Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Doing the couples thing in Queenstown

Between the work, the snowboarding and watching Game of thrones, me and my lovely other half have been doing the couples thing in Queenstown.  As a backpacker town, Queenstown is definitely single’s friendly.  If you’re open to partying and living life to the full then this town is for you.  But what if you don’t fit into that category? What if you’re in a different place wanting to use your time on one person.  That’s not to mean that suddenly JUST because you’re in a couple you become boring and unsociable, unable to function without each other.  We both do things without the other. However, it has meant that I have someone else to think about and when we do get days off together (which is rare) I want to spend it with him. 

What if you are in a couple, wanting to spend more time together but also want to experience this town? When we lived in Sydney, our home was always working, so we had to leave. This would mean vacating to beaches and the botanical gardens in summer. But here there are no beaches and its winter.  As we aren’t exactly rolling in dosh, many of the extreme (and expensive) activities have been out of reach.  So far, Zim hasn’t been able to come out on the ski fields with me, which I hope to change in the next few weeks!  Here are some of my best couple memories since coming to Queenstown.

Miniature Golf:  I hadn’t played miniature golf in a very long time, like since childhood holidays and I’m in no way a golf enthusiast (sorry but it’s really not a sport).  But having a game with my Mr was the most fun I’d had in a long time. It didn’t even matter that I lost and had to get the next round of mulled cider. Being silly and totally pointless was just what I needed. On this day he also took me to a book fair. If that’s not love I don’t know what is.

Having some movie time:  When we first got to town, ‘Movie time’ involved watching films hunched over my laptop on a hostel bed. Living. The. Dream.
 As our finances improved we upgraded to the Cinema.  At one point we became quite the regulars, even getting a loyalty card. As we have both been working physical jobs (Zim’s more intense than mine) it felt great to be transported to another world for a few hours.  To make the most of our house and its T.V Zim bought a cheap DVD player and now we can rent movies for a reasonable price. When we have weeks between having a day off together, this has been a great thing to do in the evenings together.

Ice skating:  One of my favourite days with Zim…. and one of my most terrifying.  On a rainy day we took shelter in the ice skating rink.  I thought ‘this could be fun!’ But alas, as soon as my skates touched the ice I was taken over by absolute fear. Memories flooded back of my brother's arm in a cast.  I shuffled along and could only bear staying away from the side if I was being towed. I laughed like a mad woman, almost to hysterics. I’ve done a lot of things in my live and been scared for much of it. And yet, nothing compares to the pure fear I felt on that ice rink. Zim, typically, was gliding about like a natural.

I count this day as a great one for we got to drink great coffee next to an open fire in town and look at road trip brochures. We began discussing our next step in our New Zealand adventure.

Walking. Lots of walking:  From the hills and mountains to beside the lake, there is always somewhere scenic to take a stroll.  Up to Queens hill remains a favourite. It helps that everywhere has a great view in Queenstown.

Eating: We may not be able to eat out every week in fancy restaurants, but food has been an important factor to us spending time together.  Zim is a much better cook than me but we try to take it in turns.  As a treat we have eaten montrous pizzas (R.I.P fat badger pizzeria) and as mentioned before, the Sake Bar on Shotover street has been a great find. 

They may not be the most exciting, thrill seeking activities in Queenstown, but they have definitely been the funniest and exactly what I've needed. x

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Family time

For four days my sister, brother in law and little nephew were in town. Part of their epic road trip around New Zealand, I had been looking forward to their visit for months. This is the first time I'd had family come and visit me overseas and it felt good. Like most people out there, missing my family is a real challenge for me. In the digital era, Skype, emails and mobile phones, things are a lot easier than for those who traveled twenty years ago. But there is nothing like the real thing. I miss drinking tea with my mum, talking crap with my oldest friends and watching action flicks with my dad.  For a brief time I got to have some family time.

 Unfortunately I was working two out of the fours days they were here, but all in all, it worked out well.

Our activities in town had to accommodate a toddler, but I think we did pretty good.  For the first two nights they were in town we hung out playing cards, celebrated somebody's birthday dining on steaks and chatted about life.

Then at the weekend the fun continued.  On the Saturday we took an excursion to Wanaka, driving through the mountain pass.  I cannot tell you how great it felt to be in a car,watching the scenery roll by. Once in Wanaka we had some fun at 'puzzle world,' an attraction committed to illusions and er,  puzzles (bringing a toddler along did bring entertainment here - although the maze proved a bit too much).  After watching out over the lake, we headed to Arrowtown (my third visit!!!) which was covered in icicles.

Our Sunday, was spent at the Kiwi bird life park, which was a bit too expensive for my taste, but I did get to see my first Kiwi Bird which are a lot bigger than I had been led to believe.  Then in the evening, we had the family round for a roast and farewells.

Like all good things, our weekend had to come to an end. Thank you to my family, for spending a few precious days in Queenstown.

Friday, 19 July 2013

First time on a lift

Have finally done it. I've out grown the beginner's carpets and flown the nest.  All the way to the beginners slope.  The first hurdle was the lift; I'd never been on one and had no idea what to do. Enter my friend Bo, who very kindly held my girly hand and got me to the top. As we moved above the slopes and higher up the mountain all I could think was 'will my board fall off???' The fact that only one foot is strapped in and gravity is pulling the board down, I was paranoid it would break off, fall to the slope below and take out half a dozen skiers.

A fellow boarder enjoying the view.

And then getting off the bloody thing! That could have been a disaster. Thankfully I scooted off and at least left falling over when I was out of the chair's way.

Fell a view times on my way down but not as bad as I had imagined.

My introduction to the slopes had begun, but had to go on hold for a while. Because a few days later some very special people came to town. A.K.A my sister, my brother in law and a wee man I call my nephew.  Pictures from an amazing weekend to follow soon.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Turning left

I did it!!!! On my day off me and a friend went to Remarkables Ski area. With the help of a very generous individual, who gave up a few hours of their time, I learnt to turn left.  The Zoolander of snowboarding is dead.  Long live a season of  actually snowboarding.

Now... as the above picture demonstrates (don't you just love my pink pants) , what with the snow attached to my behind, falling over is still playing a large part of my learning.  But something has clicked in my brain and all that talk of heels, toes and upper-body turning has begun to make sense. I've begun to enjoy this icy sport.

Thank you to all those involved in this day - it was AMAZING!!!!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Above the clouds

Photo of the moment.  On the days I work, one of my favourite parts is the morning commute. Not for the ear popping or the alarm call, but because once you make your way up the mountain, the dawn view can be, quite frankly, breath taking.  This picture was taken on a typical morning (although the mornings were a little lighter a month a go) as I reached the mountain.  Strange to see a mist covering Queenstown, whilst up above, we enjoyed clear skies.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Becoming the Zoolander of Snowboarding

Bet none of you mother lovers knew I was an artistic genius?  I know what you're thinking; 'Why has she waited so long to share her drawing talents?'  Well, I've come out of retirement as the best way to show you what's going on with this whole learning to Snowboard escapade.

Pictures would of been more ideal, but as I
a) don't have a reliable little camera
b) have been mostly practicing alone
but above all
c)  am a little embarrassed at how ungraceful I am at this point on my board and therefore, I'm not desperate to get photographic evidence.

And so I took fifteen minutes out of my busy schedule to give you these diagrams.  As discussed in my first attempt at snowboarding,  I know how to do the following:

- Go down Straight
- Go down horizonal using my heels to control (diagram above)
- Go from side to side like so....

But where I'm finding difficulty is using my toes when facing backwards, so I can go down with my lead leg forward. I think I'm 'goofy' (right leg forward) but that could all change with playing about and practicing. This has led to me unable to 'Turn left.' When I explained this to my other half, his reply was 'What? like Zoolander?' Yes. I also have this disability, except on a board, not on the runway.  However, after my last practice I did in fact turn left!!!! But there was very little control and when I start to go too fast, I freak out and turn right as I know I can stop it.

And so the learning continues. Perhaps one day I'll be doing this....

Unfortunately, I need two things to keep learning; practice and someone to instruct, and right now lady luck is not smiling at me. It seems on my days off either the weather takes a nose dive or a willing 'instructor' (at the moment I can't afford to pay for private lessons and so am dependent on friends to come out and give me pointers) is not available.  Its becoming a long process but I'm determined to get there.

P.S: You'll be glad to hear I'm trying to sort out an exhibition at the Tate Modern. I'm pretty hopeful that my 'Stick woman' series will be awarded the $750,000 funding it requires.

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