and Thin Lizzy always reminds me of Newtown, Ct. We asked the info desk how to get there and the guy at the desk told us how to catch the shuttle bus into the city. We were the only ones on the bus and the driver took us to the main square in Christchurch where the Cathedral is the main landmark. From there he told us to catch bus #7 which came about 5 minutes later and dropped us at the Jailhouse front door. All the NZ locals had been so hospitable, we were in a bit of shock since we’re so used to traveling to non-English speaking countries where the general population of locals is rude to us since we can’t understand a word they say to us and vice versa. It was a nice welcoming and NZ already had a comforting feeling about it.

The best part of the welcoming was seeing Kate waiting up for us at reception! She had gotten out of bed when we called to let us in since the front desk had closed up for the night. She showed us to the room she’d booked Mikey and I. We unloaded and then sat in the common room and caught up for a while about news back home and what we were up to in Sydney. after a while Kate needed to catch up on sleep and joined Kelly in their room next to ours.

In the Morning the girls woke us up about 10am (they always got up first, the whole trip). Mikey and I paid the cheerful receptionist for our room, we all took dorky “jail” photos and set out for some breakfast.

We walked into the town center (about 20 min walk) and found a cute cafe called The Daily Grind with all day breakfast on weekends. The cafe was okay, but I don’t recommend it for vegans. My sandwich consisted of 2 plain pieced of multi-grain bread (dry) with dry, pretty much raw veggies inside. It was so dumb. They did have a veggie burger but the chicks behind the counter didn’t know what it was made of and i didn’t feel like taking the vegan challenge.

After lounging in the cafe a while, we walked one of the few craft markets behind the Dux de Lux pub. We wanted to buy some presents for friends and fam but everything was pretty expensive (I was thinking on a unemployed pocket). So instead we decided to spend our cash on booze at the pub. We were the only ones in the pub (i guess we start early) but it was a lot of fun anyways. We played some pool and danced like nerds to the Bowie and Lou Reed tunes on the jukebox. I had an Indian samosa to make up for my shitty breakfast, we took pictures with a statue that reminded us of Legends of the Hidden Temple, laughed more often than we spoke (usually at something Kate did or said) and then walked back towards the 1st cafe in search of somewhere else to annoy people. We tried to talk to a little-ish boy playing Star Wars on his trumpet, but he hated us or was too awkward and mid teen to hang.

We ended up walking back to the hostel the long way. It took about an hour and Mikey was so pissed about it. After a few homemade drinks, we went out in search of “The Mexican Cafe”. The service was pretty rubbish, it took ages to get our food and the staff all seemed like they were straight out of “The Fast and the Furious” – too much hair gel and overly flirtatious with each other. The food was good once it came, but it is pretty hard to mess up a burrito. We ate til we were so full we could spew.

Next we decided to look for “The Media Club” which was having an Ian Curtis tribute show ( we read it in the free to do zine we’d found at the pub). Unfortunately, it was just a hall, like a VFW or something with a slide show of about 10 Joy Division photos on repeat, The Joy Division album on repeat, and a creepy goth/techno lights/fog machine joy division dance party in the next room. There were so many cape wearing, eyeliner vampires drinking beer and playing pool, I was nervous I’d catch the goth if I stood too close (been there, done that….I thought that was what highschool was for, no?) At least the night was only a gold coin donation entry and all the profits went towards suicide prevention, although that seemed ironic considering the “I hate life” crowd turn out…but who am I to judge. Maybe they were happy Marilyn Manson look alikes. We caught a cab home without even finishing our drinks and crashed out so we’d be ready for our next day’s adventure to Queenstown.