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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Mt. Cook

NEW ZEALAND | Monday, 23 January 2006 | Views [814]

            Today was my 17th, and sadly, my final day in New Zealand. I woke up at 7:30 and finished packing my bags, and then went down to breakfast. I sat with Lisa, Paul, and Rose, and had cereal and peaches. I’m going to miss everyone and everything! I was still pondering about the flight over Mt. Cook today. At 9:00, it was time to leave Lake Ohau. I’ll miss the stars! We began our drive, and I then decided to take part in the flight over Mt. Cook. So, Phil dropped off Andy, Mandy, Drew & I at the airfield. In this part of New Zealand, I really feel like I’m out in the middle of nowhere. There are no other buildings around and the runway isn’t even paved. I got a panoramic postcard of Lake Tekapo, which was where we were. The pilot gave us an introduction sheet before we got on. We took off and up we went high into the clouds. It was reminiscent of the seaplane flight in Australia. Our pilot told us about Lake Tekapo’s very distinct blue colour, and that it was because of depositing of glacial silt. We flew over the plains and then over the glaciers. I also learned that Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are two of only three glaciers in the world that extend into temperate forest. The other is in Argentina. Drew brought his nightingale up with him, in which is a school project. It’s a little cardboard bird a little bigger than a piece of notebook paper that he takes on his travels. It has been to several countries. We flew around Mt. Tasman and then around Mt. Cook, and got some fantastic photos of New Zealand’s two highest peaks. I also got a great photo of the west part of the South Island. It was so amazing being high above the glaciers—just so magical. I think this is a lot better than the heli-hike would have been. After about an hour of flying over these marvellous wonders, we landed back at the airfield. What a memorable and culminating flight for my time in New Zealand. I’m so happy that I took that flight. I have close-up photos of Mt. Cook. I mean, how many people get to do that? We were taken in a bus to rejoin everyone else. I saw an old church that was on a postcard I got last week. I also got another picture with Jacki. After a few minutes, we began our drive back to Christchurch. We drove through the Canterbury Plain and stopped in Geraldine. Of course I got fish, a Diet Coke, and some Grain Waves. In my change, I got a New Zealand florin, which hasn’t been minted since 1965! It was my last lunch with my new mates. After a half hour, it was time to go. We drove about an hour and a half. On the way, Mike had us fill out a survey, and I wrote that as a way to make the trip better, Contiki should go down to Bluff and Invercargill, and spend more time in Rotorua. We drove into Christchurch and I was taken to the airport. I gave Jacki a hug goodbye, Tom got my backpack down, and I got on the microphone and, with a tear in my eye, thanked everyone for their company. They’ve all had an impact on me in some way. Mike gave me a list of everyone’s emails and I’ll be certain to keep in contact with all of them. Mike walked me in and I tipped him $10, but I wish I had more to give him. I will definitely do another Contiki tour. Hopefully in Europe after I come back from Australia. I checked in, went through security and emotionally waited for my flight. At 4:00, I got on. The plane was small and barely half full. The flight attendant passed out some crackers. I was looking out the window at this beautiful land, and at the same time, telling myself that I’d be back for sure! After an hour and 20 minutes, I landed in Auckland. I was back on the North Island, but it wasn’t the same feeling. I got to the luggage pickup, but found out that my suitcase was already on the other plane. On my way out, I met a man who had just come from Antarctica. He worked for NASA. I got something to eat at McDonald’s, and then went and paid the $25 departure fee and did some last minute shopping. I got two things of Tim Tam Cookies, a New Zealand book, a knickknack, pen, and an upside-down map of the world. I walked around for awhile and I went on the Internet. I saw that Kobe scored 81 points in a game! That’s simply unbelievable! It’s not as amazing as New Zealand, though. At the gate, I talked to this lady who is from South Africa, and lives in Miami. She takes her kids when she travels. I’ll most certainly take my kids travelling someday. I got myself a Diet Coke and just waited. I’m going to get ready for my flight now. I will see you on the plane.

Tags: Mountains

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