Life! The Universe! And Everything!

Life! The Universe! And Everything!

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091217 - Hichhiking

2009Posted by Jonte Sunday, December 20 2009 00:03:43
The road goes on and on…
I’ve never really understood the concept until I started hitchhiking. It’s such a cool experience to have. To travel all these distances without actually paying for anything. We’ve been quite lucky though. We just left Queenstown yesterday and was only able to make it to Wanaka in one day. So we spent the night there, in the same hostel as before. And today we’re making our way to Franz Josef. Hopefully. We’re not sure how far we’ll get, but I’m keeping the hope up for the both of us.
Caroline has a cold which won’t really go away and it makes her grumpy and easily irritated. And being as generalizing as I am; she’s from the central Stockholm, so she’s slightly getting on my nerves. I can’t really tell what it is, but something about her behaviour makes me annoyed. She acts as if she’s better than everyone else. I even heard other people say the same thing. But I’m still going to travel with her for the time being, she hasn’t pissed me off yet, haha.

Anyway, moving back a bit in time… Queenstown! We spent a few more nights there than we thought we would, but wow, did I experience things. First of all, the skydive, didn’t happen the day after. The weather wasn’t good enough for a skydive to take place, so I waited around until it was time for me to do the Bungy and Arc combo. Oh my god, the feeling was amazing. First there was a bus drive up a tiny gravel road in the mountain, most places didn’t even have any rails, and the rails it did have consisted of barbed wire for the sheep… and a 100 metre drop straight down.
When we finally got up there it was quite windy, but not too bad. Although the small cable “car” which took us out to the “building” hanging from the cables where you do your jump was swaying a lot in the wind. It had only a metal fence and a metal floor with holes in the metal so you could easily see down to the ground. In the cable-building they equipped you with ankle-pads which were later hooked onto the bungy-cable when it was your turn.
I was the first one out and to be honest… I was able to keep a straight face and be rather relaxed and calm on the outside. But inside I was bubbling with uncertainty and fear. Which I do believe you should when you’re about to do something as crazy as that; leaping from 134 meters into a canyon with a river running through it. It’s an amazing and beautiful place by itself. But standing there on the tiny ledge, looking down to the bottom below. Your whole body tingles.

I was the one to jump first. And so I went up the platform, attached to my bungy-cable and stood on the platform. “I’m going to give you a countdown… 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.” and I leapt. I shifted my body forward so I came out of balance, and before the mind kicks in there was only one thing I could do. A no hesitation leap straight out into nothingness.
The ground comes at you quicker than you think, but the adrenaline pumping through your body is amazing!
It’s the most fun thing I’ve done in my entire life. And the recoil of the elastic band isn’t as bad as it looks. It’s very slow and nice actually.

So, after having the greatest adrenaline rush of my life, I went to do the giant swing! 120 meters up in the air, you swing in a gigantic arc which stretches over 600 meters. Of course, I chose to do that one hanging upside down, facing the way I was going.
The swing was more of a nice, relaxing feeling than an adrenaline pumping one as the Nevis Bungy. It was still nice as hell though and I don’t regret for one second the money I spent on them.

The day after that the weather wasn’t good for skydiving either. So it didn’t happen that day. But I did go on a Jetboating trip. Which was… not as good as I hoped it would. It wasn’t bad and is probably really good for families who have children which are a bit older. They’re very skilled drivers who knows the waters and rocks perfectly as they’re speeding through the rocks and canyons at 80 km/h , licking the rock walls and doing 360 spins (only one at a time though).

I also met Helen (from Byron bay!), who was also in Queenstown at the time working as a teacher for university students.. Heh. It’s funny when you think of it… Not the type of character I would expect in a teacher.
Anyway, we went out during the evening and just enjoyed ourselves. She’s so much fun!
I got a few hours sleep and went to the skydive centre hung over (due to my state I was late and thought I didn’t have to go to the centre that day, but apparently they were already waiting for me… So I ran from my hostel (bumbles) to the skydive centre for N-Zone.
They shipped us out and we finally headed up in the tiny, tiny plane to do our first jump ever! The plane doesn’t have any seats and to be able to stand you have to be smaller than a midget.
It does have a padded floor though and the door is made of a thin sheet of plastic.
Then they open up the door and you’re suddenly 15 000 feet up in the air. Looking down at the clouds. And suddenly you’re being moved to the door itself and you soon find yourself sitting on the side, feet dangling underneath the plane.
Then it’s time for the jump and you don’t do anything. The instructor does all that… and after that… you’re just falling. I imagine that dying from leaping from such a height must be very comfortable. But after 60 seconds of falling through the sky the parachute opens up and you feel a tug, then you’re soaring… just floating through the sky. It’s an amazing feeling which is hard to describe. But I’ve thought about actually becoming a skydiver after trying this. Doing this as job, or even just for a hobby would be awesome.

The same day as I did that me and Helen went up the mountain in Queenstown. We walked up (because tickets costs money) and it was quite a long walk uphill. It didn’t have a proper path for those who weren’t able to walk well, but for me and Helen it was fun. Carro was going to tag along, but she was so sick and slow that she turned back to the hostel. But we continued onwards and upwards!
We got a lift from some guys who were driving up on the last way, which was awesome. Up there we drove something which was called Louge. Which is like small cars you drive down hills on a track. It was funny as hell and me and Helen were racing and trying to knock each other off the track. Sooo much fun!

Now we’re currently in a car with a swizz guy who picked us up on our way to Franz Josef. He’s backpacking as well, so we’ve stopped at a few different locations, taking pictures, enjoying the views and just being amazed at the nature in this incredibly beautiful country. We stopped by a beach where the rocks were flat and been grounded down by the sea to make them smooth as a baby… I took a few with me, no big ones though. The entire side of the beach was covered with small towers of stones people have built as a memory. ..we did that too.
So, right now I’m looking out and on either side there’s mountain ranges covered with trees. And on top there’s a few wisp of clouds that’s stretching their way down the mountain side.
It’s easy to see that this is the youngest land mass on earth with its incredibly lush and energetic country. It blows you away.
Those of you who’s seen Lord of the Rings movies and think the scenery is beautiful.. You ain’t seen nothing yet. You see scenery similar to that on a daily basis.

There’s been a change in climate again now as well. It’s more lush forests around the roads and they are more windy and small. I’m indeed very impressed with this country and I’d love to travel and trek here some other time. It’s a shame the wages are horrible. 12-13 NZ dollars an hour is a normal minimal wage, which most people get. Which is about 60-65 SEK… And it’s still rather expensive to live here. A night in a hostel costs from 27 dollars for the cheapest. And food’s not cheap either.
So before I do come here to work I need a good education and resume so I can get a good job, haha.

Now I’m going to fall asleep I think, it’s been a long day and I’m slightly growing tired of Carro’s constant hopelessness if we don’t get a ride in 30 minutes. It takes her about 10 minutes to grow bored and start going “This is going to take forever! We won’t be able to make it what so ever…” Etc. etc. etc. I do believe that the sickness is making her tired, but she does also have a lot of stuff and doesn’t pack very well, so she’s carrying a lot of extra bags, hanging when she’s walking.
I’ve only got my backpack, the food bag hanging from that, guitar and fire staff. I repacked all my things yesterday so I could optimize my backpack. And my backpack is getting rather heavy on that note, I’m going to try and weigh it just to see how much it actually weighs, but I think that, with the food bag, it weighs at the very least 30-40 kilos. Probably more. It’s fun though.

I’m running out of days now though. And I fear I won’t be able to go up north to see Tee. Which sucks. Because I really wanted to do that, but then again. There will definitely be another time for that as well. This trip has taken me around the southern island and it’s so expensive to take the ferry to the northern island at this point. But whatever happens I’m confident that I’ll be satisfied whatever happens and I’m overjoyed that I got to meet Helen again and spend some really great time with her. Nothing is ever boring when you’re with Helen.
She even taught me how to make chickens out of kitchen towels. Which now is my new mission. A kitchen-chicken invasion!
As I said… Nothing is ever boring with Helen around.

I wish you all very well and I shall be seeing you later! … Hope I can upload this soon.

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