Ralph Waldo Emerson

The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon.

Friday, November 23, 2007

new pics/new digs

For more pics go to:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8151765@N03/sets/72157603278592741/

Alright, lemme give you the fly by: I had 5 freaking awesome, magic, sea air filled days at Le Bons Bay Backpackers; another night in Christchurch; a week out on the road and in the woods with Flying Kiwi Tours and now am chilling out in Wanaka before heading into a week of extra work on a film in Queenstown. Whew.

It feels like Le Bons Bay was months and months ago, but suffice it to say that I’m totally in love. It’s just one of those places that seems to be locked in its own awesome little world where neighbors help each other out, kids go outside to play for hours and people try to live a clean, self-sustaining life on their rolling acres of farmland. Weird. When Gary, the owner, asked if they’d be seeing me around again I thought he was joking. YES.

But after 5 days I had to pack up my stuff so I could get to Christchurch and hop on my Flying Kiwi bus. Without getting into the nitty gritty details, I worked out a deal with them where I get to travel around in exchange for some work. I’m not usually a bus tour type of girl, but I totally love their way of doing things. We camp out every night either in the bush or in designated camps, have communal cooking out of the kitchen rig attached to the back of the bus and have a stock of bikes on the top of the bus that we pull down every day or so. Nothing like flying down a mountain at top speeds in the rain when you know a nice warm bus will soon be rounding the corner to pack you up and take you to some cool new place. The people, too, are of a different variety. In order for things to work, everybody has to lend a hand, so people really man up and work together—particularly when we did the Routeburn track. The guides on the trip are both newbies and so when they bought our food I don’t think they were quite thinking straight (at least that’s what they told us afterwards). I mean honestly, who brings fresh eggs on a trek? And pancake mix? Really? You got a fold out griddle you want to whip out of your bag? Ray Jardine would be appalled. But even so, after a couple days of trekking and swallowing down meals of spaghetti and instant potatoes, the crew of hikers were inseparable…which in traveler terms means we will make every effort to make a solid Facebook group.

So after the bus passed through Queenstown and people went about their requisite sky diving and bungee jumping adventures, I said my goodbyes and got dropped off in Wanaka to wait for the next bus to pass through. I’d been hearing about Wanaka for a while, and so far it’s definitely lived up to the hype. After spending a couple days wandering around the hills with a German guy from the trip, Axel, he headed off back to Christchurch and I got myself a job of sorts. I don’t really know what to call the place I’m living and working in, it’s not really a house, though there are about 12 of us sleeping here on random mattresses and bunks. It’s called the “Old Gym” and apparently it was the place to be for pro skiers back in the 90s. In fact the gym equipment is still all laid out right next to the broken down indoor rock climbing wall.

Besides Fiona, there’s a whole eclectic assortment of characters living in the house that have proven extremely entertaining. Team America is four people strong, with Nicole the hippie, Olivia the ski bum, Jeff the cute college boy and me. We pulled together a white trash Thanksgiving that was far tastier than it had any right to be. That was mostly because Team Germany has a resident chef that threw a stunning homemade lasagna in with our frozen food assortment. We like him a lot. Team Taiwan unfortunately had to leave a couple days after I came, but their contributions in the fried rice category were much appreciated. We’re a happy little commune here on the outskirts of town and have had many good nights around the bonfire or out in town at one of the three local bars. And, as ever and always, the trampoline out back provides hours of entertainment. What is with this country and trampolines?

So that’s about it for now. I’ve been working my butt off the last couple days with the rest of the crew so that this next week we’ll be free to do extra work on a Dutch-New Zealand movie that’s filming right outside of Queenstown. I’m sure it’ll be my big break, the critics will be going bonkers over Vineyard worker #42, you just wait and see. Happy travels wherever you all are.

1 comment:

Carol said...

Wait. So did you go skydiving and bungee jumping? I think I should know if I have to worry about this anymore or if you've gotten it out of your system.