Get out of here you dirty hippie

Last weekend’s trip to the market netted us both mung bean sprouts and hemp seeds. Either one is probably OK, but together I fear they represent some sort of consumption turning point.

The predictive polling algorithms would probably identify us as Bernie Sanders supporters based on that single purchase (not correctly, as it turns out… I’m hoping for a ticket where Bloomberg gives his billion dollars to Buttegieg).

Fergburger

Everybody told us we had to eat at Queenstown’s famous Fergburger. But the lines at lunchtime were ridiculous. No burger is that good.

But if you’re willing to eat a burger at 9 AM, and we were, you can walk right in.

Apparently Fergburger has been around a while, but Lonely Planet named them as some sort of global best burger and it really blew up after that.

I still wouldn’t stand in a long line for it, but it was pretty damn good and we went back, again at breakfast, on our last day.

Arrowtown

Yesterday we took a bus trip to Arrowtown, which was a gold rush town in the 1860s and still has most of its original buildings. Super cute…

There’s a little museum, which we didn’t go in, and as many cafes and shops as can be crammed into the available space. Whilst we were sipping a beer we got to watch a good juggler practice in the park… nice.

It led me to think about hobbies and passions… I’m very susceptible to their siren song. But only up to a point. I can juggle, for example, but I’ve never had the focus to truly be “a juggler”.

This guy above, who was on the return bus with us, seemed to have gone all in on photography, although when I took this picture it looked like he was trying to find a YouTube video to help him use his camera.

But this guy below, taking a break from his construction job, maybe hasn’t found his passion yet… he needs a gold rush to come along!

What Goes Up

That stripe on the right is the Queenstown Gondola. It’s super-steep, and gains about 1500 feet of elevation.

The main reason people go up there is to come back down in some creative or exciting way. There’s one part of that wants to point out that you’d end up in the same place a lot easier by not going at all… but that would be boring!

Early in the morning, a lot of mountain bikers use the lift and barrel down. There’s a little luge-thing at the top, which we rode and which was a lot of fun.

But the best was the paragliders… I wanted to do that but it only goes certain days… next trip.

Our motel was right next to the landing field… here’s a video.

Queenstown Cemetery

Some pretty 19th century gravestones, mixed in with more current ones.

Lee didn’t know she was posing…

The verse on this next one reads a lot like a Burma-Shave ad…

Milford Sound tour, part 2

Some pics from the trip…

These crazy mountain parrots, called keas, have a thing for weatherstripping on cars… so they sit outside the entrance to a tunnel where cars sit and prey on people.

Milford Sound tour

Milford Sound, where you can take a 2-hr boat trip out to see the rocks and waterfalls, is (choose all that apply)

  • A 6-hour drive from Queenstown across countryside where not a lot has happened, ever, despite the driver’s heroic attempts at commentary
  • One of the wettest places in NZ with up to 30 feet of rain per year (Well, the driver said, you got to experience it the way it really is)
  • Breathtakingly beautiful, what with the steep mountains, glacial cataracts, etc, and probably even more so when not obscured by clouds
  • The most visited attraction in the country
  • Officially checked off our to-see list

Queenstown arrival

We flew into Queenstown yesterday afternoon for some sightseeing and to spend a little more time with Mitchel and Caroline. It’s a short 2 hour flight from Auckland, which ended with some turbulence and a spectacular approach along the valley.

A ski town in winter, Queenstown makes its summer tourist reputation on adrenaline sports… which we won’t be participating in. But for our first evening we got beautiful weather to stroll around town: Key West meets Park City meets Montreux.

The buskers were out in force. First we saw the mesmerizing but unphotogenic Kosmic Zone, with a beat-boxer, a synthesizer-er, and a didgeridoo-er. They had a good audience but the trancelike music might or might not have opened people’s wallets.

Then Sven From Sweden, whose patter and crowd skills were super funny, even if his tricks were probably more showy than difficult. He also had a big audience and really seemed to rake it in at the end.

And then there was jazz guy seated by himself next to the toilets. Maybe he just enjoys playing outside… he certainly wasn’t making a living.

Fergburger has been recommended over and over, but the 100+ people outside queuing up made us even happier that we’d run into Taco Medic first.

I can see clearly now

We rang in the New Year with sparklers and actually stayed awake long enough to see the fireworks from the Sky Tower. Here’s hoping for literal and metaphorical 20/20 vision in the coming year.

Random Samba

New Year’s Eve dinner at an Asian-BBQ fusion restaurant started off with a little samba troupe… there was no obvious reason for it, but apparently every year there’s a different entertainment. It went on just long enough to make us worry that we would have to endure the drumming for the whole meal, but then they shook and shimmied off into the night…

It’s Alive!!

Just like last year, one of the baby seagulls disappeared from the nest, and then emerged on the ground a couple weeks later, happy and well-fed. Now both of them are flapping and hopping … it won’t be long till they fly away.

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