Driving on the wrong side, drunken alumni and ice skating!
08.26.2007 - 08.30.2007 -17 °C
Written: August 30, 2007
It's funny what kind of people I've met and what I've stumbled upon in my travels. Here in Lake Tekapo, I've just spent some time ice skating, the first time in 9 years. I then went to a bonfire beside the beach where there was a party and people viewing the lunar eclipse. It was an awesome party viewing the starts, having wine and making fun of a certain blonde Wisconsin girl. There was then a free talk and viewing through an amateur's telescope on the other stars. I saw Jupiter and 4 of its moons. It reminded me of many times in my childhood when I couldn't sleep late at night and I would look at the stars. I dreamed of being an astronaut or an astronaumer. But most important of all, I looked for a shooting star to make a wish, to ask for a friend.
Dunedin must be the sister city of Kingston. It has a population of roughly 100 000 with 20 000 students at the University of Otago, the oldest university in New Zealand. Walking out of my hostel, I saw a hungover kid with unkept hair reading on a couch with burn marks on the sidewalk opposite a cathedral. What's even more freaky is that the day before I arrived there was a student event called UNDY 500. Basically cars decorated with all kinds of themes and masses of University students getting drunk and rowdy. 64 students were arrested and some are being charged with rioting. Objects were set on fire and beer bottles were thrown at the police in riot gear. The majority of the trouble makers weren't even from Otago but Canterbury-Christchurch. Does that not remind you of Queen's Homecoming 2005?
On my first night in Dunedin, I met 2 drunken Otago Dental School alumni who returned from their faculty's centenary celebration. One of them was from Winnipeg and went to McMaster and then Otago. He then never left New Zealand! After some talk, he invited me to go sailing and put me on a fishing vessel in the Bay of islands if I want. I'm not sure I'll have the time but it's quite an offer and I love drunken alumni!
I rented a car on my 2nd day in Dunedin to go to the Catlins; an untouched and beautiful area in the south east coast of New Zealand South Island. It was a bit strange driving on the left (and wrong) side of the road but other than a momentary lapse of concentration, everything was fine. Saw some seals and beautiful panoramas. Visited the fossilized and petrified forest (which was real sinister looking). We even stopped at Niagara Falls cafe, which was ironic since there was a Niagara Falls close by but this one was only a few centimetres high. Finished the night with a farewell indian dinner and a few drinks with Linda who got a job as a photographer at Coronoet Peak ski slopes in Queenstown.
Then I was off to Lake Tekapo!
After a day in Lake Tekap and a night of drinking under the stars, some poker was played in which I won $4 NZD. We were then off to Christchurch and I realized that this would be my 4th night in Christchurch, which is 3 more than what people usually stay! But I quite liked Christchurch. I had $4 NZD fish and chips, played big sized Chess at Cathedral square with Daan (I won with a King, Knight and Pawn. He only had King left) Then took care of some stuff at the internet cafe. I got a shock when I received an email from Accenture confirming that I was starting on September 10th when I thought I was starting on the 24th. I also couldn't even get a flight out of NZ until the 9th of September nevertheless getting back for the 10th. I replied quickly and forwarded the exchange emails I had with a recruited confirming my start on the 24th. Hopefully everything will work out.
I am now sitting in a cafe across from the coach since it's being looked after by a mechanic due to a rear axle problem. I am on my way to Kaikoura and almost missed my bus this morning again! I woke up at 7:53 AM and my pick-up was at 7:55 AM at the hostel next door. Thankfully my bags were packed and I just picked up everything and rushed out and the bus arrived 30s later! Whew. 5 days in Christchurch would've been too much and even with 3.5 weeks in NZ. I am running out of time!
Last night, I said farewell to Helen, who's on her way back to Newcastle and Daan, who'll be off to Holland. We'd kind of traveled together with Linda since Greymouth/Franz Josef when we roomed together and it was fun to have some familiar faces. Meeting new people is fun but it gets tiring and wearisome asking and answering the same questions.
23 days left!