Ralph Waldo Emerson

The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Possum Aplenty

Alright, they're all bass ackwards, but I added some new pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8151765@N03/sets/72157603278592741/

Okay, made it to Sunny Nelson! Where, ironically enough, it’s currently rainy and drizzly. Ah, well, it gives me reason to sit down and update y’all with my current week’s adventures.

Flying Kiwi proved to be even more awesome the second time round. The group that I hopped on with was a whole mix of nationalities—we had representatives from Ireland, South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France and even another American. The crew had already been traveling around together for a few weeks and so were an unstoppable force of good times and happy carousing. From watching shooting stars in our camp on the northern part of Lake Wanaka to cycle rides, rain drenched glacier walks and rugby lessons, I had an awesome week. Oh and I went skydiving. That was good fun too.

Thus far, the West Coast and Abel Tasman region are my favorite places in New Zealand. They’re everything you’ve dreamed NZ to be: rugged, full of crazy people and completely gorgeous. One of my favorite stops was the Bush Man Experience. A white bearded man, who in any other part of the world would be institutionalized, runs a cafe/museum whose decor is a lesson in the many uses of possum skin. Let’s just say the seat covers gave me the heebie jeebies. The specialty of the cafÈ is possum pies and the museum is chock full of hunting pictures and equipment. Yes, this man is the essential tourism entrepreneur, charging suckers like myself $5 so that we can observe his shotgun collection, feed his wild boar and then watch his special documentary on the Kiwi tradition of capturing live game. Any film that begins with "Danger Zone" throbbing beneath video of a shotgun-armed man in a helicopter taking aim at various wild game is automatically high on my must-see list, I tell you what.

I have to say, though, it is well worth your ticket to New Zealand to experience that movie. Apparently the NZ government paid hunters to "control" the deer population back in the 70s, up until one forward thinking hunter realized that there was a market for red deer meat in Germany. So the hunters became trappers, capturing live animals to bring back to a deer farm. Easy, right? Wrong. These trappers decided the best way to get live game was to jump from a helicopter onto the fleeing animal’s back, wrestle them to the ground and then hog tie them so that they can be carted away, ankle up, beneath the helicopter. I’m not kidding. Needless to say, the end of the film gives tribute to all the good men who gave their lives to the cause.

Anyhow, I put the link for more pictures up at the beginning of the post. There’s not too many, but that’ll give you an idea of some of the gorgeous places I’ve gotten to go through. I hope all your Xmas and Chanukah and New Years’ preparations are going well—and don’t you worry, I’ll have a permanent address soon so you can send me all the holiday gifts you want. Bank transfers are also appreciated. Seriously. Just pop in a few thousand, I won’t mind. Love and miss you guys!!!


Carol said...

I hope you got that pie recipe. That would be special for Christmas Eve.

Brian said...

Now we BOTH understand rugby! Isn't it the best sport ever? Skydiving sounds like a blast too. Have a great kiwi christmas!