Thursday, January 26, 2017

Kiwi Country

the Southern Alps
Today seemed like an occasion to do something special, to be somewhere special, so yesterday I flew to Chirstchurch from Colombo, and today I met ten other travelers and two guides for a tour of the South Island of New Zealand. For the first time ever, I wasn't interested in doing any travel planning, I didn't look forward to getting guidebooks and taking notes or doing tons of internet research and making my own way, so instead I booked a tour through REI Adventures and it started today - on quite an occasion for me, commemorated by a candle in my dessert at the group dinner this evening, but first there was a drive to the west coast, during which we had views of the Southern Alps, took a hike to Devil's Punchbowl Falls, drove some more until we got to the Tasman Sea, took a walk along the Punakaiki (pancake) Rocks, experienced enough rain to feel like I was back in the Pacific Northwest, made a new friend and temporary roommate, chatted with my group of very well-traveled companions, and felt like the occasion that is today passed very well marked. 

clockwise from left: Mike, Emily, me, Terry, Jack, Peter, Dale, Bas (guide), Lisa, Don, Merisha (guide), Claudia, and Jennifer - my companions for the next 10 days.