To all you people in the States (and most places), this travelogue

update comes to you from the future. About a full day in the future

actually. Speaking from the future, let me be the first to tell you

that the world will not end tomorrow, and from what I hear nothing

monumental has happened in the US so sleep easy tonight.

My desire to ski 12 months this year brought me on an adventure to New

Zealand. It began in Colorado where I hopped a plane to LA, and then

onto Auckland. Thanks so much to Liberty for the 1st class round trip

ticket!

Just hanging out in the Red Carpet Club between flights, no big deal.

Up in first class we got our own beds. After my meal of roasted duck, I

enjoyed some martinis or wait, was this the cognac? or maybe the

champagne? or the courvoisier?  or...?

I think I had too many drinks, I swore there was a halo around the plane

I got to Auckland (North island) the next morning and caught another

flight down to Queenstown (South island). Here is my first glimpse of

Queenstown.

I hopped the next bus 1.5 hours to Wanka to make a life for myself for a few months. This is going over the Crown Range Pass.

Wanaka is a great little ski town located on Lake Wanaka, tucked

between snow capped mountains. Because I had no one to help me figure

things out and no idea where to stay, I holed up for a few nights at a

trailer park which can be seen on the far left. Oh yeah, did I mention

that the airline lost all my gear somewhere in the US? So, no skiing

for me for almost a week until they finally found and delivered all my

stuff.

Monday nights are poker night at The Local Pub, so I joined in and met

some nice people who offered to give me a place to stay. Well, actually

they let me sleep in a camper that was parked outside their house, and

now I am living in a nice big van outside the house.

At our household we play a game called beer darts. 4 people sit across

from each other in teams of 2 and shake up some beers which are then

placed directly between partners legs. Then you throw metal tipped darts at

the other team's beer in an attempt to puncture it. If someone hits

your shaken up beer, guess what? You have to shotgun it through

wherever the dart went it. I have no idea how no one got hit with a dart. You can just see the excitement on my face

as I face having to shotgun my 5th beer inside the first 10 minutes.

My empties stack up, but not before I land a few good shots in the roomie's beers.

On another day, we decided to take one of the vans to go check out

Puzzling World. First we stopped by the market to pick up (yep, you

guessed it) a sack full of kiwis. They are dirt cheap here (compared to

everything else) and you can get about 8 for the price of an apple.

In New Zealand they do a few things differently. They eat a lot of meat

pies, don't tip at restaurants, call bell peppers "capsicum" and

propane "gas balloons", pronounce the letter Z like "ZED", switch

on/off electric sockets (220volt), describe things as "sweet as", call

fries "chips", the trunk "the boot", the hood "the bonnet", ketchup is

"tomato sauce", and so on.  And of course they drive on the left side

of the road and use the metric system (along with the rest of the

intelligent world). Ever driven a right side drive, 5 speed stick,

column shifting conversion van? Yeah, meen neither. Thats right, the

stick shift is on the steering column and you shift with your other

hand. Yes, there is a clutch, and everything is backwards including the

gauges, gears, wipers, signals, mirrors, etc.

Rainy days are perfect for adventures.

Puzzling World is full of all sorts of interesting things, like crazy 3D clown holograms that move as you walk by them.

 

This is the world's largest room of following faces. Through an optical

allusion, their faces and eyes follow you no matter where you go.

And of course there is the room that seems to shift gravity. Does this

look possible to you? If so, I encourage you to bend all the way over

backwards like Trevor here by only bending at the waist. Now call

someone to help you get up when you come to.

Then we decided to take a drive around the areas where they filmed Lord

of the Rings. That seems to be New Zealand's biggest claim to fame.

Although there is no native wildlife in NZ (with the exception of ocean

life and a few birds), they have plenty of sheep, possums, and deer.

Yep, this is a deer (venison) farm.

Almost all of the bridges in NZ are one lane. Don't cross until you are sure the bridge is clear.

I think Gandorph or something is up there...

Another night I drove down to Queenstown with friends Ryan and Missy to

party and see the sights. And how lucky of us, we even got to meet a

New Zealand cop on the way there!

Queenstown in all it's splendor. Home to the world's tallest bungy jump

and sky diving, jet boating, skiing, and all sorts of fun.

We made an appearance at the local casino to play a little roulette and

whatnot. After borrowing 2 chips, I robbed the casino of $50 and we

were on our way with some money for dinner and drinks.

The nice thing with taking a camper van places is you always have

somewhere to crash. On the way back, we picked up a hitch hiker.

Although I ski Snow Park pretty much everyday, sometimes when the

weather is shitty it's nice to ski something besides park. On this

particular day my friend Trevor and I headed up to Treble Cone to shred

some pow and check out the view. If you ever get the chance to ski

there, take it! I think you'll see why from the pics below. Thanks so

much to Anna Thomas for the free tickets!

Treble cone is home to a handful of the 5000 remaining Keas in the

world. The Kea is an alpine parrot that likes to steal your food,

scratch and break into your car, and tear apart whatever rubber seals

it finds on your windshield, doors, and roof.

NZ doesn't get powder like in the states, but that doesn't mean you

can't find enough snow to have some fun. I didn't bring any

pow skis, but my center mounted all mountain LIBERTY HAZMATS did a great job (you like

that plug? pretty subtle, eh?).

If you make your way out of bounds, you can find some pretty hilarious

(and incredibly fun) bush skiing to be had. Lake Wanaka in the

background.

Well, I suppose thats it for now. This update is getting long, so I'll

save other adventures for the next NZ blog, dropping soon. Thanks to you all fine folks who read this entry, you are the reason I do these!


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