Alright, I’m pretending that these are two separate entries so that it breaks it up a bit. I guess I really don’t have to reveal all my secrets, but oh well. After Mount Cook, I headed to Wanaka on Sunday. And shocker of all shockers Wanaka is also beautiful. There’s a lot more going on here – i.e. they have a police station, fire station and more than one bar. It’s a really cute town with lots of adventure sports to partake in. However, a friend of mine has booked her trip (woohoo!) for the end of march, so I am planning to put a hold on that stuff until she gets here. I’m hoping over the next month, I will grow a pair and get over my fear of falling from bridges, airplanes and the like.
Alright, so Wanaka. After stopping in at the Info Center to see what’s going on here, I was given a flyer by a passerby. “Free barbecue at 5. What’s the catch? No catch. We just love God and want to tell you about it.” They had me at free barbecue. I’ve been eating pasta, rice and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the last week (the $10/day diet is in full effect.) So, on to the barbecue I went and upon my arrival, I realized most other people must be enjoying a similar cuisine as the park looked like the backpackers mecca. The bbq was fun with lots of good food and conversation. Until…
“Hi. I’m Seth.”
“Nice to meet you, Seth. I’m Kerryn.”
…exchange of some other pleasantries…
Seth: “You know, God really changed my life. It’s amazing what happens when you let Him in. He is great and represents all that is good in the world. He wants us all to be happy.”
More God talk. Blah blah blah.
Me: Trying to at least look like I’m listening. They did provide free bbq after all. And then at the first pause in breath. “You know, I actually have to run to the bathroom. I’ll be back in a few for the presentation.” Phew, couldn’t handle that much longer. I felt kind of bad lying to one of the big guy’s most devoted disciples, but I’m sure I’m already on the black last for other transgressions, so what’s one more? Good rationalization, until I went back to the hostel later and who do I run into at the door? You got it. Seth. “Errr. Hi. Great bbq! G’night!” Now trying to avoid common areas like the plague.
In addition to the bbq, I went to a movie theatre called Café Paradiso. They were playing Julie & Julia which I wasn’t particularly keen to see, but I’d heard really great things about the theatre. It’s kind of kitschy and filled with old, comfy couches for seating. They have yummy looking pizzas, quesadillas, salads etc. And the best part, about an hour or so into the movie, there was a delicious aroma of mystery baked goods wafting into the theatre. About 20 minutes later, the screen went dead, but not for the reason you may think. they take an intermission halfway through so you can stock up on fresh from the oven cookies, homemade ice cream or other goodies. Genius! And, as an added bonus, I met a lovely kiwi who has offered me a place to stay when I swing through the westcoast. Yeah for kiwi hospitality! To top it off, the movie was actually pretty good. Julia Child was a surprisingly interesting woman. I would recommend it to you if you can mentally prepare yourself for Amy Adams who played the most neurotic whiner alive. But I tried to edit her out in my head and it actually worked pretty well.
Today consisted of a run up mount iron, laying out on the beach (I take my responsibilities very seriously) and then a tasting at the Rippon winery. Okay, I know that many people are experiencing cold temps, so I will keep this description short. But, for my own sake, I want to document this so when I’m old and gray I’ll remember. First, the water is crystal clear. I’m now realizing that’s pretty much the norm everywhere in NZ because the lakes and rivers are from nearby glacial runoffs. But the best part was the sand in the water. It was so soft and the closest description I can think of is that it’s kind of like walking in a chenille pillow. I’ve also been lucking out on really good weather. Every day is usually 70-80 degrees. Even in Mount Cook which is typically overcast was warm and sunny. However, I’m heading to Oamaru in a couple of days for another wwoofing stint and the weather forecast is predicting 65. Eek! So I’m trying to cram in beach time here as the end of summer is rapidly approaching.
After the beach, I hightailed it to the vineyard to try to get there before it closed. Well, turns out I took a slightly wrong turn. I started walking down a dirt path (it has tire tracks so it seemed legit) where I then came upon a bull paddock and shed. Hmmm. Not the winery I was expecting. My time was quickly ticking down and it was already 415 and the tasting room closed at 5. Must hustle. Want wine. Look around at my options. A field to the right with no buildings in site, the lake ahead of me, the street back down the way, or a fence which may be electric. I’m going with the electric fence. Despite my week long adventure on the farm, I’m still a complete moron re all things farm related. A lot of farms have these makeshift fences made out of some kind of rope. They attach these clips to it which are in turn attached to some kind of battery charging looking device. David one time told me to jump the fence first to see if I’d get electrocuted. I assumed he was joking, but honestly not sure. So to be safe, I go into GI Jane mode. Obviously. I tossed my backpack over the fence. Then I dropped to the ground lying face up and did a full body shimmy to squeeze through. Can someone please tell me, have I been duped or is being electrocuted a legit concern? You never know how many more fences I may encounter. Gotta be prepared.
Anyway, after my death defying move I continued on and found the winery! Oh, wait. No, it’s a house. Ugh.
“Excuse me, I’m trying to find the tasting room, but I seem to be lost.”
Older woman with a sweet car: “hop in. I’ll give you a ride.”
Yeah! I made it to the tasting room and still with time to spare. After my first pour, I was looking around at the wall of articles about the winery and the woman in all the photos looked extremely familiar. Hmmm. Okay, yes, I know. She just dropped me off. And she is the matriarch of the joint. Turns out she and her husband were the first people to grow grapes in the region when no one thought it was possible. After reading a bit more about her and the family, I’m now getting the sense that they are the Kennedys of Wanaka. Which means, yep, I get to claim I met Jackie O! Score.
Alright, I’m getting a lot of emails from people asking me how long I’ll be gone, where else I’m going, etc. So a plan is starting to formulate in my little head. As previously mentioned, my friend is coming at the end of march and will be here for about 2 ½ weeks. I’m thinking about kicking it in the south until she gets here and then starting festivities in Queenstown. We will then work our way up the west coast through Nelson, Blenheim and eventually back to Christchurch (this is all unbeknownst to her.) I’m thinking at that point I may try to get a job and stay in Christchurch for a few months (Perhaps I would be so lucky if there’s a northface store in Chch? That way I can continue wearing my typical uniform of stretch pants, hoodie and flip flops.) Money is not a major concern for me right now, but I would like to stay ahead of the curve so that eating Ramen noodles doesn’t become a luxury. While I love exploring the south island now, I think in a couple of months, I will be ready to rest my weary bones for somewhere longer than a week. Plus, I think it’s fun to establish some kind of routine and really get to know a city by staying for a while. This is all dependent on actually getting a job, place to stay etc. But after that, I’ve been hearing great things about Melbourne and I’m thinking about potentially getting an Australian working visa to hang out there for a bit. I’m pretty much changing my mind as the wind blows these days, so tomorrow I could be informing you all that I’ve had a major epiphany and I’m heading to Africa to save the children. But, working can help extend this little foray to keep me going for as long as I want. Still not sure how long that may be, but right now I’m loving life and have no plans to return for a while. Again, tomorrow I could be sucking my thumb, rocking in the fetal position and screaming I want my mommy. But today, all is well. So that is the scoop.
Alright, sorry to all of you who managed to slog through this lengthier than normal blog post. I recently finished another ayn rand book and I’m feeling prone to 90 page soliloquies. I actually tempered my impulse to keep going if that makes you feel any better. Peace in the middle east.