Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Penguins and Palm Trees

So, Sally and I have had another crazy last few days. I wish I could detail them to you, but that would probably be just too much so let me sum up.

After we left Motueka, we headed south. It was a long drive, so we wanted to mix it up a bit. The driving was beautiful though the scenery very similar to the Northwest I might add... except for the occasional palm trees and penguin crossing signs. Honestly. What country has penguins and palm trees in the same place? New Zealand apparently. A few hours into the drive south, we passed by a sign stating that we were nearing New Zealands longest suspension bridge and for only $5 we could experience the amazing fun that entails walking across New Zealands longest suspension bridge. Well, I needed to pee and so we decided to stop. It was actually fairly cool. The bridge went over a very wide river and Sally kept stopping to take pictures on the bridge, making me nervous. After the crossing there was a long hike that we wandered around on and looked at a few interesting things, like an old mine shaft. It made for a nice break. Although we are not sure if the bridge was in fact New Zealands longest suspension bridge, or it's only one. It could also be the highest, lowest, widest, thinnest and shortest suspension bridge in the country as well!

The other break on the trip came as a nice surprise. Sally had been stating earlier that she was really craving hot soup. After a few hours of driving after the bridge, we saw a cafe next to a tourist attraction. After taking a while to decide, we made a u-turn and headed back to the cafe. Well, the soup was expensive and didn't look like big proportions, so we went to see what the tourist attraction was. It was the pancake rocks and blow holes. They were pretty cool. The rocks were layered and looked like pancakes and the sea and rain had made the rocks form in a way that created blow holes. One spot in particular really reminded me of Devil's Punchbowl in Oregon.

Where we stayed last night (Hokitika) was mostly just a place to stay on our way to the glaciers, but one cool thing was the glow worms. Instead of paying a ton of money to have a guide take you through a night tour to see some worms glowing in a cave, the owner of the hostel told us there was a trail that led to a dell full of them. So, that night around sunset Sally and I drove out that way. After parking our car in the middle of no where and hiking up what looked like a rapists trail, we turned off the flashlights and saw a TON of glow worms everywhere. It was so cool. And we saw it for free.

As much fun as yesterday was, today was the highlight of our trip so far. We had booked a half day trip out onto Fox Glacier. In the morning we first stopped at Franz Josef Glacier, the more visited one and took a few pictures. We then arrived into Fox Glacier, checked into our hostel and wandered around to kill the time before the hike. Sally had never been to a glacier before, let alone seen one, so this was pretty huge for her. The hike to the glacier was beautiful. The Fox Glacier is actually growing. There was a picture in the lobby of it 20 years ago and now, and it's bigger now! Crazy. The hike was hard and long and not too cold since we were working hard. On the hike there, it started hailing on us! Heavily. Even the guides said it was pretty rare. We already had enough ice, but the sky thought we needed more. Right before the glacier, the guides split us up into 2 groups, we put on our cramptons and headed onto the glacier. It was a blast. Our guide told us gory stories, talked about working on the glacier and other funny things. Then it turned amazingly sunny for us, so we stopped for awhile just to enjoy it. As we started to head back down again, we heard a call from the other guide saying a lady in their group had fallen and cut her leg with a crampton so badly that she would need stitches. Since she wouldn't be able to get herself off of the glacier, she had to be helicoptered off. It was so fun to watch. Our time on the glacier started to increase as did our chill. Finally they got her lifted off and we headed back down.

Tonight we are staying here in Fox Glacier at a really nice hostel and tomorrow we are finally heading for Queenstown. I am so excited. For the trip, Sally and I have had a few fun little things that she wanted me to share with you. First, we have an ongoing disagreement. Before joining Peace Corps, she went on a road trip that took her and a few friends down the coast of California. Sally refers to this road as “Route 1.” I refer to it as “Highway 1.” I don't know. You be the judge and settle the argument. Though Sally will discredit all inputs from the west coast... Also, Sally's motion sickness is getting a little better now, but we had a quote that she wanted me to share with you. She said she might need me to pull over when we were driving up a pass and I said, “Sally, I'd pull over on a cliff face for you.”

And the quote of the trip so far that I will end this blog entry with, “We are only stopping the car for puke or pee.” Below are a few pictures of the glaciers and rest of the last 2 days. Enjoy.


At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Aunt Susan said...

Of course it's highway 1 -- even the maps say so! Delighted with your photos, and narrative -- and wishing I were there. Of course, when I read the other blogs I wish I was in Kabul, or Chennai, or wherever the origin is -- perhaps when I retire I'll have time to further explore the world -- just won't have the $ -- ah well . . .

At 4:26 PM, Anonymous Dad said...

On mapquest it's called State Highway 1. Glad you're having a good time.

Love, Dad


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