Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday Night

I’m lying in bed typing this while Ljuba is watching some high-class British early-twentieth century drama. We’re staying at the Alpenhorn Motel in Te Anau, a decent place run by an older guy named Tony who feels awkward about our homosexuality but is doing his best to hide it.

We left Queenstown this morning and drove south. Along the way Ljuba pulled over and I took his spot, my first time driving on the left. It took a bit of concentration, mostly to make sure I was keeping in the center of my lane. Avoiding incident, we arrived in Te Anau safe and sound.

After lunch at a German-owned pizzeria we walked to a nature centre where I hoped to spend some quality time with rare endemic birds. Specifically I hoped to see takahe, chicken-sized and flightless, of which there are only a few thousand left.

The nature centre was a bit of a disappointment. I don’t really know what I’d expected, but the handful of chain-linked enclosures by the lakeside certainly didn’t fit the bill. The birds were exciting though: we saw kaka, kereru, kea, and kakariki both red and yellow-crowned. These guys were great, but the real reason we had come were the takahe. Their pen seemed empty, and I spent some time pacing the perimeter peering into the shadows beneath bushes trying to spot a shy specimen. Then, as I was on the verge of giving up, a small dark rock on the far side of the enclosure shifted its position. This wasn’t exactly the intimate experience I’d had in mind when planning this visit, but a distant sighting was better than no sighting at all.

After hiking back to the car, we drove into town and checked into our motel. The wifi we paid for was spotty, as seems standard around here, so we decided to head into town for dinner and an Internet cafe. We ate at the Ming Restaurant, which was both delicious and reasonably priced, and our table neighbors generously shared their Gewurztraminer. We had less success with finding wifi, however, as most places were closing around 8 and the only other option was a coin-op desktop PC. Finally we discovered a network which let us buy an hour of time with a credit card for five bucks. I sat outside and Internetted while Ljuba headed home to relax.

No comments:

Post a Comment