take a breath, jump over the side

Queenstown Travel Blog

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So its been a few days and well... they've been a heck a few days.  The day after getting into Franz Josef, well, must have been the luckiest part of this trip so far since for the previous three weeks it had rained non-stop.  In the morning, nothing but sunshine.  So I went up on the heli-hike (helicopter to the tongue of the glacier) .. fantastic views, incredible formations, sliding on my wet cold bum through little ice caves and crevaces.  Yes, there will be some pictures at some point, although I think some is an understatement as I took over 100.  At one point in the ride up, I could feel my finger getting sore from all the snapping that I was taking.  Anyway, it was a general thrill, esp. I have never been in a helicopter before so the feeling of the stomach going sideways .. well, when we went sideways down towards the glacier, away from the mountains.. well, it was worth every penny.

Halloween was in queenstown after a rediculously long bus ride.  I like magic bus (www.magicbus.co.nz) but this trip is long, long, long, and their stops aren't exactly .. well, all that good.  Anyway, I could complain about a ton of stuff, from the bus's lack of AC, (yes, we finally needed it) and the japanese guy that fell asleep on me,for a brief moment until I knocked him awake with the shoulder.  Only to find myself locked in a hunched position for about an hour since I had looked forward to see the mountains and everything else that was passing by and having him fall asleep with his head basically directly behind me.  Several prods with my waterbottle to his leg did nothing.. bleh.

Strangely enough, when we did stop and he was awakened by his girlfriend in the seat behind, he walked out of the bus, into the keawara (sp, first bridge that a bungee jump was attempted.. modern bungee...) and jumped off the bridge, attached with a cord.  So did my new friend Gavin, who was just cool a cucumber.  I may be nuts in some regards, but there's not a way on god's earth that you could get me to do a bungee jump.  Okay, there are ways but they'd involve freakish amounts of money, hookers and blow.  Ha ha.  Nah, him, couple of thumbs up, like he was running for public office and off.  Even did a water "touch" which involve him going in about half way.


After we got into queenstown, well, it was halloween so we all went out.  And drank, and drank and drank.  I had been with a group from the bus from Nelson, so it was like having a little surrogate family around .. it was fun.  Haven't had a night like that since Graymouth.  ha ha.  In any regard, the evening ended around 1am.. many funny pictures were taken and we said goodbye to those unfortunate few who only had enough time for a single night. 

Yesterday, I got up late.. (like after 8am), first time in awhile.. although that isn't really correct.  I got up when my roomate came in at quarter to four, five to evacuate the extra liquid and to drink some water, six, more water, seven, more water, eight.. well, you get the idea.  Grabbed myself a McDs egg mcmuffin, which just like the best hangover food ever.  Wandered around the town until the designated meeting time for everyone at noon.  Then over to the booking place, where we got our slot for sky diving over Paradise.  (Paradise, new zealand that is..)  Which was, stunning, crazy, amazing, etc.  I have to say a bit less of a rush from my first jump, partly because I knew what to expect (in some regards) and partly because I didn't have the same "oh my god I'm alive!!!!" reaction from the first time when I got to the ground.  I will say, its definitely not the most sane thing you can do, but you'd be crazy not to do it.  So, from Queenstown to Gendeloch (sp) its a 45 minute drive .. which was scenic and amazing, even blowing up and down the hills and curves at at least 70mph or more.. then we had to wait.

I got suited up with Jennifer (another friend from Nelson) an Irish girl who hadn't done it before.. Gavin came along as well as his girlfriend Siobhan (another girl from Ireland, it was the Ireland+USA tandem sky dive team) who wasn't going to jump but after being shown the video of people doing it, decided that she'd go as well.  I  have to say that I was feeling kind of nervous, but its such an amazing place, .. well, I knew it just had to be done.  That and I decided that this time I'd get videos and photos done so that way I have proof that I had done it. 

It was expensive, yes, but totally worth it.  Every penny.  The drive was amazing, the flight up .. incredible.  We came within at least 200 feet of these mountains and it was a scenic flight to be sure.. the sun was shining and it was only slightly cloudy (but above us, not at 12,000 feet).  The door opened .. and you could see the world.  Mountains, rivers, the valley.. so amazing.  And I took a breath and we followed the camera woman out. 

Unreal.   So, yea, still alive.  Still not crazy enough to do a bungee jump but god, loving life.  Now if only I didn't feel a cold coming on.  Not sure how bright doing a 10 hour bus ride followed by a ton of drinking was.. but I'm on vacation, so I guess I can afford to be stupid.

I think a t-shirt I saw around here sums it up pretty well, "in order to be old and wise, you first have to be young and stupid". 

Today.. well, I think I may just take it easy.. let myself recover a bit.   Be safe.
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photo by: genetravelling