Sunday, February 13, 2011

My Fellow Americans

Mt. Cook, South Island
I have found the Americans in New Zealand and they are all on the South Island.  Today I met someone from Kansas City, chanted MIZ…ZOU with someone else wearing an MU shirt, and passed someone else wearing a St. Louis shirt.  Welcome to Queenstown, the tourist mecca of the country.  

And for once, when I hear the now all-too-familiar American accent I’m not vying to find out where they are from and how long they are here – instead I don’t say a word because maybe then they won’t know I’m also an American…maybe I can pass myself off as a Kiwi instead.  Then my dad happily (and boisterously) introduces himself to find out where they are from and how long they are here.  Just like that my cover is blown…oh well, at least we’re friendly Americans.

More highlights of the trip:
Me, Dad, Debbie in Queenstown
  • Meeting my dad and Debbie in Christchurch.  It’s been a year and a half since I last saw them.
  • Spontaneously deciding to camp in Mount Cook.  We could hear the ice falling periodically as it crashed and thundered down the mountain off the glaciers.
  • Making it through the windiest night of camping I’ve had in my recent memory.  It was the longest night ever and in the end (when I decided the tent was going to stay pegged down even without me holding it down) I went to sleep for the last few hours of the morning in my favorite spot – the passenger seat of my car.
  • Lake Wanaka, which I’m sure would have been even more impressive without the three foot waves breaking on the shore (the wind didn’t die down when we left Mount Cook)
  • Arriving in Queenstown, despite the transmission threatening to die in my car, and spending a few days in the Adventure capital while we wait for the auto shops to open back up on Monday morning
  • Watching my Dad paraglide down the mountain, even if we did miss him at the top, we still managed to see some spirals as he came in to land
Dad getting ready to land
It's getting harder and harder to imagine leaving this amazing country.  Up next:  A few days in Fiordland National Park while my car gets fixed in Queenstown.  Then we start heading north along the West Coast.