November 3rd, 2006


Ruggedness, donuts

Just got back from Abel Tasman national park. It's this beautiful spot on the north side of NZ's south island, with tons of postcard-perfect beaches and verdant forests. On Wednesday we went sea kayaking along the coast, which was pretty fun, then hiked to our camping spot at torrent bay estuary. We were the only people there! I find the sounds of wilderness very soothing. Mosquitoes less so, but the mesh on our tent repelled most of them. It felt like an army was attacking us.

In the morning we shrugged on our backpacks and went hiking up to Big Tonga beach. As we hiked we frequently said to each other, "isn't this rugged? we're so rugged." Our ruggedness was only slightly compromised by the fact that the previous night, we'd had to eat cold soup out of cans because we didn't bring fuel for our stove, which we don't know how to work anyway*, and on top of that we hadn't brought enough food so we were starving as we hiked. I kept dreaming of breakfasts and donuts and steak dinners and beer (oh yeah we also forgot beer... basically we suck). One of my favorite things about backpacking is how much it makes you appreciate food & cold beverages, but this was taking it to an extreme. By the time we got to our water taxi pick up spot I was so hungry that I was chewing on aliza's arm and imagining it was roast beef.

Today we're driving towards Franz Joseph glacier. Driving in NZ is a bit odd because they drive on the left (i.e. "wrong") side of the road. You get used to it after a while but all the controls on the car are reversed, so I keep turning on my windshield wipers when I mean to make a turn signal. Also everything's in kilometers so I'm never exactly sure how fast I'm going.

hope all's well. major major thanks to everybody who bought us things from our registry. the gear has proved invaluable and we will thank you in more detail upon return.


* As a wedding gift, we got a Whisperlite Internationale (TM) backpacking stove, but neither of us have a clue how to work it. This thing is mroe complicated than the Space Shuttle. Look at the manual for crissakes!! O-rings? Priming? We just want to heat up soup, not build a fricking nuclear reactor!