Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas in Queenstown

We are so grateful for the spirit of Christmas. This year has been quite different for Nick and I and we truly appreciate the love and cheer that we have felt. It has been a whirlwind week with Christmas parties, holiday hiking and then our Christmas vacation to Queenstown.
We had our work Christmas party, themed Pirate’s of the Caribbean. Nick dressed up as a HOT pirate and I put on a stick-on-mustache and called myself a pirate. Our efforts were in vain. Compared to our co-workers we weren’t dressed for the occasion. They had rented costumes, borrowed from theaters, bought wings and make-up and truly looked like pirates. Nick and I were just a boy and a girl that put on a bandanna and a fake mustache pretending to be pirates.
Towards the end of the night we were able to sit on “Santa’s” lap and receive a present. I use the word “Santa” lightly because “Santa” was more in fact a native bush man who was half naked, dressed in a grass skirt, bone earrings and necklace who had painted himself black. I sat on “Santa’s” lap and collected my present and was glad that this “Santa” couldn’t see me when I was sleeping or awake.
The next day we went on a 6 billion hour hike. Fine, I might be exaggerating a little, but not by much. We literally hiked for 6 hours through the mud to a seal colony. The hike was beautiful and took us through a mines tunnel, the mud, more mud and extremely steep stairs. When we finally arrive at the seal colony we couldn’t see any and it wasn’t until we started to leave that they finally decided to make an appearance. Did I mention though, that we hiked for 6 billion hours?
Nick and I decided to spend Christmas in Queenstown, which is considered to be the adventure capital of the world, and it truly is. It has jet boating, helicopter flights, bungee jumping and rafting. Basically whatever you consider adventurous, Queenstown has it. Our first adventure took us to the small branch that was held in a funeral home. We met the missionaries and watched the Christmas devotional given by the First Presidency. We left Fox Glacier around five in the morning to arrive in Queenstown by 9:30 to make it to church on time. I drove 95 percent of the way; the short distance Nick drove he was pulled over and given a ticket for going 118 km. Bad luck if you ask me considering I was speeding the entire time.
Our second adventure took us on a helicopter flight, a luge and gondola ride. Might I add that it was all FREE! We also went jet boating down the Shotover River. Holy cow, it was amazing. Our jet boat was within inches of the canyon walls, speeding over six inches of water and spinning 360 degrees. We had a blast and couldn’t believe the maneuverable of the jet boats, we were truly awestruck. Later we went bowling and I bowled my all time high, 105. Nick, in contrast, has no comment about his scores. That night as we went to bed we dreamed of Santa and hoped he would be able to find us on the other side of the world.
When we woke up we were pleasantly surprised to find that he had found us. Santa had paid for Nick speeding ticket, I received $30 and a pair of earrings and we both had a wonderful vacation in Queenstown. Nothing was open Christmas day so watched Christmas movies, feed the ducks and window shopped. We had a perfect Christmas and are so grateful for the holiday season. The next day we called our families to find them opening presents, went to the movie and drove back to Fox Glacier. Ticket free might I add. Meri Kirihimete!

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