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Published: February 26th 2010
Day 78: Saturday, February 13th, 2010
Christchurch, New Zealand to Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand
Per Contiki brochure: "We'll cross the spectacular Southern Alps via majestic Arthur's Pass and take in the jade greenstone carving at Hokitika. Then we'll journey along the South Island's rugged coast to the awesome Westland National Park, home to Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers."
Emmo & Mikey gave us a driving tour of Christchurch as we left (Emmo's from there). Cute little town. Driving by one bridge you see these large metal beams that kind of look like they were remains from an old bridge. Ends up they were beams from the World Trade Center and were given to the city
to be used as a sculpture memorial. We also saw the Christchurch Chalice
... I don't get it. Makes the Kiwi's happy though.
This was a travel day and on our way to Franz Josef Glacier we encountered some bicyclists who were doing a West to East triathlon. More power to them. We honked and waved and tried to encourage them to not fall over and die- that was a hell of a trek for them. We stopped at Arthur's Pass
which was a tiny hamlet and if you blinked you missed it. It had some
There was a triathlon going on.
I think it was called East to West...
curious creatures residing there, Kea
birds. Emmo warned us before getting off the bus that they were destructive creatures and were more pest than bird these days. They'll grab food and rip apart rubber parts of cars. Fun! So we all grab some lunch, head outside and sit at a table and, sure enough, a Kea lands on the table. As you see, they look like parrots but with "I am made to eat animals" beaks. Some of the girls squealed, jumped up and ran away. The only thing on the table was my camera bag and a someone's sandwich that was in a plastic container. I said, "guys, it's not going to hurt you and it can't pick up..." and then it snatched the sandwich container and flew off. Hmmm. That's quite some power it has (wings and beak wise). I just laughed and watched it fly off and one of the ladies that worked at the stop brought over a water bottle for us to use on the bird if it returned (and she asked that we return it when we leave or else it'll attack the bottle.) These are some serious birds! Anger issues! We get back
on the bus and Emmo announces that some local authorities got mad because someone had fed one of the Kea's a sandwich. I started sputtering that it wasn't anyone's fault, the damn bird swooped down... and Emmo started laughing. I guess he'd been sitting at an inside window and saw the whole thing. Little did he know how easy it is to rile me up 😊
We get into Franz Josef and go to our hotel, the Rainforest Retreat
. There are four of us in a room (bunk beds), Jen, Tara, myself and Alex. We get to our room, claim a bed (thank you Alex for taking the top bunk! 😊 and then someone realized that the sliding bathroom door was broken. It was off the runner and it wasn't going back on. I went to reception and the girl working the desk came and tried to fix it but no luck (and their repairman was gone for the day.) So, each time one of us wanted to use the bathroom you had to pick the door up and force slide it along the wall. Good times.
We took a quick walk around town and stopped at a grocery
store to stock up on munchies. I have fallen in love with Tim Tam cookies
(or biscuits as they cutely call them.) The best way I can describe them is that they remind me of the fudge covered Oreos but instead of white filling, it's chocolate filling- and 5 times tastier than an Oreo (and that's saying a lot!) Point of my delicious rambling, I picked up some more. I am quickly gaining back the 18 pounds that Europe took. Bummer. We had dinner at the hotel that night- okay food, nothing to remember really. We headed back to our room and Tara decided to climb up a pile of big rocks by our room and claim them for Britain (because she was an Izzard fan and had a flag!
) As she and Alex took turns climbing on and jumping off, David showed up with his tin whistle and played a little diddy that soon had us all dancing. We couldn't think of a group dance, so the three of us started doing the Macarena to some Irish jig. It was amusing.
Tot: 0.178s; Tpl: 0.056s; cc: 9; qc: 25; dbt: 0.017s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb