Monday, March 24, 2008

Jetboats are a NZ invention. It is propelled like a jet engine except that it takes in water and expels it for propulsion. It has almost no draft; it can operate in 4 inches of water and is exceedingly maneuverable.

First we donned long black waterproof coats. One tour member asked me "And how long have you been in the monastery?"

Then lifejackets.

The boats hold 14 people. I was on the outside of row 3.

The ride gets through areas where the river is shallow with gravel banks, areas with big boulders in the river, and other times throuh gorges with rock vertical walls.

The boat goes very fast all the time. We careened from side to side of the river, narrowly missing rocks and walls. If there was a wide place in the river, we made a fast 360 degree turn on a dime.

It was a great ride. I wish my little thrillseeker George had been with me.

Afterward the bus dropped me off in town. I had lunch at Subway and then found an internet cafe.

I logged onto the Clarion-Ledger website and went to the Mississipi State sports beat writer's blog. He reported that at the SEC basketball tournament in Atlanta Mississippi State was down by 3 at halftime.

I read more and went back to his blog where he reported that Mississippi State was ahead by three in overtime when a tornado blew the roof off the building. At first I thought he was joking. I kept going back to the site but it wasn't updated.

The internet is reasonable in New Zealand. At hotels it is usually $NZ2 for 20 minutes. At internet cafes, it is usually 3 to 4 dollars for an hour. Then, in Auckland, it is an unbelievable $10 for 10 minutes at the hotel we stayed at.

I stopped at a grocery store and got some food for supper and then began the walk home to the hotel. I am bad at distances but it is probably 1/2 mile from downtownt o the hotel. That's okay but it is up a long steep hill, a killer hill. I was tired when I got back. After this one time, I walked to town but took the hotel shuttle back to the hotel.

With traffic driving on the left side of the road, it is very hard for pedestrians from right-side driving countries. We go against decades of training of looking to the left for traffic. After a few days of close calls I developed my thumb system to cope. When I am wanting to cross a road, I turn my thumb to the right so I can remember that the traffic is coming from that side. When I get to the center of the street, I point my thumb to the left because cars are coming from that side. It has worked beautifully, no more close calls.

Richard Henderson is the worst at this I have ever seen. In London he was always stepping in front of a car after looking left. We decide that when he was killed in a traffic accident, we would bury him in London and call it the Tomb of the Unknown Tourist.

Today Sunday was a leisure day. I meant to leave at lunch but Flight 93, the movie about the 9-11 flight that crashed at Shanksville, PA, was on TV. I watched that.

Then I walked to Queenstown Gardens, which is a large city park on a peninsula out into Lake Wakatipu. I spent a while sitting on a bench just looking at the activities on the lake and enjoying the mountains, the Remarkables.

I found the spot I was looking for, another memorial to Robert Scott, the polar explorer. This time it is a huge boulder, maybe 8 feet tall studded with bronze plaques memorializing both Scott and Lt. Oates, one of his men. It is very effusive about Oates who went out in the snow and froze to death in an attempt to increase the odds of the other men surviving. He told them "I am going outside for a while. I may be some time."

I walked on downtown and later took the hotel shuttle back to the hotel.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?