The bus from Christchurch to Queenstown is long and dull, aka I sleep
through nearly the whole thing. The few times I awake the scenery's
stunning, straight-up "Lord of the Rings" quality. During one spurt
of awakening I meet Sean, another American traveling without a fully
developed itinerary. We make plans to share a car rental for a chunk
of the trip, hopefully reducing how long I'll sleep through monotonous
A surprisingly long and wet hostel hunt when I reach Queenstown. By the time I finally find a vacant room, I'm soaked, freezing, and not caring that, at $25 NZD (~$18 USD) / night, it's nearly twice as much as my dump in Sydney was. Basically a house, I've got the big bed in a double room. With any luck, the other occupant won't show up.
Some slowness for the next few hours. I meet up with Sean and he backs out of the rental: a boring bus works better for him. In other excitement, I hunt down a large, unhealthy meal of a huge burger and massive bag of fries.
Finishing Ernest Hemingway's "Fiesta (The Sun Also Rises)," I'm loving his lifestyle. Misogynistic alcoholic or not, his autobiographical main character's certainly enjoying life. Knowing at least some semi-fictional "adults" can just keep regularly traveling makes me feel better about my addiction.
Between Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson, 2 of my favorite authors killed themselves. It still really sucks, but I think I at least have an idea why they might have done it. Drinking, traveling, and womanizing immensely, it seems like they kind of burnt out on the intensity of their lives. Maybe getting old and having to slow down was just a bit too much for them to handle. If nothing else, I'll consider them reminders to live life intensely: even if you're rich and famous, things apparently don't always grow better with age.
Rest of the night's barhopping. Things are pricey in this little ski / adventure town, but there are plenty of other travelers to talk to. Weird but tasty are the sweet, chocolaty beer at Dux de Lux and World Bar's teapots, literal teapots full of mixed drinks. Some good conversations and a cold stumble later, I've got my own room that isn't a car or tent for the first time in quite awhile.