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Following is the continuation from Newsletter No. 118 (April 2004) of the journal that Barbara wrote on her New Zealand vacation in 2000. (See introduction in Newsletter No. 114.)
I woke up at 02:30 after tossing and turning. Definitely the worst nights sleep yet. I put on bug spray, but it's kind of like closing the barn door after the horse escaped, after yesterday's bug bites. Mom & Dad were up at 05:00. We are to wake Don & Lorraine at 05:30. We got on the road very close to our projected time of 06:00. It was still totally dark. We took the cutoff from Fox Glacier Village to the Glacier viewing point. It was misty, but we could see the glacier and were not impressed. We drove back to the Lake Matheson cut off. It was starting to get light. We stopped at the coffee shop and had a cup – maybe the best one we've had on this trip.
We found that it's at least a twenty-minute walk to the viewing jetty. If it's sunny one can see Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman reflected in the lake. Dad decided not to make the trek so Mom didn't either. Don & Lorraine started and I went back to the van for our cameras. I caught up to them. When we got to the jetty there were a Japanese fellow and an English couple there. It was partly sunny and all we could see was Mt. Tasman. Hopefully we got some good pictures. We headed back and I forged on ahead and at my brisk pace it did take me a solid twenty minutes. We got our bread, cheeses, and ham set out and were just starting to eat when Don & Lorraine arrived. We finished up and got back on the road about 10:00. The road was windy and we climbed, following the West Coast south along the Tasman Sea. We stopped at Knight's Lookout and took a few pictures. Dad rode up front after not feeling too well from his medication. He did begin to feel better. About 13:00 I was getting hungry so we began looking for a place to stop. Everyone but Dad I were snoozing. I spotted a café and asked Dad what he thought. Don spoke up from the back and said it sounded good! It mostly had cold sandwiches and a few hotg dishes. It was OK. Both Dad and Don bought pins for the hats – there is a race going on! Mom, Don and I took pictures of the large sheep herd across the road.
We were back at it with Don riding shotgun. We went over Haast Pass and began our descent towards South Central NZ. It was very much like crossing from Western Washington to Eastern Washington. We drove out of the rain into sun and much drier vegetation, but with spectacular lakes and rivers. The lakes were huge and with beautiful azure and deep blue hues. I pulled over for a photo ops. for the back seat. Dad was impatient to get to our destination so when another Kodak moment presented itself he nixed stopping. We were about an hour away from Queenstown when Don and I saw a sign for a fruit stand. I was too late. We saw another, but it looked like everything was pre-bagged and on the honor system. The third one looked rather large, but again I missed the right turn, but we thought there might be another one further on. NOT! So we went up a side road to turn around. The slowing woke Lorraine. She asked if we had missed a turn. Don and I chuckled and said, "Sort of." We went back and Lorraine stayed in the car. Dad bought baby plums for $1.10 (NZ,) Don: oranges and peaches for $1.10 (NZ.) Mom: 5 apples for 45 cents and I got a pint of strawberries for $3.30 (NZ). Lorraine peeled an orange and it was very sweet. Dad passed around his plums. They were pretty cute and good, too. We got to our hotel The St Moritz Novotel about 16:30. Again the reservations had us all messed up. Lorraine was in the single room, Dad and I are a couple and Mom and Don are married. Our rooms are fantastic. There is a full kitchen without a dishwasher, but one of those dumb washer/dryer combinations. It's a suite with a living room, bedroom, bathroom, two TV's, couch, table and ˝ fridge.
I called the Milford Sound reservations to confirm for tomorrow. Then we all met in Mom & Dad's room to share a bottle of the Chardonnay from the Siefried Winery and to discuss our day tomorrow. We can not take any wine aboard and they offer picnic lunches for $11 (NZ.) They will pick us up at our hotel at 09:15, fly us to Milford Sound then we cruise through the fjords and waterfalls and then fly us back. We should be back about 16:00.
We went to dinner at Lombardi's here in the hotel. Don had cooked oysters, Lorraine: the special of the day; a mixed seafood platter including scallops, Mom & Dad each a chicken pizza and I had the Tapa's platter which was really an elaborate antipasto tray with breads, smoked salmon, sliced ham, salami, feta cheese, pickles, green olives, roasted green, yellow and red peppers, egg plant, zucchini, chicken, pork, roast beef, and four spreads of humus, sundried tomatoes, black olives and a pesto paste. Don & Lorraine finished theirs, but Mom, Dad and I each only ate about ˝ ours. We decided that we could eat that for dinner tomorrow. Then after we went to our rooms, Mom called me to see if I could cancel one of their box lunches. I also decided to cancel mine. So we can have dinner as a group tomorrow.
I couldn't figure out how to turn off the whiny, annoying fan in the bathroom. I called down to the front desk. Over the phone the man told me to give it a whack. I did and called back and told him that all I had succeeded in doing was hurting my hand! Finally, the guy who took Mom & Dad's bags to their room came up. He didn't have a clue. He said he'd put a call into maintenance for tomorrow. Big help. I have put Neosporin on my bites and it has seemed to help some.
(To be continued.)
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