During one of our pit stops in a slightly bigger town than most (two pubs not just one) I had the most peculiar bathroom experience I’ve ever had. It was a “Smart” bathroom. I entered and then tried to lock the door. An automated voice came on saying “To lock the door, press the button.” The only button I saw was this big green one, but when I pressed it, the toilet flushed and the door remained unlocked. I pressed the button again and again, flush flush flush. I started pressing everything I could find, but nothing worked. Finally the automated voice came on again and said, “I’m not feeling so well. How about you?” WTH??? Finally after a really long time, I popped my head outside and asked the next person to watch the door for me as I could not lock it. But I certainly knew how to flush the toilet really well.
It’s our last day. I walked outside our farmhouse into the brisk morning air to grab the last pictures of Mt. Cook as the sun was coming up. Spectacular.
FYI: Trying not to scratch my still very present sand fly bites, thanks for asking! Will these things ever go away? And how come Hubby didn’t get a single one?
I laughed as I packed up my things that included the three decks of playing cards I brought so I could teach everyone Consecutive Gin Rummy during some down time on this trip. If we weren’t driving, we were hiking. If we weren’t hiking, we were eating. If we weren’t eating, we were sleeping. We played zero minutes of cards on this trip.
Random thought: I was in the friggin’ Tasman Sea on Milford Sound! Cool!!
This trip has been two weeks of just showing up. All meals have been beautiful prepared, served and cleaned up for us. Heaven. We get on Ernie and are taken to whatever beautiful place is next and then we are told what to hike before we pile back on Ernie to do it again somewhere else. We are told what time to show up for dinner, which room our bags are in and what time to be at breakfast. I haven’t worn a stitch of makeup or used a hair dryer in over two weeks. We have had every single decision made for us for 14 days and it’s been awesome.
Our last Laura-Breakfast was salmon eggs benedict with a chipotle cream sauce. Of course it was. Everyone was quiet and in deep thought.
Borut sat staring blankly into his breakfast, “I’m not going to know what to do. I’m going to get home, wake up in the morning, come downstairs, and wait for something to show up for breakfast. Nothing is going to show up. No coffee with sugar. Nothing to eat. My wife will tell me to get off my ass and make something myself.”
I said, “I’m not going to know how to start my day. Who’s going to tell me what to do? I’ll be sitting around for hours waiting to hear which hike to prepare for. Who’s going to do ALL THE DISHES?” Then a horrible thought crossed my mind. When I get home, I’m the Laura. And I am in no way ready to be The Laura! Nooo! Not yet!!!!
Oh, by the way, did you know that Duck Herding is a thing in England that people pay a shit ton of money to do? People pay thousands of dollars to take brooms and herd ducks. I didn’t believe it either, but Borut was right. Here it is: Duck Herding is legit
So what was the best thing I ate on this trip? That would have to be Borut’s mussels (Instance #6042 when spelling is so important) Best dessert was Laura’s Sticky Date Pudding. The weirdest thing I ate was Linda’s Veal Cutlet that wasn’t veal. Which did included every single thing from yesterday’s left-overs to Kellen’s missing rain jacket:
If you come to the South Island, you will understand why New Zealanders are referred to the friendliest people on earth. It’s totally true. Every single person here, even those working the most mundane jobs, are downright jolly. There is only one mean person on this entire island: The Gravel Monster. You will recognize him if you see him. I’ve decided I’m going to take some of this New Zealand friendliness back home with me and leave a bit of my California Bitch here. But not too much, ’cause I still gotta be me.
I’m ashamed to admit that I had expected at least one male guide when we signed up for this rugged trip. Shame on me. New Zealand women are the strongest, most capable people I know. At the end of some days Tess and Laura would shout out, “Who needs some help with their bags?” and everyone in our group would raise their hand, including the guys. We would all be exhausted. “If my wife saw this, she would absolutely kick my ass. ” said a defeated Borut as Tess and Laura would haul like 4 suitcases each out of Ernie then run them up a hill to our rooms. But man or woman isn’t the point. These people are bred from different material. They are doers. They are backpackers and mountaineers. And they are impressive as hell.
If you are looking to have an amazing experience like we did, please don’t hesitate to use Active Adventures. I wish there were more stars on Yelp for the review I will write. We did the New Zealand South Island Rimu trip, but I hear they are all excellent.
With all of the time we had in Ernie, I was constantly blown away by my boys’ deeply intellectual conversations on science, philosophy and politics. They would discuss physics, space and geeky technical stuff that I had not one single thing to contribute towards. When asked my opinion, which wasn’t often, I was a
deer sheep caught in the headlights. My kids and husband are freaking brilliant human beings. But you know who the reigning champion is in the game GHOST? That’s all ME!
As we neared the airport Ernie blasted, “Leaving on a Jet Plane”. The situation is already sad enough, for the love of God don’t play that song now! I’m only human. I lost it.
The world sees us as they want to see us-in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is so much more than just a programmer, a sarcastic genius, a scuba diver, a terrorist-looking finance guy, a granny, a mother/blogger, two snotty teenaged boys, two beautiful kiwi guides, and a mere bus pulling a green trailer. We are New Zealand Tramping Warriors. And we are family.
A “cracker day” is a good day
jafa- Just Another Fucking Aucklander