a month in QT

Posted from Queenstown Hill, Otago, New Zealand.

“It’s share-ee,” I announciate for the two thousandth time.

Some battles are not worth the fight.┬áMy name is now “Shiri.”

And somehow I have begun to speak in British phrases, which is understandable considering how many poms are here, but also kind of befuddling considering I’m so far from England.

Queenstown lakefront at night.

Queenstown lakefront at night.

The other day, after I failed a DIY phone repair and consequently fucked my Samsung Galaxy S3 ($200 fix now,) I managed to spill a glass of red wine on my white pillow and sheets, and a white shirt. Then in the morning I inadvertently knocked a bottle of olive oil onto the floor, helping me realize that this particular glass is, in fact, not shatter-proof, an observation I made when I continued to find glass shards some 10 meters away from the crash site . And then I thought today is probably not a good day to be packing parachutes. I mean, the way things were going. But I went to work anyway.

One month. One whole month of near constant work, getting over jet-lag and adjusting to 6:30 a.m. wake ups. Getting used to preparing lunch for work and juggling other domestic chores in my small amounts of free time. Or should I say spare time – the time not spent working or drinking or socializing or sleeping.

I have been out to party in Queenstown a few times. If you know where to go it’s not quite as expensive I originally pictured it would be. Also, many of the establishments offer loyalty or local rates on booze, which is very convenient when you just want to go for a drink or six after work and don’t want to see your days wages float away on a stream of golden delicious hoppy yumminess.

The bus system, known as Connectabus, isn’t particularly good, but it’s also not so bad. It stops running by around 10 p.m., which means you’ve plenty of time to get into town to enjoy the nightlife, but you’re definitely not going to get a bus back. It’s about $4.50 to get to town from my place, and I hear it could be even cheaper if I paid $5 for a refillable bus card. The cabs, however, also offer a locals discount. The other night my friend and I got into a cab and ended up finding out the driver was my neighbour. At least he knew we weren’t lying about being locals. Price home = $15.80.

You can party well into the wee hours of the morning here. There is a very different culture surrounding booze here. You can enjoy a few drinks and still drive. While it’s frowned upon, passengers can have road sodas, just keep them on the DL. Er. I guess it’s not totally legal, but no one really cares. It’s okay to walk down the streets with a beverage in hand, though you may get disapproving looks (or tuts from the poms.) But I suppose it does come in handy if you’ve had to hoof it to the bottle shop and you need to quench your thirst on the long walk home. So it’s also not uncommon to see groups of friends enjoying a case of beer on the beach or in a park.

Driving on the otherside of the car and the other side of the road has become natural – and actually, I’m not sure what it’s like to be on the right anymore, which I’m sure will be a different issue altogether when I leave NZ. I mean, I’ve never gotten in the wrong side of the car. Never. Not once. Nope. It’s so embarrassing.

I haven’t had any issues with my flatmate, despite his Jesus-loving ways and sporadic judgements when he thinks I’ve been drinking too much. The other day he invited a bike gang back to the flat. Honestly, no judgement. Forty bikers were mingling in the apartment, cooking up a storm, drinking and smoking weed. I was at work and witnessed none of this, apart from someone poking their head into my room at 4:30 a.m. looking for someone named Pete. A few, it seems, spent the night. But when I got home from work the house was clean, I mean, really really clean, no one was around (later I learned the bikers were at the pub and my flatmate was at church) and I had a few hours to myself before I retired for the night (like an old lady – before 10 p.m.) The only reason I knew anything occurred at the flat was because the neighbours told me – and someone other than me cleaned up. The next morning my flatmate said he lost control of the situation at some point. Really? You invited a bike gang back to the place and didn’t maintain control? haha.

It may prove to be a really interesting summer with my Jesus-loving flatmate.

Tandem instructor, Matt, doing his part for the cause.

Tandem instructor, Matt, doing his part for the cause.

The saddest part of this month is that all the moustaches are now gone. Well, almost all. Some people are keeping theirs on for Crate Day – the first Saturday of December when you try to drink 24 beers in a day to kick off summer (more on that later.) I really do love Mo-vember, even if other people don’t. I like the creativity. And something about facial hair inspires a fantasy only girls raised in the north have. And I like that it raises money for probably the only male health issue that people do anything charitable about. But let’s face it. Boobs are just more charitable-worthy.

So that’s one month down. I get one dedicated day off a week now, so I’m hoping to use it wisely. If the weather is good this week I’m going to do a jump or two. Then next week I may go to Dunedin or Invercargil just to check them out. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in New Zealand, you can get a lot done in one day.



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