Where am I again?

So we last left off with Nelson. And Swedish girls. And hiking. Yeah.

So after wandering around Nelson and buying some good pants for hiking (light and quick drying – so I don’t have to carry around jeans) and an LED flashlight (so I don’t waste a bunch of money on batteries), I ended up having dinner with the three Swedish girls, some Italian guys and an Israeli girl. We had pasta and spent the evening talking, listening to music, eating and drinking. It was great! Then we went out on the town. We visited a few pubs and clubs, drank and danced and then I went back to the hostel. Most of the group had already left, so I didn’t leave first, but I couldn’t keep up with the girls (god, I’m getting old!) so I went back and crashed.

The next morning, I got up early, said goodbye to one of the Italian guys who was eating breakfast and headed to the highway. The plan was to hitch hike back to the West Coast (remember the Discman I left there?). So I stood on the street and this old guy pulled up and gave me a ride. He couldn’t hear very well and told me he never leaves his house but did today to visit some Buddhist Temple. Good for him (and me too, of course). He left me about 50k’s from Nelson and after standing on the road for a while, a guy in a truck with a trailer stopped. He was having some sort of a business meeting and just motioned me to put my stuff in the back of the cab so I moved his suit and threw my big backpack over his crap. I put his suit back. And got in.

After about 10 minutes, he hung up and we started chatting. He runs some big contest sponsored by all these companies like Ford (who donated the truck he was in) and he could take me about 100k’s to where I wanted to go. He proceeded to call one of his buddies who was a ways behind to see if he could take me further so we arranged a spot. No worries if it didn’t work out. So he took me to some small town and left me in the rain (yeah, it started raining) so I stood there and stood there for like 45 minutes and no one picked me up. I went in a gas station and got a cardboard box and made a sign – “I HAVE SWEETS”. Hopefully that would work. A lot of people laughed as they passed but before I could see its effectiveness, the two Italian guys from the hostel drove by!

They stopped and I hopped in. We had no clue that we were going to the same place, but we were, so they said I could tag along. We drove for quite a while in the rain and it finally cleared up a little bit and we stopped at some little park with this big bridge and did the swing across the valley. Then we headed towards the beach and checked out a seal colony. From there we headed to Greymouth and after picking up my Discman, we found a really cheap hostel. That night we played pool and had a little beer, then went to the $3 BBQ.

In the morning, we realized that Bruno had forgotten his CD’s in the bar of the hostel. And no one was around. We contemplated breaking the door. We searched for the owner and found a room with some keys in it. Some guy came (who was a friend of the owner, I think) and got the keys for us and opened up the door, we got the CD’s and left. This whole ordeal took about 2 hours.

So we set off. We made it to Franz Josef (one of the only other advancing glaciers besides El Calafate in Argentina in the world) but it was raining. We checked in the hostel and I ran into Tom (the Dutch guy) again. We all had dinner and played pool for the rest of the night.

The next day, in the rain, we did a walk to the glacier and it was pretty cool. Nothing compared to Argentina though.

We then headed off to a town called Haast. Nothing really interesting. Rained a lot and stopped a long on the way to see some cool nature stuff along the way.

The next day, we headed to Queenstown and after getting confused and ending up back in Haast after two hours of driving (don’t ask), we eventually made it to Queenstown. The whole town was booked for hostels and we finally found a triple for $25 each. It all worked out and we had an awesome dinner (Bruno is the chef) and then went out to some pubs. We ended up leaving around 1AM and heading back to the hostel to get some sleep.

So now we are at today. I went up in this cool gondola to the top of the mountain to see the whole city and I did this luge thing down this track a few times. It was cool. And the rest of the day I have just been wandering around this town. I don’t like it. The people are rude and it’s expensive. I’m gonna leave to Glenorchy tomorrow to hang out for a day and then head out for about 7 days of hiking. I’m gonna do the Greenstone track and then the Routeburn, which I booked several weeks ago. I just bought 7 days worth of food and gonna hitch hike to the town tomorrow with Hector (the guy from Spain I met in Collingwood a few weeks back). I randomly ran into him today in town and we are randomly going to the same place tomorrow morning.

So I wont be around or answering email for about a week. These tracks are gonna be cool.

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