I have but 30 minutes free on this wireless connection, so this post will be quick.
There is a reason that Peter Jackson shot Lord of the Rings in this area. The scenery is breathtaking. Huge, craggy mountains shoot out of the ground, growing centimeters each year thanks to continued seismic activity (h/t to the folks in SoCal who had a little shaker the other morning), earning them names like The Remarkables both for their sheer size and for the fact that they face directly North to South, 0 to 180 degrees. Remarkable, no? There are Sounds (U-shaped) and Fiords (V-shaped), outdoor sport galore, and the invention of Bungy Jumping, that mental activity whereby people strap themselves to a large rubber band and jump to their near death. I'm told it's magical. I would be keen to test the theory, but perhaps on my next trip, when I'm here with a friend who can hold my hand and film my demise, should I not return.
Nestled in the bottom of The Remarkables is itself a remarkable little town called Queenstown. They like their royalty around these parts. Silly Brits and their chess games with countries way back when. Queenstown is charming, lively, sleepy, adventurous, shy, and impressive all at once. The food is great, the coffee is good, but nothing can beat the coffee in Melbourne thus far, and the people are kind. So many transplants. I can see why. If I showed up here and didn't have to get back, I'd probably stay too. On any given day, you'll hear at least a dozen languages. There are Dutch folks sitting next to me now, Brits behind. A German girl served me, and a Chinese woman is working the coffee machine. Still haven't seen anyone with a dark complexion. Strange how that goes.
Yesterday was spent at Milford Sound, on the recommendation of my friend Aura. She sent off the most wonderful note with suggestions galore of what to do in New Zealand. I'm so grateful. Her suggestions have been spot on so far. While I didn't splurge as she did and fly out to Milford, I did take the bus, and I'm glad I did. Note to self: Always choose the empty seat next to the beautiful man. Always.
I had such a nice conversation with Gustavo there and back. And it was nice to have adopted friends to eat lunch with, to wait for me after the boat, to make sure I was on the bus. It made me realize that I've been going about this all wrong, too. I'll be staying in hostels from now on. Privacy be damned. I need the company. I need the shared eyes to discuss the wonders of the world with. And it also doesn't hurt to look at beautiful people and hear the musical jibberish of other languages.
Portuguese sounds positively insane. I told Gustavo as much and he just laughed. He was grateful to hear my English, an accent he could comprehend. The Kiwi accent threw him for a right loop, and even though his English is very good, their tweaks to it left him mystified. So every time the bus laughed at a joke the driver made, I had to decode it for him and his mates. It was the best job. I was so happy to do it. Being an English transcoder forces you to think about your own language and imagine it from another person's ears. It's so odd our idioms and quirks. Lovely, lovely to think about amidst my travels.
Damn. My Internet is expiring. I'll pick this up from the foot of a glacier. Or glass-ee-er, if you're Kiwi.