Packing my pants

Trip Start Sep 12, 2005
Trip End Sep 11, 2006

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Mon (19th) I left Wanaka around 3pm and arrived a couple of hours later in Queenstown, checked into the hostel I was to be spending Christmas at and went off in search off Liz. This would be our last night together till after Christmas as she was heading up to Wellington to spend Christmas with her friend from back home and I was staying in Queenstown. Had a great night with the old girl, first out to an Indian where we were served by the strangest waiter I have ever met, and then on for drinks. Met a few people from the Kiwi Experience who we knew and the two of us had enough alcohol in us to have another bash at karaoke, this time murdering our all time favourite holiday song; Stevie Wonder's 'I just called to say I love you'. Tres amusant, as Liz would say, though perhaps not for those listening...

Tues (20th) Damn it this rain is most inconvenient. It lashed it down today and there is pretty much diddly squat to do when it rains in New Zealand, no matter how much the locals try to tell you otherwise. So wasted the day doing nothing, and eventually worked up the energy to watch King Kong that night with one of my new room mates (and soon to be good pal); Duncan. A decent enough film, though I couldn't help thinking if I was the lass who'd been kidnapped and taken back to the island I could imagine the crew saying "Ack well, best of British" and scarpering.

Weds (21st) Was a much better day weather-wise and due to my inactivity yesterday I felt obliged to get in a bit of exercise and so climbed to top of hill where the cable car runs up. Phew - that was pretty knackering! Decided the track was far too long and windy so climbed up along the mountainbike track (strickly off limits to walkers) which was pretty much straight up the side of the hill. Thankfully I didn't run into anyone on their way down as I doubt I would have been able to jump out of the way. God knows how those guys manage to keep control going down - it was so muddy and slippery with huge tree trunks that had fallen along the track. Met Duncan up the top of the hill, who was, thankfully, also looking quite breathless. We'd both had enough of walking by that time and so we managed to scab a free ride down on the cable car without anyone checking our tickets. Back at the hostel, a guy called Dan was in our room who our Dutch roommates knew. He was trying to talk the girls into doing the Nevis bungy jump (without much success) and I said Duncan and I would go with him. With that, we all (he also had a couple of mates wanting to jump) headed over to the AJ Hackett shop to book ourselves on for the following day before we had a chance to think about it properly and wimp out. Consequently, we had a quietish night out that night.

Thurs (22nd) Waking up at 10am I didn't feel too bad about the impending jump. It's fair to say that I wasn't completely relaxed but I just kept pushing the thoughts of throwing myself off a ledge to the back of my mind. Just as well really. Meeting up at 2pm, we all headed down to the shop where we had to do the usual signing your life away and be weighed. Then we had an agonising wait in the shop where 20 tv screens where showing images of people jumping of ledges all around the world. The worst images were of an native tribe in SE Asia where the bungy was first practised using vines. Often the boys who lept as a kind of passage into manhood would smash into the ground, although miraculously they all seemed to survive. After a 20 minute wait or so we all hauled into the van which drove 40mins out of town to the site. Thankfully Dan and I were talking non-stop about diving around the world and managed to take our minds off things for the majority of the journey. When we arrived we had one last time to go to the toilet and then had to get into our harnesses. Another weighing session with harnesses on and then out to the lookout point. Whoa, that's high! The jumps were to be in weight order, with the heaviest people going first and as the little carriage accross to the gondala could only carry 5 people at a time, I was the last out there. By which point, Dan had already done his jump and another guy we were with was just about to go. Stepping into that pod you could really feel the testosterone. Music was blaring out of speakers and I was the only girl there. The shreaks of grown men as they jump coupled with the glass floor were not helping my nerves. I had to wait an hour and a half before it was my turn. However, it wasn't until they sat me down in what looked like a dentist's chair to bind my feet up that I peered down through the holes in the floor and really started to get scared. I shuffled over to the platform which is an extra ledge only big enough for your feet with nothing to cling on to except the guy holding on to your harness. I peered over again. Not good. Then I heard the other guy working there that the "wind had really picked up" and that "she has to go exactly when I tell her". Oh Jesus. Just what I needed. Basically, if I didn't jump on cue I ran the risk of getting caught up in the other ropes. Suffice to say it took me three countdowns, and I doubt I wouldn't have actually gone through with it if it wasn't for the guys coaxing me on. Oh, and my 'jump' was more of a feeble hop. All the way down I was helicoptering round and round as my rope had become twisted in the wind. But I did manage to release my feet on the top of the second jump and so wasn't hauled up feet first like one guy. The rush was amasing and I was so pleased I'd done it, but I don't think I'd ever do it again from such a height. Every instinct in your body is telling you not to do it. You tell yourself to jump but your feet just stay firmly attached to the floor. It's surreal.
Anyway, after the jump we all went back for a well earned drink, got showered and then got battered. I was so chuffed.

Fri (23rd) I was really in two minds as to whether or not to go to Milford Sound, a beautiful fjiord area, as it was rather expensive. However, leaving things to the last minute and being a tight-ass does pay off sometimes as I found out the previous day that Dan was also wanting to go and so we decided to book the cheapest trip we could find that left today. Man we lucked out. Not only was the weather gorgeous, but our tour was great - there were only 5 of us on the bus and we left later than most tours, at 8am, which meant we missed the peak tourist hours on the fjiord. It did take an awfully long time to get there (4 hours each way) but the driver was great, telling us to shout out whenever we spotted something we wanted to stop for and we saw loads of gorgeous mountain scenery en route. Boarding the boat at around 2pm, we went for an hour and a half's cruise along the fjiord and again, we had the boat to ourselves. Dan and I sat up on front on deck despite a bit of a chilly wind and just got the best views of the steep mountain walls climbing out of the water. Further out to sea we even spotted some dolphins which came to play round our boat. Did have some equally stunning photos of this, but appear to have lost my cd with all the photos on - including the video of my bungy jump. I'm hoping it's now back home but I have a strange feeling I've lost it for good. So for now, you'll just have to imagine.

Sat (Christmas Eve) Duncan and Chris had gone up to the luge at the top of the hill overlooking Queenstown while Dan and I had been at Milford Sound, but they were quite happy to come again with me. So, had a great morning up there messing about on the luge, though perhaps should have worn shorts as opposed to a skirt...also got to watch our new roommate, James do the ledge bungy jump - this is one where you're harnessed in so you can do a running jump which looked a lot of fun. It was turning into a scorcher of a day and so we went do to the beach by the lake, though it was rather pebbly, and I even got in the freezing water (created from the snowmelt off the mountains) before heading back home. That night we had a fantastic night out, possibly my best so far in a bar called Winnies where we were dancing on tables and singing our hearts out to cheesy music. All very festive with many santa hats being passed around the place.

Sun (Christmas Day!) Woke up this morning feeling surprising perky considering the amount consumed the previous night. Yesterday I'd had the presence of mind to stock up on alcohol so we had an absolutely lovely day at the hostel which put on a free bbq for us all and then sat watching the obliquitary Christmas Day film before Emily came over to join me. She's paid for a ticket to eat a roast dinner at a bar down the road so after playing a spot of frisbee in the park we headed over there to say hello to the rest of the guys we knew. Then it was off back home where we continued drinking, this time on to the age old favourite of Baileys. Ah, Merry Christmas everybody!

Mon (Boxing Day) Wow, it was a quiet day in town today. Most people had left on their respective Kiwi or Magic buses, but I, forseeing a hangover and not wanting to have to think about packing on Christmas day, decided to stay an extra night. Ended up going to an afternoon showing of Narnia with Chris and then had a nice Indian with Chris & James that evening followed by a few quiet ones in Winnies again with Ben before heading off.
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