NZ- wednesday

the girls and i were up and ready for breakfast around 10. i bought tickets for a jet boat ride that started around 11, so we ate a short walk from the jet boat kiosk. i had some eggs bene while we were surrounded by skiers preparing for their day out.

we walked over to the jet boat launch site. there were a few other people gathered and camille and holly stuck around till we left. we put on long water resistant coats and life jackets. i really should have realized that tying my hair back before the ride would be a good idea. . . but no, i decided to wait till my hair was whipped and snarly after the ride to tie it up. anyway, we put on our gear. many times i find that i’m not scared or nervous enough because i lack information. people were asking how scary the ride would be. i just kept thinking, it’s just a fast boat ride, right? . . . then camille and holly told me that they whip you close to banks and rocks and i started getting nervous. the ‘driver/ captain’ guy assured my riding companion that, ‘it can’t be too bad, it’s only my second day on the job and they’re letting me drive.’ oh, he was a funny one. and he liked to show off.


he had AC/DC blasting as we toured part of the lake and river. he would warn us before doing a donut so we could properly brace ourselves. he swept us close to banks, trees, bridge trestles and rocky over-hangs. the first couple near-misses i was nervous, but then i let it go. they do this everyday. . . it’s gotta be pretty safe. (i found out later there is a more dangerous ride further out at shotover river where there’s been accidents and deaths.) our ride was fun. the guy next to me had done one in tanzania and asked how i was coping without sunglasses. the wind was pushing my eyes to water a lot, and even though it was chilly, the tears weren’t freezing on my lashes. mike would stop the boat every once in a while to let us take pictures and talk about the surroundings and how the boat works. i probably would’ve been more interested in the propulsion and how the boat can work in eight inch water depths or whatever, if the scenery hadn’t been so sensory absorbing. our ride lasted about an hour and we headed back to the dock. while getting off the boat i thought to myself that the jet boat ride was possibly the most fun and sort of amazing thing i had done in a few years. there was a guy wearing a helmet cam the whole time. . . i should do a search for that. the company also offers video. . . but the video shows our reaction to the ride, and not the scenery. . . and i was behind a tall guy in the camera’s view.

holly and camille were waiting to pick me up and drive out to arrowtown. it’s an old gold mining town and looked a lot like the old west. of course there was lots more shopping and we were told by the girl who worked in the jet boat kiosk to stop by the arrowtown bakery. it was a fine idea, and we picked up pies for lunch. we sat in a quiet park and ate the pies while teasing the birds. (i had thai green chicken pie)

before heading back to queenstown we stopped by shotover river. there’s a beautiful outlook area, and you can watch their jet boats racing around. there are markers along the walkways that indicate how far some of their floods have risen. i think the tourist toilets were submerged a couple of times, and they were pretty far up.

after shotover we headed back to queenstown for an afternoon gondola ride up to the skyline area. i didn’t know the view could get even better. more shopping, a quick drink, and i even found a place to get a squished souvenir penny. while we drank our juices we watched the wind pick up. i saw fewer and fewer people on the chair-lift. the chair-lift leads to a luge ride that brings you back down to the gondola area. cam and i had tickets for it. . . and got nervous as we watched the chair-lift come to a halt. maybe we had to walk up to the luge? nope- the whole thing was shut down. too windy. oh well. . . it wasn’t the first or last time that i’d lose out to weather. it might have been too windy near the top of the mountain. . . but the weather was sublime as far as i was concerned.

we settled outside an irish bar while the sun went down and had a couple of drinks- yay hot toddy and chilly weather!

a friend of holly and camille’s had mentioned a burger joint that was pretty famous. we had scoped it while shopping in town. the line could get really long and the eating area was tiny, so we opted for take out and jammies back in our hotel. the place is called fergberger and it isn’t for the faint hearted. they have great flavor combinations, and since i was pushing to try things i don’t get often, i chose the venison burger. . . it was called the ‘bambi burger.’ i think i would’ve loved it, but in all the confusion, i ended up with a chicken burger. i had a feeling something like that was about to happen. . . too many orders, too many people waiting around. we didn’t notice till we were back in the hotel, and i wasn’t going back, so i had to settle with a delicious chicken burger. we had some tv on and were chatting. the burgers were huge, and i filled up on fries. . .. four hours later i was on my belly on the floor and still had five burger bites that i couldn’t put away. insanity. . . fergburger kicked my ass.

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