I woke up with mostly everything packed before saying goodbye to Adam and heading out the door. Just when I had reached the second floor I realized I forgot my linens on the bed. I needed to return them to the desk before I left but I thought for a moment they could easily handle it themselves. My conscience got the best of me and so I retraced my steps back to the room I desperately wanted to forget. Oddly enough, I saw my bath towel hanging from the bed post and thought that that would have been a shame to forget. When I pulled it off the post, an item I could not lose was revealed, untampered: the iPad. Shit that was close. I very nearly completed the coup de grace of lost items in that demented moment. Not having the luxury of time, I hurried along to the Kings Cross train station. The train still bypassed Martin Place train station even though the hostage crisis was over. I was told by people that were in the area that the citizens of Sydney as well as other passers by made an impromptu memorial to the two people killed by the gunmen. A large section of city central was covered with countless flowers piled together in remembrance of the victims. Waiting in line to get through security and whilst sitting to be boarded I couldn’t believe that today I was already leaving Sydney, the city I had longed planned as the first stop on my tour of the Australian continent. I also couldn’t believe that I would be in New Zealand, a country I have long wished to visit (mainly to do The Lord of the Rings), within a few hours time. First stop is Queenstown, after that is beyond me. I have a general idea of what I would like to see but you never know where the road might take me. For a mere three hour flight, I had the best food ever on a plane during my flight to Queenstown with Qantas Airways. In the typical plastic and foil container was practically a full English breakfast along with yogurt and granola. Well done Qantas for serving real food for once. While watching some random movie as we got closer to New Zealand, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the woman sitting next to me was oddly staring at me or trying to peer out the window. After turning my head to the window next to me, I realized I had entered nirvana. Mountains upon mountains continued for kilometers on end. I couldn’t find a valley or plain as much as I tried. I could see some paths formed along the spines of the mountains in a land barely tapped by humans; this is what I came across the world to see. We touched down in Queenstown and began the process of getting through international airport security. Normally the people working these counters are quite stringent but these Kiwis had a constant happy demeanor to them. Not wasting much time at the hostel I got some quick advice on a good afternoon trek and headed out the door. The walk was brutal at times but I felt like I was hiking the same lands as the Lord of the Rings characters did. I got a wonderful view of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu down below as well as the Remarkables out into the distance. I met a couple of Californians who I got the chance to talk with and joined them for the hike down as well. I learned that they had quit their jobs and started off their travels in Australia with plans to continue through a great deal of SE Asia. The whole SE Asia trip has been a common theme from the many people I have met while down here; most likely since it is relatively close. I am fascinated with SE Asia so I always have a boatload of questions to throw at them. We split off and I headed to the grocery store to make my first proper meal on the road. I bought some vegetables, pasta noodles, and sauce to make a vegetarian dish. At the hostel, I told my roommates to share the meal with me and began the good old cooking process. I made way too much but it was quite good and cheap. The night was relatively quiet since I wanted to get another head start on tomorrow but I did manage to drink a couple well deserved beers and chatted with a few people before heading up. Not bad for a first day in the land of Kiwis.
Middle Earth Day 6: LOTR