Oopsy, sorry I haven’t been writing! What a time. I’m surrounded by windows as I watch a gorgeous sunset.
I’m afraid I’ve let too much time pass to go into great detail about the last couple of weeks. I got to reunite with a bunch of Ice people at the meeting point: Bailey’s pub, we found out that Roney had been sent out on first flight with a cancer scare, he had already been operated on and was there to tell his story at the bar. Scary. He seems to be doing well.
I had planned all this hiking but the weather was supposed to be bad and I was suddenly unmotivated. Instead, I just wanted to cling to the ice people. For a few days Christchurch was almost like McMurdo, you were constantly running across Ice people but one by one or two by two they flew away. I picked up my own travel itinerary at Signature travel.
The first thing that happened was Sushi. Everyone had been raving about it. Announcements for eating meetings were made as we turned in our gear and picked up T-Shirt orders at the CDC. We got our DA T-shirts! They are awesome. It’s been funny as Jason has worn his around. People soon realize he’s been to Antarctica and then he tells them that I designed the T-Shirt. Cool!
Anyways, Sushi was awesome. Thai food was awesome, the Italian food was awesome, the pizza was awesome, more sushi was awesome, the Indian food was awesome, and we always stopped in at Bailey’s at the end of the day to talk about it.
People were hanging around Cheech to get PQed for next year. Lots of medical check-ups and lots of running around. Simone found out that she had gained 20 lbs, Jason gained almost 30 on the Ice and I gained 20 as well! (sob!) I’m at 180!!! Argh, I can’t believe I’m announcing that but I’m thinking of the before and after. They say this comes off fast, so soon I’ll be going on about how much I’ve lost instead of how I was shopping for 12 and 14 sizes. I haven’t been a 14 since high school! Bah, and reading Skittles’ entries about hiking on the CDT is depressing. I’d hurt myself if I tried to tag along now. No Skittles, it’s not really depressing, it’s awesome how well you all are doing. Enjoy the wilderness.
Some people went ice climbing, some of the guys went to drive race cars. On Friday a group of us went down to Queenstown with the idea to Bungee Jump. The Nevis is 142 meters of free fall, that takes 7 seconds. You could pass out from all the screaming and people have. Unfortunately, weather timing and general lack of motivation or organization had us all miss out on it. CRAP! I wanted my first bungee jump to scare the crap out of me. Instead, we took a gondola up to the top of a big hill and took carts down a luge sort of course. The wind was awful, they closed down the lifts and the luge and so we found ourselves inside with James who had started his morning off with beer. He was now at the bar.
I suppose I should clarify this “we”. It was Casey (a girl, ha ha brother Casey), she was with Chad, they have now left for Thailand both are pack rats with thousands of dollars worth of stuff that I hope they don’t mind losing. Casey was the only non-Ice person. Then there was James, a character, I don’t know how to describe him. He always seems drunk and often times he really is but he’s a got a real persuasive personality, he can always persuade people to laugh. Ask him to do the donkey joke. Then there was Jason who won’t stop being sweet and can remind me of my brothers. I guess we´re BFFN, Best Friends For Now, kind of weird.
So, James was at the bar and whooping it up with a group of Australians. I was tired and bummed about the failed Nevis jump but I was enjoying the view. New Zealand is absolutely amazing. I got to talking to a couple about the Ice. Every time I start talking to strangers about Antarctica I feel like I’m lying. Chad and Casey left us to go clubbing, Jason and I got hungry and found an awesome Italian restaurant, Fat Katz, go there. Once we finally wandered home James was on the couch wondering where “us kids” had wandered off to. Sweet. Turns out that James´ time at the bar had been “networking”. Those Australians offered him a 6 figure job in sales. Imagine that, start drinking at 8:00 and be rolling in the dough by happy hour. He said it was the donkey joke. Imagine that, and the donkey nonsense was started in McMurdo.
Anyways, Queenstown was lovely, touristy, and we left on Sunday. Chad humored us and stopped at a bungee jump on the way out of town. It was only 44 meters but it’s the original commercial bungee so it was sort of cool. It was helpful to be psyched to jump 142 meters because I had no hesitation to jump off that bridge. There was that mid-air moment of “Why am I jumping off this platform?” but I was hanging upside down and being lowered into a raft before I really had time to be completely freaked out. They did tease me about how much I screamed but I always scream. Whatever. Jason jumped as well. Chad has already done the Nevis, he didn’t need to do this kiddy one. Speaking of kiddy, there is no age limit on who can jump in NZ. A little 10 yr old went after us. I think the youngest ever is 9 or 10. Can you imagine? Their Father’s Day special is Dad jumps for $60 or something. Anyone over 60 jumps for free as well. Neato.
Monday my slinking around Cheech ended. Hanging out was over. I was heading up to Bay of Islands to visit Jennifer and here I am. It was a bit of confusion. I sent an e-mail explaining the dates I would like to drop in and she sent me an e-mail about when the Feasts are and that I should come stay with her then. It was only after I arrived that I learned that she had never gotten my various messages announcing my arrival and the Feast message was independantly sent. No worries, I remembered how to get there, even if I did have to ask which house was hers.