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Glaciers! Kayaks! Treehouses!

Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

My dear uncle Denny informs me that I am doing a "pissy job" of informing all my devoted readers of my actions here in the Land Down Under. Sorry. But internet is costly here. Nonetheless, I hate to keep you all waiting with baited breath, so here's an update on what I'm doing down here.

Once again I can say this has been an amazing week. First things first: I landed a job cleaning tree houses at the Rainforest Retreat. Yes. I WORK IN A TREEHOUSE IN THE RAINFOREST!! Hahaha. Of course I do. I'm not getting paid in actual money, but rather in accomodation (though sadly not in a treehouse), food and alcohol. Works for me! Freezes up the travel budget anyway. So I'm currently situated in Franz Joseph, on the west coast of the south island, "gateway to glacier country." It's a bit Stanleyesque in that only about 75 people live here, and they're all either in the hospitality industry, or they're outdoor guides and tour people. Just a dot on the map, really, but it's got a bookstore and coffee shop and it's absolutely beautiful here among the mountains and rainforest. It's quite strange going from Seoul to here. But, good strange.

Yesterday, I got to go up on the Franz Joseph glacier. It was absolutely stunning. Probably about the coolest thing I've ever gotten to do. We were on the ice for a full day, and got to go into some really amazing crevasses and ice caves, and I got to try my hand at ice climbing!! Not that I need another hobby. But it was truly breathtaking, and now I definitely know the real meaning of glacial. I'll put some pictures up the next time I'm online, if I remember to bring my camera cord. Oh technology, you've thwarted me again.

Also, in a nod to how diverse this country is, last week I was up in the Nelson area (north of here) kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park. It was sunny and gorgeous. I went hiking (tramping, in the local dialect) in the park for about 12 km and then paddled back. SO RAD. This week has provided some much-needed outdoor therapy as I work on getting grounded again. I really tried to keep sight of the big picture in this last year abroad, but it got difficult sometimes in the Korean madness, when everything around me was so foreign and just purchasing cough syrup was a victory worthy of highest celebration. But I can feel myself coming back. I am really happy here. Also, my uncle Joe is getting me in touch with a friend whose family owns a winery down here, so if that pans out, I think I'll head up that way on my way back north. Joe has been a far more helpful uncle than Denny, though I love them both the same.

For now, it's back to the treehouse for some dinner. Stay tuned for pictures!

permalink written by  alli_ockinga on February 27, 2010 from Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand
from the travel blog: New Zealand!
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alli_ockinga alli_ockinga
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Hey everyone! In February 2009 I left the Pac Northwest for South Korea to teach English for a year. This is what I'm up to! Keep in touch!

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