I just returned from my job interview at the DOC and I think it went really well. The supervisor said she would contact me by Friday so I really really hope I get the call. Even if I don’t, there is actually a lot of jobs here. About a quarter of the shops downtown have hiring signs and the jobs paper is bursting with restaurant and cleaning jobs. Alex on the other hand is extremely lucky right now (I think). Yesterday while I was preparing for my interview he went around to hand out his resumes. He stopped at a job agency and even though they were closed he stuck his resume in the mailbox and around seven o’clock last night he got a call saying he had a job until December and to show up at this place in the morning and he would be off to work. I don’t really know where he is or what he’s doing (but don’t worry, I got a text from him, he’s still alive!). Alex might be out there hating his life right now but hey, we got an income and hopefully he makes it back in time to treat ourselves to the good life and go out to eat at one of the fabulous, surely authentic, Mexican restaurants in town! We also scored some jobs this weekend planting trees on Friday and Saturday so that should bring in about three hundred bucks for us so yeah… we are kind of bigshots now.
Anyways a little more about my interview. The only interview clothing I have is a dress. And it’s a nice dress… very appropriate interview attire. Except for that it was only 28 degrees this morning! I knew I could handle it though because Alex was going to drop me off at the office an hour early and there was café I could hang out in until it started. Alex had to be at his mysterious job at 8:30 and was close enough to walk but my interview was about five kilometers up the highway and I’m still too chicken to drive the car so he had to bring me around eight. We found the place easily enough and I wrapped myself up in a scarf and kissed Alex goodbye only to find out that the café didn’t open for a half an hour. I was stuck outside in a dress below freezing. I found a little trail that led away from the building that said it was fifteen minutes away from a beach so I decided what the hell, if I keep moving I might avoid dying! It was actually quite beautiful. The beach was right on Shotover River which has crystal blue rapids and canyons around it. I practiced my answers out loud as I walked making me feel a little calmer about doing the interview. It was so cold I think I grew back all the leg hair I had went out of my way to shave for the dress but other than that I think it helped. By the time I got back I had about twenty minutes to thaw in the café before heading up to the office. The panel was super nice though and they seemed to like my answers. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Now more about Queenstown. When we arrived the weather was dreary. I remembered that Queenstown was surrounded by mountain ranges but unfortunately we couldn’t see any of them! It was hard to get down about the day though because we splurged and got a hotel room and oh what gloriousness hotels offer after three days of car sleeping! They have beds! And heaters! And television! And then we splurged again and got domino’s pizza! Which is honestly a steal here because pizzas are only 4.99 so it would have probably been more expensive to actually go to the grocery. We deserved it after our car sleeps though. The swampy shoes were rancid and when Alex pulled his feet out of the sleeping bag I thought I was going to throw up so we cracked our windows but even those were covered in frost. The people next to us in their full luxury campers were looking at us with shocked faces. We were in definite need of some indoor time!
The next morning things were looking up. The sky was clear and we could see all of the Remarkables in their glory.
I had already booked our hostel for three nights because I knew I was going to want a place to get ready for the interview so we had a place to go, and decided to kill the time in between hotels by taking our first hike. Up a mountain. In the winter. Specifically this mountain.
The beasts name was Ben Lowman. This area of New Zealand was settled by the Scottish, in fact New Zealand has more bag pipe players per capita than anywhere in the world. In Gaelic Ben means mountain so it seems that many of the mountains here were named the same way. The sun was finally shining so we could see the peak high above us. To get to the peak was a six to eight hour journey but the saddle was only four hours so that was our goal. We packed two bottles of water, two granola bars, and headed up. The first part winds through mountain bike trails all the way up to the mountainside adventure complex. If you want to be lazy you can skip this part of the hike by taking the gondola up but then your butt won’t look as nice later so we passed. It’s more fun to hike anyways because you can see the people on their luges rolling down the sides and the para gliders jumping off the cliff and floating down around the sides.
Past the adventure complex we found the sign saying we were at the official trail (an hour after hiking the unofficial trail) and we headed down the path. It was brutal. The trail barely did any cut backs. It was pretty much just straight up. And after you come out on top of the tree line, the snow starts. Only a little at first, then all the sudden its two feet thick and you can see snow caves on either side of the path and you hope to god that what you’re stepping on is part of the trail and not a death trap.
As the path moved up it got windier and colder but the trail was such a brutal incline that it felt good. At one point it was so steep and the ice was so thick we were using our hands to keep moving up.
Finally we saw the sign that would take us up to the peak and we stopped to have our granola bars. The view was incredible. There was no way to know which way the path went, you just had to trust the person before you had it right and step where they stepped.
As we were having our snack we heard someone reach the peak and shout out a “wahoo!!!!!!!” Can’t wait until that’s us in the summer! After we had eaten we realized that going up was actually the easy part. Trying to go down steep icy covered trails was nearly impossible. We basically just slid down as if we were on a snowboard keeping enough distance between us so that when one of tripped we didn’t take us both over the side of the cliffs. We don’t have any pictures of the descent because we had to put everything away just to try and get down but it was all worth it. You get the mountain almost to yourself and peaks look better with snow on them anyways!
We will hopefully be giving you job updates real soon!
Love you all!