Having spent hours the other night writing the blog re the "Oh Mein Gotts" I was left alone in the Barnyard Backpackers Te Anau, knocking the keys on the keyboard trying to outline the details of a fantastic day. There is a rule in this place that everyone vacate the main buliding by 22.30 while the caretakers can get some sleep but I decided to stay on as there was no internet access in the lower bungalows. I found the area with the best signal and kept typing away even though I had turned the lights off and was like a mouse in the corner. Every so often I would hear the door open on the mezzanie floor and my large New Yorker land lady throw open the door upstairs and say in a stage whisper (or in other words 20 decibel stage whisper) for a yank " Who the hell put their runners in the tumble dryer at this hour?". I would stop and ask her was I disturbing her and she would gruffly answer.. "No but some MORAN is up to something and it sure as hell is buggin the shit outta me". She stomped back to bed and I continued typing with avengence. Anyhow at 00.45 I hear the thumping again and the door swung open again and she shouting at this stage" Jesus I am fit to kill" as she descended the stairs noisily. She cast an accusing eye at me and asked .... " did you hear anything?" to which I meekly replied.. "no".. all I am doing is typing quietly.. She thought it was some animal thumping outside and I told her I thought there was a mad cow outside alright cause I heard it bellowing!. She was just about to disappear again and she turned on me..."type again" she demanded.. and I did.. but as I did the table shook, and banged slightly off one of the posts holding up the ceiling.. Now what I did not know is that beam was also supporting the crossbeam to which the canopy over the large hearth of a fireplace was secured to..... so in other words every word I was typing was causing the vibrating thud that was echoing in her quarters .. so "I" was the trainers in the tumble dryer and the mad cow. I scarpered quickly down to my room and hid under the blankets in case the real mad cow came charging after me.
I gingerly opened the door to the common room the next morning to be greeted again by Jackie the New Yorker. I was nearly geneflecting with apologies and said that I was REALLY sorry for disturbing her night sleep.. She quipped .. "never mind I was not all that bothered" If that was her notion of "not bothered" then I would hate to see her if she lost her temper!!!
We had planned the day before that the terrible threesome would go on a overnighter to Doubtful Sound. It was with Realjourneys Holidays and we were to be in Manapouri Lake by 12 the next morning for a 12.30 sailing. We arrived to see the rest of our shipmates.... all of 26 others. Normally there would be 70 in total but the earthquake and the economy had shrunk the numbers. We had a marvellous cruise across the lake to be picked up by coach to the other, and then bused to Wilmot Pass and then onto the cruiser called the Fiordland Navigator. Its a wonderful ship with three sails but engine driven.. if ya know what I mean. We had a 4 berth quad room ( two bunk beds) just above the water level. We dropped our stuff and cruised the wonderful sound in brilliant sunshine with the storm clouds appraoching and munching freshly baked muffins and coffee. We passed loads of seals at the mouth of the sound and came back in. There was then a choice of either a kayak trip or to go on a nature trail in a tender boat with Carol the wildlife guide. It was just at that point that the heavens opened and we got soaked to the knickers. The girls had wisely decided to go kayaking while I was stuck on the boat with a pair of cranky "know it all" yanks and a lovely Brazilian lady called Margaret. While Carol enthused eagerly re the flora fauna and wildlife we, namely Mags and I asked appropriate interested questions while the water was pouring down our necks and soaking our backsides. When we had fininshed our questioning and were beating off the swarms of sand flies Carol sweetly asked.. "Any more questions?" to get the one question from glorious Gina the cranky yank " when are we going back?"!! So I decided to ask more questions to pee her off more. Any fool who goes out on the water in the rain in a hoodie and her good shoes and full make up is a complete gobshite as far as I am concerned and she had had a puss on her since the original boat trip across Lake Manapouri!
This Realjourneys crowd are so organised that when we got back to the boat they had clothes horses set up for our sodden clothes and provided fresh towels & hot showers to get ourselves warmed up again . The girlies arrived back after their kayaking and definately the over exposure had got to them as they wanted to go swimming off the boat. Mad fools were joined by the other youngtsers in the piddling rain and diving in. After they thawed themselves again with their showers we headed for dinner.. It was like Ballymaloe with a buffet and LOADS of excellent food. We got a bottle of wine and followed with 2 others. Everyone had gone to the wildlife lecture and then to bed bus us 3 lushes were solving the problems of life in the saloon until 12 midnight. Everyone one else were in bed since 22.00. We giggled and fell down the stairs thinking we were being quiet and fell into bed in brill form. The beds were about wide enough for a 5 year old midgit child and either I kept hitting my elbows or backside off the side wall for the night. We were warned that there would be an alarm call in the form of the ships engines starting at 06.30 but were not prepared for the din. I suppose if you pay for the cheap rooms you know you are not too far away from the engines! Anyhow we were all up agian at 06.45 and at brekkie for 07.00 much to the surprise of our fellow shipmates!!! This is a holiday for Gods sake!! The view that greeted us was magical though! There was a heavy rain and mist but the place was mystical with no other craft around and surrounded by mist shouded mountains rising magestically above us. The cloud was clinging at different sections to the hills and the "soft" rain was incessent. At one stage the boat stops and turns off the engines and everyone just stops and does not move..Complete silence descending in the shouded landscape and all you hear is the rain and the birdsong........ Incredible. Well it would have been but cranky Ginas husband Chuck decided that it was his time to shine while he moved like a beached whale taking the pics he "just " had to take there and then! Julia felt like breaking her silence and pushing him overboard and to be truthful it would have been a happy day for mankind if he had grabbed on to Gleeful Gina and pulled her with him!
I can never understand why people put themselves though an "endurance" and do things cause they are the right things to do on hols and then bitch so much that they make life for everyone else miserable. I think that Chuck and Gina should be part of the 80% of Americans who should NOT have a passport.. The girlies in Rangitoto Island would also belong to that group.... oh yeah and the yank that told me the best view on Key Summit was 15 mins away!
Anyhow enough bitching...... we had the most wonderful time and really great laugh .. the three bottles of Pinot Gris (NZ wine) helped immensely and we all thought we were hilarious.
Got back to Lake Anau and chilled for an hour and settled ourselves back into the Barnyard Backpackers before heading out to the NZ National Rodeo!! Yes you heard it right..... YEEHAW!!!! It was fantastic! Te Anau had the honour of holding the event this year. A true Rodeo with the stetsons, denim Wrangler jeans, cowbow boots and check shirts and all!! We sat mesmerised while cowboys lasooed , got the cows on the ground and then tethered them in about 16 seconds!! I was thinking it would take me not 16 seconds but more like 30 mins to get on the bloody horse as several of my buddies will testify to!!! Never mind grappling a writhing beast with very hard horns that could do you lots of damage!!! It was brill though. These guys were risking life and limb to win a few measley dollars and the accolade of NZ cowboy of 2010/2011. I would have preferred to sit at home drinking cheap vino and congratulating myself on NOT doing the stupid thing of riding a mad horse or indeed an even bigger madder bull! These guys were true sportsmen and incredibly skilled. It proves that men can indeed muultitask... ride, lasoo, balance, descend and tie ya up in knots.... whats new?? I can confirm that all cowboys are bowlegged!! They were hilarious to look at but built like the preverbial s**thouse wall! When someone won an event they were brought on the back of a open 4 wheel truck around the track waving their stetsons madly and proudly at the delerious crowds while smiling with large toothless mouths caused by several hooves in same!!
A fantastic day overall with wonderful company, great fun and great food! Tomorrow brings the parting of the ways for the terrible three but definately not the last time that we will meet.