I guess I'll start with my flight across the pond from San Fran to Sydney. I overnighted in my ol' stompin' ground of Charlotte before setting out on my journey so let it be known that I had quite a famous time boozing and catching up with some of my old QC amigos the night before I flew out. This worked out in my favor though, as I was so dehydrated from the night of cold beers and merriment that I think I only had to pee about 2 times in the next 30 flight hours. Seriously, comments were made upon landing by the people sitting next to me. "Did you even get up once during the flight?" the fat-neck, red-nosed, boring guy sitting next to me asked. "We were beginning to think that you don't have any normal bodily fuctions." (this is a direct quote). I had actually gotten up once, when they were both out of their seats no doubt rifling through the other passengers' carry ons or feeling up flight attendants in the lavatory. I didn't feel they needed to know this, so I told them that I actually hadn't peed since I was 4 years old and I was flying to Sydney to see a world-renowned pee specialist and thank you very much for brining it up and making me all self-conscious and stuff about it. As I had hoped, that was the last time I had to talk to them.
So anyway, out of Sydney and on to Wellington, New Zealand where my good buddy Scott lives - working in a blood bank, playing in a band, and basically just loving the shit out of life since he moved there about 2 years ago.
We went on a hike through the hills and mountains one day and got some pretty spectacular views.
After a couple fun-filled days in Wellington it was off to Queenstown, a city in the South Island that is billed as the adventure capital of the world. More on that later, but I must also say that Queenstown has some of the most breathtaking scenery and views I have ever seen in my life. It's sort of hard to explain, but everything is so stunningly beautiful that's it's almost frustrating. You look out at the picturesque mountains and bluer-than-blue lakes and I think a part of you knows that there's no way to convey this sight to others, and that even your own memory will probably not do it justice over time. Anyway, for what it's worth, here's some of the better shots:
Now as I mentioned, if it's adventure you crave, Queenstown has everything you could want just short of live human hunting expeditions. My first foree into this smorgasborg of excitement and sensory overwhelment was the Nevis Highwire bungee jump ( http://www.bungy.co.nz/index.php/pi_pageid/29 ). This is the 3rd highest bungee jump in the world. At 134 meters (439 feet for the lay-person), you get an 8.5 second freefall before the cord even begins to break your fall and you can stop crying like a 7-year old girl.
The routine goes like this: They put you on a bus and take you up a very narrow, winding mountain road on the edge of a cliff that the bus may or may not topple off of, depending on the driving skill and current level of sobriety of Nash, your long-haired, hippie burn-out bus driver. When/if you make it to the top, you're shipped via cable car to a steel room haning over the middle of a gorge above the Nevis River. It looks a little something like this:
Once you're "safely" in the hanging room platform thingy, they begin tossing people into the canyon. There are glass sections of the floor so you can spend most of your waiting time looking down at the bottom of this canyon, just in case you hadn't already shat your pants in fear. When it's your turn to be hurled off the edge, they strap your feet to the cord, walk you to the edge of a 2 foot square platform and tell that they are going to count down from 4. At 1, you are to dive into the canyon, headfirst, completely defying every self-preservation instinct you have ever had.
Okay, this post has been sitting unfinished in my "draft" section for just a shade over four score. I'm not going to finish it. The trip was unbelievable from beginning to end, and this was about the middle of it. I decided I would either delete it or post it, so here it is.