I gathered all my stuff prepared to check out and talk to the tourism desk about getting to Franz Josef. To my dismay, the buses had already departed at 8:15 a.m. As much as I like Queenstown, I would really like to move on and see something new since I am limited with my time here in New Zealand, a country I have grown to love. He began checking every bus service and found that all of them came up negative. New Zealand is becoming a chore to get around. The transportation system of Europe is unmatched. The light bulb in my head lit up and so I asked him what were the odds of hitching a ride to Wanaka. I really didn’t want to be resolve myself to this but as they say desperate times call for desperate measures. He got me a cardboard box and I began scribbling down the towns of Frankton and Wanaka. Back to the place I began my hitchhiking experience two days prior, I swung put out my left arm and thumb with the cardboard sign clutched in my right hand. Oddly enough, a car pulled over within 7 minutes of my arrival to desperation highway. I opened the door and found a man in his late twenties to early thirties not looking in the best of shape. Rap music was booming and who knows what drugs he had gotten into in the past. I probably should have passed on the ride but I plugged myself into the passenger seat unaware of where this car may take me. He was passing through Frankton and could give me a lift to the roundabout. The rap music was decent but I still gave some fake interest in hopes of appeasing him. I managed to arrive and the roundabout in one piece and thanked him for the lift. Again posting up with the same pose as before, another car pulled over not two minutes later. I thought to myself, where was this the other day? A born Kiwi, he had a bit of hick demeanor to him but we passed the time with some good conversation. He diverted the car down a dead end dirt road which worried me at first but he was just stopping at his home for some more clothes before he had to go to work. He is a hunter by trade and we talked about the difference in gun laws between our countries among other things. He dropped me off in the city of Wanaka, practically a younger, less developed cousin of Queenstown. After price checking, I found a hostel worth it’s stones and looked up through my guidebook on what I should see and do. The Puzzling World was an option as a illusionist wonderland with a famous tricky maze but I knew that would be boring myself. The clouds were pretty think in Wanaka so I figured a walk around the lake was the best I could. Moving through the park on my way to the shore, I found some guys kicking a football around. Since I hadn’t played in awhile and am always desperate for a game, I challenged them to a little 2 v 2. We played for a short while before one of them left and we decided to throw the rugby ball around. We talked about the sport, since I still don’t quite understand it, while we messed around. It can almost be too easy to meet if I am willing to try. They were two great guys who I enjoyed joking around with before we departed in our separated directions. I took a less than inspired walk around the lake as my energy became further depleted. I had to lay down on a hillside to close my eyes for a little while. I could have stayed the night there I had such little motivation to get up and move. The scenery was gorgeous; a clear lake with a few boats enchanting the waters while the mountains stood behind them as a monstrous backdrop, both snow capped and heavily wooded. I prepared a meal for myself composed of chickpeas, pasta sauce, broccoli, and carrots with a loaf of bread to round things out. I would kill for a decent meal right now; I really need to treat myself this Christmas. While I ate my less than stellar meal, I looked down the table at a magnificent spread prepared by a couple of Asians (four bowls in total of soup, rice, colorful veggies, and meat – I had to ask to take a picture of this display since I was so impressed; ahhh good food…). After finishing my meal I chatted with an 18 year old English couple traveling together. I am amazed at how many young people are coming to Australia and New Zealand to work and travel for a while after completing their version of high school. You just don’t see that as even an option. After playing pool with a Frenchman, I headed back to my hostel room so that I could get some sleep before I would have to wake up early before the bus departed to Franz Josef. In my room were a Mexican, two Germans, and a French. The German girl really caught my eye; she kind of reminded me of Shailene Woodley, my dream girl. The Mexican girl gave me a hard time about her accent; I literally had no idea. I went from guessing Germany to Holland to France to South American countries with no luck. After awhile my sleepiness got the best of me.
Middle Earth Day 10: Wanaka