The Karma Pot

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Thursday, May 18, 2006

'Scott, is that yours?'
'What do you think!'

The face of Queenstown has been evolving of late, as it does at this time of year. I remember just before leaving Queenstown last May, the Department of Conservation office disappeared overnight to be replaced with a trendy outdoor winter-sports outfit offering everything in the way of gear to suit the winter adrenaline junkie. Some of the shop frontages are disappearing already, morphing overnight into snowboard workshops, ski/snowboard rental houses, trendy winter clothing retailers and ski outfitters. This has all been exciting enough but it's also meant an abundance of ongoing clearance sales of all the 'must-go' tramping, camping and outdoor adventure gear. The prices have been stupid. Actually, they've been realistic - they're just stupid the rest of the time. I couldn't help sticking my head in and getting my hands on a quality outer shell which will be ample for the ski-season and even better for the Fiordland tramps.

There's something about the feel of things around here too. The whole atmosphere is simmering away with a kind of fiery anticipation. It's only a matter of weeks before the whole place kicks off. And the temperature's starting to drop. And we still haven't got any firewood. If we leave it too much longer we could miss out on a decent deal, and decent wood. So far, it looks like the months ahead are going to be expensive ones. Not only do New Zealanders generally have no central heating (a luxury I always took for granted) firewood isn't all that cheap either - about $70-90 for a cubic metre. Plus, the layout of our house means that we're not exactly sitting on a winning formula. While our woodburner pops and crackles away happily in the corner of the living room and we sit around burning the bucks and baking ourselves stupid, our bedrooms grow cold downstairs, so it looks like we'll be using a shit load of electricity to fuel our bedtime heaters. Oh and the power companies put the electricity prices up in the winter too, which is nice.

But it's all good. Winter's just about upon us and it's a great feeling. As much as I love the summer and the lifestyle it brings, there's nothing like sitting next to a crackling fire with the cold locked outside and a copious helping of hearty food, good company, a few beers and a guitar or two. And then of course there's the 'winter adrenaline' to get all excited about, but that's all coming soon!

It's been an exciting time for Jez lately. It seems that the little dark horse has been busy dabbling in the world of fame and fortune. It all started when he went along to the local talent agency to submit his particulars for their database (and to try and get in on the action as a TV/film extra). It turns out his face just happened to fit when they called him up recently and offered him a part in a new movie ('The Waterhorse'), which is currently being filmed here in Queenstown. It's set around the World War II era and thus has a war scene - of which Jez has been assigned the exciting role of 'gunner'. He's been away all week on secret location somewhere across the lake amongst the mountains being trained in weaponry, drill and all sorts of military madness. And he's been getting paid for it. They've cut his hair into a classic forties style and even made him grow a Hitler type mo to enhance 'the look'. Obviously the poor lad's took a lot of shit over it but he's took it well, like a real soldier. He will of course have the last laugh when we finally get to see him on the big screen screaming bloody murder through the South Island wilderness as he winks at the camera through the corner of his eye!

As well as the excitement of the impending ski season, and particularly now that I've commited myself to a few more months here, I've busied myself with other things. I joined the library, the gym and have started to become a familiar piece of the small-town furniture. I've also become more involved with Travelpod, which is one of the reasons why I've been a bit quiet and 'da logue' has been a bit dormant. Basically, they got me on board as one the forum moderators, offering help and support around the 'travellers resource/traveller community' branch of the Travelpod website. Check out the Travelpod News! for more info...

The whole setup's called 'Travelpodium' and like other web-based forums, it's a great way for like-minds to share information and tips, and also offers the chance to give and get general all-round support within the ever-expanding traveller community. It's been great to be onboard and we've already got a sizeable little community going. And it's growing fast. Helping out has took a lot of time, but I've had the time to give so it's been a rewarding exercise. Since leaving England in '04, I've been shown unforgettable levels of kindness and help along the way. The very least I can do is give a little bit back where I can.

So if you're following this travelogue as a matter of researching an up and coming trip, in the middle of a trip or just fancy having a nosey at what the whole community is up to, just click 'Forums' at the top of the screen from anywhere within Travelpod - it's a great resource oozing with inspiration!
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