7’s Heaven

We woke up, and again, the sky diving got cancelled—SPOILER ALERT: skydiving never happened which wasn’t that big of a bummer for me (It’s me Rob!) because I decided that one day stressing over the whole jumping-out-of-a-plane scenario only to get cancelled was enough.

The good news was, there was a national rugby 7’s tournament going on that day, literally a stones throw away from our hostel (we were told to NOT throw stones at the field of play). The tourney would be all damn day, there was not one cloud in the sky and it was encouraged to git-on-the-piss—things were looking up!

We assembled our crew, Team America, as well as a Scotsman named Steve, and an Englishman we called Josh. Luckily, they knew all about the sport, so they could field all of our questions. Though I played rugby in high school, I still didn’t get all the rules by my senior year… go Prep! Halstead! Want it, don’t need it! Damn it Adams! (Prep Rugby inside jokes lolz)

The scene on the pitch was ripe; hundreds sat on a hill overlooking the field, everyone was enjoying ice-cold beers, and there were beautiful women everywhere. I think we may have done more people watching than rugby watching; the Kiwi bru uniform is an NBA throwback jersey, some sort of US sport snap-back, and a weird haircut. We saw a Danny Granger jersey three times while we were at Rhythm and Vines, and when Doug asked. “Why Danny Granger?” the bru responded, “I like the colors,” which is apparently the common reason.

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#jerseychasers

The best thing about 7’s is that each game is only 14-minutes (7-minute halves) and games start quickly after the other ends—it’s nonstop, and fun to watch; we saw some really strong calves! Are those implants bru?! As our non-American friends fielded our questions, one of them, Steve, told us to look out for a piping-hot girl dressed in yellow walking our way, “She’s a friend, and also a stripper,” he said in his Scottish accent, trying to contain his cheeky smile.

She came and sat with us, and then another one of her friends joined us, she was also a stripper, and once the topic of professions came up, they were more than willing to field our questions about their work life. It was extremely interesting… extremely. What’s your favorite song to dance to? Do you have a stage name? What are the best stripper names you’ve heard? Is there really no sex in the champagne room? What’s your favorite pre-work snack? If we come visit you tonight can we dance on the stage?

The last answer was a yes, so we had it in the back of our minds to head to the booty club at some point that night… “She got a big booty, so I call her big booty!”

Back at the hostel, people were getting ready for the evening. While some of the boys showered, I joined three German guys playing a little board game.  It involved rolling dice, and a sheet of paper with a grid with different demands. For example, “If your age is an even number, drink.” The game/drinks went very fast!

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#JTB #boiz4lyfe

The other boys joined us, and we eventually stopped all the horseplay and got to talking. We found out our new German friend Book, was a lead singer in a German band and one of their title tracks was called Unfuckable Ghetto Bitches, a cover of an old Beethoven piece, of course! The song was awesome, and the chorus was undeniable catchy—for the rest of the weekend we’d all go out and sing the chorus, “Unnnnfuckable Ghetto Bitches” from bar to bar, punching the sky with delight! They also taught us the German term, “Alless Shizer” which loosely means… FFFFF this! So we’d also holler that the rest of the weekend.

We hopped around from bar to bar, and ended up at a pub where our group of ten found a massive table and began plating an NZ Army game called Pompey, named after a promiscuous army female, who we also named our car after. It involves slapping the table and hollering, “POMPEY, YOU FAT BITCH, YOU DIRTY F&*$ING WHORE!”

Needless to say, it’s very fun, and after a while the bar staff told us, “You boys need to settle down, this isn’t a rugby bar.” It seemed like a rugby bar, but we decided to start dancing with some cougars to quiet down a bit. During a ballroom dancing clinic I was putting on, I looked up to see our boy Marty shuffling on a table—he did a great job!—but we were encouraged to find a different bar by some of the massive bouncers.

“Why don’t we visit the girls?” That’s a fine idea! Sure enough, Steve led the way, and we entered the booty club… we looked around, and it became shockingly apparent that NZ booty clubs are much different than US booty clubs… not that we know… we’ve just been told by friends… and we’ve scene some movie scenes in booty clubs… and also some TV-14 TV shows with such scenes… other than that, no real experience.

The place seemed like your standard trendy lounge, nothing special, and there were only about five guys in the entire place. The vibe was weird. Super duper weird. We declined the $20 beverages and just hung out until our lady friends came out… which they did twenty minutes later… with there clothes on, and I use the term clothes loosely. After chatting with Steve, our blonde friend who had spent the day regaling us the intricacies of the stripper-lifestyle, disappeared.

And then… she retuned.

Naked!

GROSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Just kidding… her body was ridiculous!

It defeated the whole idea of stipping—as in taking one piece of clothing off at a time, but it was still very interesting.

We ended up leaving shortly there after and getting after it, all the while singing, “Unnnnnnfuckkkkkableeeee ghetto bitches!”

Moral of the Story: Strippers are interesting.

A Different Kind of Tandem

Rolling over to check the time, I was excited to see Charlie snuggled up with one of the Australian girls in the single bed right next to mine. My excitement manifested itself by immediately hollering out, “Charlie! You Dawgggggg!”

Living in Brickahau5 my senior year, I made it a point to have awkward morning small talk with any of the ladies that were generous enough to spend the night.

For whatever reason I really enjoy asking questions like: “Did you have fun last night?!?” “Did you guys kiss on the lips?!?” “What are you doing today?!?” and then, regardless of what their response is, immediately reply with some combination of “You Dawggg!” “Oh your bad!” or “Yeah you did!”

Some girls really embrace the conversation to show that they can hang and some girls literally want no part of it. Belinda (what I found to be the Aussie lass’s name) was the latter and she stonewalled my barrage of inquiries with one-word/dead-end/unenthusiastic answers left and right. Charlie was a great sport about it, but eventually had to put an end to the painfully awkward conversation and give her a ride back to her hostel.

Still riding the Queenstown high, we called into the sky diving place to make sure we were still a go for that morning. The day before, they told us if it was too windy the jump would be cancelled so to call at 8 AM and find out. Apparently their definition of too windy is pretty soft because standing outside our hostel we could barely feel any at all. Although initially pretty bummed, we all agreed it was better it got cancelled than we all jump to our deaths. So were still gonna chalk that one up as a win. #stillalive

Unwilling to let a little weather throw off our good time, we decided instead to rent bikes for a couple of hours and ride around that gorgeous body of water we drove past on our ride in. 4 regular bikes and 1 tandem later we were off. We all took turns on the back of the tandem while rob had to ride on the front the whole time.

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“You’ll look sweet, upon the seat, of a bicycle built for two!”

For anyone that has never ridden a tandem bike, it is not as easy as it looks. This is especially true going down a hilly dirt path, so the whole group was lucky Ernie brought a tandem bike to school for Rob and the rest of the Clams to ride to the bar their senior year. Thanks Erndiggler!

Aside from the views (see below) and us getting back to our biking roots after living in LA for four months without a car- one highlight from the ride was Rob’s decision to ride the bike into the lake. Starting at the top of a huge hill, he stripped down to his boxers and road straight into the water with the rest of us filming and laughing. Looking back, still not really sure what possessed him to do it but god dammit, it’s going to make great footage for the NZ B.D.E. Video (stay tuned).

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Said View

That night there was a lot of talk going on Southern Laughter about hitting up a bar crawl. 5 bars, 5 drinks, $25.00. Not a bad deal but, being the cheap backpackers that we are, we decided to just get really drunk beforehand, not pay the $25 dollars, and just follow the crawl around.

Moving from the first to second bar, we quickly saw the advantages of paying that $25 dollars. Because we didn’t have a wristband we had to wait until all the members of the bar crawl got into the bar before we did.

OHHHHHHH NOOOOOOO!!!!

Wait two minutes to get into the bar?!? Fuckkkkk we should have paid that money for sure. #shitnoonesaid

We continued along, having a whole bunch of fun until we heard the guide say. “Time to go! Next Stop, ICE BAR!!”

We were recently swindled into thinking Ice Bar was a cool place a few weeks earlier in Vegas and spent 45 dollars to stand in a freezing cold room, wait in line only to get two super sugary drinks, and then got asked to pay another $40 to get any pictures in case we wanted to pretend like we were having a good time… we decided this was the end of the line.

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Wanna go to Ice Bar??? I’ve got a better idea… No Fucking Way

Instead we opted for another club/late night pizza and went to bed hoping the wind gods would be on our side tomorrow and we could have another shot at sky diving glory.

Moral of the Story: I would rather go skydiving with 100 MPH winds than ever go back to ice bar.

The Get Down in Queenstown

Ol’ Pompey gave us a good scare, but we were off to the Milford Sound with smiles on and fingers crossed. I wish I could write a story about how sweet the Sound was, but it rained, and we had to cancel our kayaking excursion… still batting .999 on the season, so we couldn’t complain, plus the next stop was Queenstown, a place everyone raved about.

One of the things you learn about traveling is that managing expectations is a big thing in life. When we were undersold on a place or adventure, we ended up being pleasantly, nay, overjoyed with surprise. In this case, we were told great things, and upon arrival it was clear, these people were not hyping.

Charlie cautiously took Pompey down the bending road, which curled around another beautiful lake, Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown sits right at the edge of the lake, and the surrounding mountains give you an immediate feeling of, “Ooh, this is cozy!”

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View of Lake Wakatipu… DirtY scene

As we drove up, Ira phoned up the people in charge of the skydiving, and made a reservation for four to jump the next morning—there were five of us, and Marty wasn’t feeling it, so I had to make a decision whether or not to cancel before 7 o’clock the next morning… the adrenaline was already pumping… I do not like heights… or tiny planes… or being attached to a man… who isn’t Doug…

Driving through the town, there was a palpable buzz, an energy that moved the entire town. Everyone seemed to be riding the high of adrenaline that comes with booking an adventure, or finishing one.  It felt good to be apart of it.

We found a hostel called Southern Laughter, which had funny idioms written on the walls, and a summer camp feel. It would be our favorite hostel we’d stay in, and we even got our own room with five beds… can you say pillow talk!?!?!?

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These were in the bathroom… Frank! You OK?!?!?!

Charlie was keen on playing Edward Scrumpy Hands that evening: instead of forties, you’d attach Scrumpies to your hands, and see what happens. We found Scrumpies, but no tape, so we just made a pact sealed with blood (as is tradition) to not let go of our scrumpies until we finished.

A scrumpy comes in what looks a liter of sprite, and tastes like carbonated white wine… not very easy or tasty to drink. One Scrumpy down, I felt like a high-schooler after two games of ruit in the Prusoff bassment, “Yo” I laughed, “I think I’m drunk already… haha!” After both Srumpies, we were all silly, and on our walk out, Charlie started spewing in the bushes.

“NO MAN SPEWS ALONE!” We chanted, and joined him.

The street of bars was phenomenal—low-rise buildings with music blasting out into the streets. We stormed into World Bar, enjoyed some phenomenal music they were playing, dance it up, and enjoyed the beautiful scene.

I’m sure this song/horse has been beaten to a pulp in the States, but Will.I.Am’s Scream and Shout had come out and it made the boys lose it that entire weekend… let’s be honest, in da club… this song BANGS.

“Ahhh SCREAM and SHOUT andletitallout!” blared, I bounced around the club, attempting to chat up the beauties that littered the dance floor… to quote my main man Sir Winston Churchill, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Indeed!

Toward the end of the night, a few of the boys met some generous Australian girls, and four o’clock came out of nowhere. We’d be jumping in five hours, and there was no shot I was waking up and canceling… I had decided before my first drink, “Ahh what the heck. I’ll jump!”

Moral of the Story: 12 hours in we already realized Queenstown is the truth.

Pump the Breaks

With Rob behind the wheel, we were all reasonably certain Ol Pompey would hold up just fine. We had gotten her checked out by a mechanic earlier that day and despite the smoke we’d seen coming from the front brakes, we were assured this was just from over-use and the breaks were good to go.

Although Charlie had made the trip to the glacier that morning without any difficulties, apparently Pompey didn’t like the way Rob was driving because, after about a half an hour of driving, shit got real.

Since every bridge in New Zealand is one-lane, one direction of traffic must stop and give way before getting on the bridge. I knew this, Rob knew this, and our American travel companions knew this; however, in this particular situation, stopping was a little easier said then done.

As we got closer and closer to the cars in front of us, Rob still wasn’t stopping, and slowly cries of “Rob! Rob! Rob! STOP!!!” started coming from the backseat drivers. Thinking he was perhaps just being a little careless, we were all put on full alert by Rob’s response of, “I can’t!!!!”

Luckily for us, there was an area of the side of the road and Rob was able to glide the car to a complete stop while avoiding hitting any cars or driving us straight into the river.

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Let’s hear it for my best friend Rob!!

A little shaken by what just happened, we had a Team America Pow-Wow to debate where to go from here. With no one really wanting to make a decision potentially endangering the lives of every passenger in the car, we spent about an hour on the side of the road before eventually deciding to drive the car, super-slowly, back 10 minutes to the town of Fox and hope that a mechanic was still open.

Charlie had gotten pretty good at the whole “not using the breaks” thing so the group trusted him to get us back to the town and hope from the best from there. Driving outrageously slowly and testing out the breaks from time to time to ensure they were at least somewhat functioning, we made our way back to Fox and to the local garage.

To our relief, the garage doors were still open and Charlie went inside to explain our current situation to the mechanic and see if there was anything he could do to help us out.

I think it’s safe to say we were all pretty surprised when a couple of minutes later Charlie, normally an extremely “chill” kid, walked out of the garage shouting over his shoulder, “Yea, thanks for the help you fucking asshole!”

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If this kid doesn’t scream “chill” I don’t know what does.

As you can imagine, our reaction went something like this.

“WOAH! WOAH! WOAH! What the hell just happened in there?”

Charlie responded, “I told him about our breaks not working and told me to learn how to drive you fucking American. Then I just asked if he wouldn’t mind looking at our car really quickly and he said he was going to charge us double to look at it.”

“Then what happened?!”

“Then I told him he didn’t have to be an asshole and he told me to get the fuck out or he was going to kick my ass.”

We all sort of stood there in shock trying to process the outrageous interaction Charlie just described to us. I’ll admit, I found it a little unlikely that things had gotten so heated so quickly. As a fairly levelheaded person, I considered going back into the shop to see if I could play mediator, diffuse the situation, and get our breaks looked at.

These thoughts were quickly squashed by the mechanic emerging from the shop, wiping the grease off a 3 foot steel rod, staring directly at Charlie, and saying, “You better get the hell out of here before I shove this rod up your ass!”

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If they ever make a movie out of these stories, I’d get this guy to play the mechanic.

I can now confidently say, nothing makes you forget about shotty breaks quicker than a scary looking mechanic wiping grease off a steel rod barking threats at you.

Getting into the car, we made a game-time decision that, despite his threats, the second mechanic’s advice of “learn how to drive you fucking American” was his way of saying go easy on the breaks. Since this matched the “over-use” explanation we received that morning and we didn’t have much of a choice, we got back on the road and headed for a town in New Zealand were there wasn’t a big scary guy threatening to kill us.

Since you never know when the next time we are going to post on the blog I think it’s probably worthwhile to end this post with a spoiler alert. That was the last time we experienced any car issues and, even if we had, we probably wouldn’t have gone to a mechanic anyway because apparently they are all dickheads in New Zealand.

Moral of the Story: If, on the off chance, you are looking for a greasy mechanic to shove a 3 foot rod up your ass… we know just the guy for you!

Franz YA!

The morning began with a visit to the small town of Haast’s gas station, where we met a slow moving mechanic who told us we shouldn’t worry about our car, “It’s fine.” Despite a bevy of questions, one being, “Isn’t smoke a bad thing when it comes to cars?” we had to hit the road to make our scheduled appearance at Franz Joseph Glacier.

 

“Hopefully you guys make it up…” was not the greeting we were hoping for. I was expecting, “Mr. Roh-bair, you look stronger than I remember. Chilled champagne, 2-Chainz and Franz Joseph’s finest maidens await in your helicopter.” Alas, it cost nothing to dream, but apparently if there is too much wind/cloud cover, the ‘copters don’t fly, and they cancel everything… this along with Pompey being a lil’ B, would not be a fun combo.

 

Toby, a cheeky, redheaded Kiwi, would be our guide, a very good thing and judging by his smile, we would be getting to the glacier.

 

All was not lost!

 

Our group of ten threw on some hiking gear, got debriefed, and headed to the heli-pad.

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Glacier montage!

 

Any reason to get in a helicopter is a fine one—they are sweet, and as we piled in, the boys were hollering with joy. We took off, and the views made us doubt our eyes—insanity. Waterfalls left and right, a massive glacier in front of us, and a beautiful sky above.

 

The bird landed, and the hike began. As we climbed, Toby would ask if anyone wanted to try fitting through tiny passages, “Come on Team America, don’t be softcocks…” We celebrated the name Team America, to Toby’s surprise, and accepted his wizardly challenges. Every once in a while we’d stop, have a look around, in awe of our godly surroundings.

 

Before we could get too emotional, Toby had started to refer to the glacier as, “His Lady,” hitting us with Dad jokes and euphemisms as we egged him on.

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Wildlings!

 

“Yis, we’re in an open relationship. Not every man is comfortable enough to lead strangers into his lady’s crevices…” Toby, you sicko!

 

He’d follow every joke, by laughing, and we’d add on with something a bit stranger to let Toby know, hey, we’re real sickos too.

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I can’t believe they made us do this! #embarrassing

 

The hours on the glacier sped by, and we were back on the helicopter before Toby could say anything more about his lady’s (insert adjective) crevice. Throwing some PB&J’s down our gullets, we hopped back into Pompey, our lady, and hoped she would get us to the Milford Sound safely… we began playing a game called, “Try Not to Use the Breaks At All!”

 

Moral of the Story: Glaciers are beautiful, sick jokes are fun, cars that don’t work are scary!

Pit Stops and Shot Breaks

Waking up in the barracks was a sobering experience; we drove through the base, and realized, “Jesus. We are in an army base.” People were marching in fatigues, it was daylight out, so it REALLY looked like an army base, and as we drove through, we melted down into our seats to avoid making eye contact, reeking of sins.

Once we got off the base, we all released a sigh of relief and a healthy laugh, “Well, that was a bit ridiculous!” With the army base in our rearview, it was time to road trip it to the Franz Joseph Glacier (pronounced glahhhhh-seee-errr) where we’d be flying in a copter, and stomping on some ancient ice.

Once again, this roadie would be much more enjoyable with friends, and the ability to see something cool and say, “Yo, let’s check that out ya?” There were many times while we hitched, when I was itching to ask the driver to pull over so we, two strangers, could get a quick view; this is what a polite person would call, being bold, and a Kiwi would call, being a “deek-head.”

After some hours clocked, we stumbled upon a lake, but not just any lake, Lake Wanaka—the purest water I’ve ever laid mine eyes upon, it looked fake, beyond clear, bluer than blue, and behind the lake sat the alps. Charlie spun the wheel right; we hopped out, threw on our suits, and ran in.

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“Got the nature game in a choke-hold!”

It was cold, but oh so delicious.

We kept cruising through the country, and it got better. With each curve came a new view, and it was as if we had stumbled onto the set of Avatar—everything seemed untouched, Mother Nature straight naked.

“Blue Pools 24K”

Well that sounds good! The sun was starting to set, but blue pools sounded far too good to pass up. We took the trail, and were led through a jungle, then to a wobbly bridge, and eventually, another bridge right over a river of pure glacier water… insane.

Doug and Charlie, both humans who like jumping off things, decided that the 30-foot drop was worth trying. You could see through to the bottom, and it looked deep enough… they thought so too, but hypothermia was also a concern.

They threw a leg over the railing, readied themselves, and jumped…

“BYAHHHHHH” A smack rang out as they hit the water.

“It’s cold, it’s cold!”

They swam as fast as they could to the bank, scaled back up, and had adrenaline smeared all over their face.

“I wanna do it again,” said Charlie, smiling with boyish excitement.

“Let’s do it naked!”

Ok! Something about being naked in this country feels right—Mother Nature is in her purest form, why shouldn’t we? We fully disrobed, looked down into the cold waters, and jumped.

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The water was really cold, You’ve gotta believe us!

Smack!

“OH MY JESUS. OH MY JESUS!”

“It’s in my stomach! It’s in my stomach!”

It was cold.

We scaled the rocky bank, got dressed as quickly as possible, and basked in the adrenaline rush.

“I am so glad we did that!” was the general consensus; Marty and Ira just laughed at us idiots.

Back in ol’ Pompey we cruised, windows down, enjoying the fresh, pure New Zealand air as the sun slowly melted away.

The terrain got steeper and steeper, and eventually we go to a bridge with another amazing river, so we stopped, naturally. We pulled over and something did not smell right—we looked at Pompey’s front wheels, and smoke was pouring out the sides—hmmm. This is not good. We established that it was probably the breaks, though none of us know a damn thing about mechanics. It was getting dark, and we had two options; do we camp on the side of the road, or gingerly lead Pompey to a backpackers (hostel)?

Charlie felt confident he could steer her to the glory land, so we piled in, and said our prayers. “Baby Jesus, this trip has been so chill, and being a chill cherub, could you lead us to safety.” (A traditional New Zealand prayer for safety) Charlie played a little game of “Don’t Touch the Breaks” and, as he attempted to glide the car to safety, the rest of us came to grips that these could be our last moments on this beautiful planet.

Men are stubborn, this I know, but we managed to get to the flats, and find a backpackers with hot showers. We thanked our lucky stars, baby Jesus, and hoped to find a mechanic in the morning—tomorrow was the glacier hike, a good 200K away…

Moral of the Story: First off, thank you baby Jesus. If you have five grown men in a sedan, with a bunch of luggage, don’t expect a car bought off TradeMe (NZ Craigslist) to not pose a few problems!