Sunday, April 3, 2011

Franz Josef Glacier

While in Harihari our next move was to make our way to Wanaka to possibly find work. When we decided to stay longer, our plans changed. We hadn’t originally expected to visit Franz Josef, but after meeting one of Dan’s friend’s, John, who worked for DOC (Department of Conservation), we really hoped to take advantage of that. It all worked out in our favor and we didn’t even have to seek it out. Things tend to happen that way, and what I like to think is that if you will it, it will work itself out. So, we got back out on the road and thumbed it. A guy from Australia traveling alone picked us up and brought us right there. We met John for a drink that evening at the local bar (which we became regulars at the whole time in town). John is an interesting bloke. Bachelor, from England, hard worker, BIG drinker.

Every night we were coaxed into drinking.  It really did get old.  His ex-wife was Chinese, so I questioned whether I’d have some issues with him coming onto me, due to the Asian fetish (of course). I was right. The first night we got shit-faced and he went for a feelsky. Hell no. I’m a young thang and you’re an old man. Dream on, dude. Surprisingly it didn’t make it awkward after that first night. But our time there wasn’t over and I grew a bit wary.

The next day we were due to go up on the glacier. I didn’t know how things really worked on the glacier, but apparently you must have a guide. Most tours run $300+, but we were lucky enough to have John work out the kinks. He got us boots, crampons, and even took us up on the ice himself. We lucked out and spent the entire day on the ice. The only downside was the rain, but he had extra waterproof jackets (that actually were waterproof!), and what’s the rain when it comes to beauty? (Not counting when hitchhiking, then the rain just sucks) Anywho, the glacier was breathtaking. We spent nearly five hours on the ice; went through tunnels, made our own paths, drank pure glacial water (yummy). I even felt the urge to climb up a steep 20 ft shaft with a ice-axe. It was actually pretty dumb and I drew a little blood, but I didn’t fall and die, so that’s a plus (damn, what WAS I thinking?). After hours of gracefulness on teh ice we make our descent and what happens? I bust my ass. Hardcore busted up my knees. No one ever told me how hard ice was (haha). So hard that they left mean bruises for a couple weeks. Temporary battle wounds?

Our last day in Franz we spent chopping firewood. We were unaware that it would be a six hour day of full on chopping wood. After the first two hours we were over it, but the wood just kept appearing. Fuck me if I ever volunteer to chop firewood again. Don’t get me wrong, it was an awesome workout and my skills were a bit impressive (not to brag, lol), but that was unnecessary labor. Bah! We finished off the night with drinks upon drinks and then it happens. He gets the impression that I want him and he’s going to make a move on me (this was all said to Jill, who was being asked if he should "go for it"). He said I flirted with him, which may have been true, but I flirt with everyone, naturally. What makes him so special? After Jill gives him the low down on what the reality is, he takes off back home. Awkward. The next day we take off to Wanaka, completely justified to leave. Our time was well-spent in Franz Josef, but there was nothing more to do there. The glacier was great, but that’s all the area was good for (besides frisky older men, which aren’t my bag). As I like to say, onward and upward!

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