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Home / Exploring Our World / Member Stories (31) / Amateur Writer (7) / Australia (5) / People: Rural (5)

 

Kiwi Travels Part 2

Email I Sent to Friends and Family While Living In New Zealand

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The next stop was farther south to a small place called Mahinapua. Ok, repeat after me, ma-haa-knee-poo-a. This town, I mean...hotel and bar, would not exist if it wasn’t for Kiwi Experience. They’ve been stopping here since the company began 15 years ago. Its only Kiwi Experience people who stay here, and every stop here there is a party. There is an 80 year old man, Les, who runs the place. Big pervert and funny as hell. Across the street is a lake (Lake Mahinapua) and on the other side of the bar down a short walkway was the beach. Quite nice. We had a theme party when we were there. The theme was "anything goes." We stopped in a town called Greymouth, at the mouth of the grey river (go figure), to pick up costumes and such. I got a blue t-shirt, blue shorts, cotton balls, glue, and an empty water bottle. Glued the cotton balls on half of the shorts and shirt and filled the water bottle up with...water. I bet Paul can guess what I was. I stole the idea from Paul! I was "partly cloudy with a chance of rain." Needless to say, the night went on in a haze. The next morning was rough on everyone, even the driver.

On our way down to Franz Josef the morning after the theme party, we stopped by a gold mining and paintball operation in the middle of no where. It was dumping down rain, the wind was going good, it was cold, and everyone was hung over. A lady jumped on the bus and told us what we can do there. She said, "Ok, can I see a show of hands of who wants to go gold mining?...Ok, no one...What about paint ball?...Ok, rough night in Mahinapua?" We just stared at her. Had to feel bad for the lady cause no one did anything. A few of us got off to get some free tea. That’s about it. Then we went on to Franz Josef. Franz Josef is a tiny little town that gives tours on the Franz Josef glacier as its main economic source. So I had to climb the glacier! The next day it was cold and rainy (normal weather for the west coast). We walked 40 min to the glacier before climbing it. The bad thing was, besides the crappy weather, we had to wear their boots which were not designed for hiking on loose rock for 40 min. They were designed for their specially designed crampons which sucked. I was really disappointed with this company. I absolutely loved the hike on the glacier. It was one of the coolest things vie done! Let me just give you an example of the moronic policies of this company. They split us up into groups of skill levels, and wouldn't you know they put me in the fast group with the highest confidence. They figured since I'm "big and strong" I shouldn't be in the average speed group. Christ! I was about to keel over with a heart attack trying to keep up with these guys! Sure I may be "big and strong" but that doesn't mean I'm in enough shape to sprint up a damn glacier for the first time in my life! But the incompetence continues! The weather turns to shit and we are in the second icefall, 4kms up the glacier. The guide gets a call over the radio that all groups are heading off the glacier. He turns to us and yells, "Well guys, looks like we are up here on our own!" I felt like I was on Mount Everest with a chimpanzee as my guide. Not two minutes later we come to a crevasse. Now just imagine this for a second. we are hiking in an ice fall with chunks of ice the size of house towering about 50 feet over us and we walk strait to a crevasse filled with ice cold water. The whole time it’s raining. The guide takes out is pick axe and cuts steps so we have to climb over this watery crevasse while straddling it. That’s ok, pretty cool feeling. But this is what I still can’t believe. As I’m crossing with about 5 others waiting behind me the guide yells from in front of me, "oh yea guys! If anyone falls in, you have to help each other out, cause I can’t help you!" I just looked at him in disbelief. He’s our friggin guide! He’s supposed to keep us safe and help us! After talking with him a bit, the only equipment he had in his backpack was his lunch, bag of tobacco, and a pink umbrella he would pull out to roll a cigarette. No first aid kit, no extra crampons or ice axe, and no rope or rescue equipment. And we were up there by our selves! Amazing no one has died. But I did enjoy the hike!

Continued...

 

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