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

Role of Tour Guide

NEW ZEALAND | Friday, 9 October 2015 | Views [364]

Today I was a tour guide to, believe or not, my sister's best friend from kindergarten. Dannielle and Danielle (notice the spelling difference) were inseparable as little girls and we always knew the latter as "Danielle R." A few weeks ago I successfully talked Danielle and her husband Ted of coming to Queenstown in the beginning of their trip rather than the end because I'm leaving town in a few days. My "ass-blasting tour" as Danielle calls it would start with something tough: a summit of Ben Lomond. When I lead people on a tour I could say I'm very dominant. I told them from the get-go that I'd be pulling a "Harriet Tubman" and not allow them to turn back. The elevation of Queenstown is 310 metres and Ben Lomond is 1,748 metres so it'd be a fair hike. The easy way is to take the gondola to the restaurant and then continue from there but we would park and then walk up. The weather was absolutely brilliant today; not a cloud in the sky! I've hiked up to the Skyline Restaurant many times so now it was time to go further. After Ted and Danielle snapped a few photos we headed higher. I assured them the view only gets more magical! Three winters I've spent in Queenstown and this is my first time walking up Ben Lomond, and during the day we kept laughing about all the different things we both remember as children. Both of them stated this is a tough hike and how New Zealand rules the roost in terms of toughness. We arrived at Ben Lomond Saddle somewhat early and knew there was no snow on the summit itself since a friend trekked to the top yesterday. A few people passing us in the other direction told us to be prepared for a tough climb and that you have to crawl in some places. To Danielle and Ted I said "a mountain crawl is better than a pub crawl." Danielle seemed reluctant but we carried on. She knows I show no mercy and accept no excuses. I love quotes so here's another of my favourite. Years ago I had a manager named Grant Lee (two generals in his name) and he said "excuses are like assholes; everybody has one yet they all stink." That's my travel philosophy; if you want to travel, just do it and don't give me excuses! Danielle acted as my videographer for part of the trek, yet 20 minutes from the top she was scared and decided to turn back. She's as fearful of heights as I am of doctors, so I accepted that. Ted said he couldn't leave her on the mountain alone so he didn't join me, so I felt a bit crushed since I wasn't guaranteed a video of me. Relentlessly I carried on hoping there'd be someone at the top to shoot a video. Reaching the top euphorically I was amazed at the 360 degree panorama of snowcapped mountains! Whilst I didn't cry my eyes out like I did on Mt. Fuji I was gleeful and sipped a mate offered by two Argentine guys.

Soaking up the view I tried to find the geocache located here, and surprisingly my phone had reception even at the top of a mountain. Glancing at the logs I noticed the cache hadn't been found in nearly seven months so it could quite possibly be lost. I didn't want to spend too long on the summit because I didn't want to keep Ted and Danielle waiting too long. The three of us were beat and dreaming of a glass of wine (I wanted a coffee first).

It used to be that if you walked up to the Skyline restaurant that you could descend on the gondola for free but now tickets are $20 so we walked down. Then it was my tour of three of my favourite places in Queenstown! First stop: Cookie Time! With an abundance of beautiful ladies of which there are no such things as bad photos of, we all got a coffee. Vicki, as I've told her many times, would be the perfect pin-up model. Showing no mercy it was time for pizza at Fat Badger's. We talked about getting a couple of bottles of wine but the restaurant doesn't have a BYO license so we opted for just a glass with some tasty pizza margherita. Recently I got an Air New Zealand Airpoints credit card, so it's handy that when out with friends I can put the bill on my card (they give me the cash) and I accrue the Airpoints. Danielle and Ted ended up shouting me my dinner for being their personal tour guide, but I wasn't finished yet! They pointed out how they've noticed something about all the places I've taken them: there's an abundance of beautiful ladies. Next stop on the agenda: Patagonia Chocolates!

"There is no such thing as too much chocolate" -Jo Whitford-Smith

True that! Speaking of Jo, I will see her in only about a week. Everyone knows Patagonia hot chocolate is my favourite! It's the perfect way to finish off a great day with Chris Farrell's Tour! Rather disappointingly, my favourite Patagonia ladies weren't working tonight and Danielle humourously remarked "it looks like there's a few handsome men working tonight." 

I'm a tour guide yet I show no leniency! Travel is prototypically thought of as easy but it's hard work. You have to earn it, and when you do it you must wholeheartedly embrace it! 

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