As I write this, I have baking in the oven of 4 Landcross a legit, completely 100% homemade pumpkin pie. I know I’ve posted this update on Facebook multiple times already, but I am just SO EXCITED. I’ve been hardcore craving pumpkin pie and other pumpkin/fall-related things pretty much since I got here, and hearing about fall at home just made the craving worse. So I decided to stop moping about it and make my own! Which turned out to be much more of an undertaking than I thought, seeing as NZ doesn’t believe in canned pumpkin for some reason, and it took most of the night. But SO WORTH IT. Anywho…
Day CUATRO y CINCO: Oamaru -> Queenstown
Queenstown was definitely my favorite part of the whole big trip. It looks like what I’ve always pictured Colorado to look like – a big ski resort type village. Not that I’ve ever been to Colorado nor would I know what it looks like, but it was one of those vibe kinda things. Anyway, it was beautiful of course, with lots of unbelievably reflective lakes and towering snow-capped mountains. The city was packed with tourists, but it was lively and pretty I and enjoyed it. Highlights:
- Exploring the city while Kelsie went bungy jumping. It felt like a more rugged version of Wellington. Lots of street performers and pedestrians, with cute little shops and pubs with outdoor fireplaces. We went into this positively amazing candy shop that gave us unlimited free samples of fudge.
- Dinner for Kelsie’s birthday. We went to this Mexican place and spent an ungodly amount of money on dinner. (Queenstown is unnecessarily expensive.) But it was so delicious. I tried each of their extensive collection of hot sauces, and I was in heaven. Oh how I miss Mexican noms.
- SKYDIVING, obviously. I DID IT. It was the one thing I really wanted to accomplish in NZ, but I had been consistently battling with myself about spending the money to do it. My soul would not let me back out, though. I was the only one of the three of us to go, but it couldn’t have been a more perfect day. B & K were allowed to come with me to the drop zone, so I had at least some moral support. After I split off from them, I befriended some dudes from Auckland who would be jumping from the same plane as me. I was the only girl, so naturally my level of intrigue rose by like 100%. My tandem diver’s name was Colin, the strong yet silent type. We bonded over our love of doing twirly things in the sky after the parachute went up. Skydiving is one of those things that you’re completely positive you’re going to kill yourself doing, and you convince yourself you’re not really going to jump, but then you kind of have to because there’s a much bigger-than-you dude strapped to your butt, and once you do it it’s like you’re the coolest person on the planet, and nothing compares. Freefalling is weird. You really can’t tell that you’re even moving at all because of how high up you are. So it just feels like a really big dude is pushing you really hard for like 30 seconds and you can’t breathe too much, but somehow it’s a good thing? And then up goes the parachute, and suddenly you can breathe/hear/feel your face again and life is beautiful. And then you’ve got a good five minutes of bonding time with you’re tandem diver. Colin and I discussed such stimulating topics as his hometown of Christchurch, beer, sheep, the comfort of wearing jumpsuits that ride up like whoa, and of course, doing twirly things in the air with parachutes. When I landed, I felt brand new. And to celebrate, I got some free coffee which unfortunately had no lid, so I spent the ride back crouched in the back of the van, holding my scalding hot coffee as far away from myself and others as possible while still trying to keep it from spilling everywhere. Initially I tried to chug it before we started driving (because I realized the precariousness of the situation), but wow was that a mistake, which I learned after burning my entire esophagus. Luckily, I was still in major adrenaline-rush mode, and in love with the whole world.
- FERGBERGER. Homygosh. Queenstown’s famous burger joint. These burgers are huge and fantastic, and I met a very nice British lad who worked there, who told me I had incredible eyes and who I probably should have married on the spot. Ah well, live and learn.
- Bungy jumping: something that everybody who is doubting what they’re capable of should do once in their life. B and I did one called “The Ledge” which is placed over 400m above Queenstown, but really you only fall about 43m. This was one where you’re attached by your waist and shoulders instead of your ankles, so you can just jump right off or anyway you want instead of being limited to a sort of swan dive, like most other bungy places. It was the single most terrifying thing I have ever done in my life and will never do again. However, I will still say it was worth it, because I’m pretty sure after doing that, I can do anything.
- Seeing 3248 people we knew in Queenstown. As in, my flatmate and his friend, and B’s flatmate’s friends, and my other flatmate was there at the same time but we didn’t see each other. Times like these really remind you how small this freaking country is.
What I did not like about Queenstown:
- The hostel. (Called the Flaming Kiwi Backpackers. Gotta love it.) For the first time, we actually had to share a room with… wait for it… OTHER PEOPLE. It was mildly terrifying. We had an 8-bed dorm, so it was relatively crowded. There was one girl that we bonded with, an Irish chick named Olivia, but everyone else was just mediocre or terrible, like this duo from California. These kids were OBNOXIOUS. The girl, who I had the pleasure of sharing a bunk bed with, was the most socially incompetent brat I have ever met. She started an argument with us on Kelsie’s birthday about why Macs suck and, of course, I immediately tuned her out and fought the urge to attack. And her little friend was gross and farted a lot and clipped his toenails in our sink. I was impossibly excited to get out of there.
I had mixed feelings on leaving Queenstown. Sad, because I loved the city, but happy that I would no longer have to severely depress my bank just to eat some noms. But I have a feeling I’ll find my way back there again, someday…