Saturday, July 25, 2009

Queenstown and Midgets

John the Robert has been busy. One 3/4 time job, three other part time jobs, playing in an old man cover band, a business trip to Australia, six months of house hunting to finally find our dream home only to then go on to meetings with three different banks to secure a mortgage and then wait for a dipshit named Dave to get around to doing a valuation so the banks believe that we didn't get ripped off. The blog has suffered, and I apologize to my 9 followers. Hope y'all found something else to read on the internet.

Last weekend I was in Queenstown for a wee (little/short) winter holiday with the in-laws.

Skiing is a bitch. Not only does one have to balance on one leg at a time, changing legs quickly in time with the gradient of the hill, but you also have to contend with the weather.

Saturday morning I woke up early to get to the Remarkables, an incredibly beautiful series of mountains that has managed to produced an incredibly shitty skifield. There was hardly any snow - not that John the Robert the Texan is qualified to opine about snow, but suffice it to say that everyone I was with bitched about the quality of the snow. Whatever - my lasting memory of that Saturday will forever be the wind that kicked up around 11 that morning. Gust. Zephyr. Howl. Gale force. Hurricane strength. Blow. Category 5. Fucking strong wind. I can't ski worth a damn (I've been on the green slopes for the last three years) but at one point last Saturday, my skis were facing down the mountain, and I didn't move - the wind was that strong. Snow swirled around to produce what experienced skiers term a whiteout. My father-in-law Steve calls it skiing by braille. I would go along with that, but apparently Steve has more feeling in his boots that I do, because the bumps on the ground did nothing for my sense of direction. Fortunately, in skiing, all roads lead to the same place - the bottom.

To make a long story short, Saturday's skiing was awful. The "snow" was basically one very large sheet of ice. The weather was awful, the wind was painful, and I got back to home base by 3 pm. We went into Queenstown proper Saturday night, found a pub full of Australians, and watched the All Blacks beat the Wallabies. Sweet as.

THE duality of skiing came through on Monday. (Sunday was a day off.) We went up to Coronet Peak, home of the New Zealand ski team and shitloads of Australian tourists. Conditions were perfect. Blue skies, no wind, the most amazing views (you can always judge a skiers' ability by how much he or she comments on the beauty of the mountains - people who can actually ski don't even notice), and plenty of space for an upper-beginner Texan skier to practice his turns. I went up the 2 person chair lift 15 times. I struck up a conversation with the person next to me each time. I talked to a young Danish girl (too bad I never visited Denmark when I was single - be. still. my. beating. ...), a French woman who complained about how houses in New Zealand are not isolated (she wanted to say insulated, but I just let it go), a Japanese lady whose English was better than 99% of the Japanese people I teach, a fat dude from Ireland (the lift was tilted about 20 degrees to his side - and I'm not exactly small. This guy was the Stay Puff Marshmellow Man on skis.), ten Australians of various descriptions, and one Kiwi. Granted, it was a Monday, so perhaps my results were somewhat skewed by the fact that New Zealand school holidays had just ended the previous Friday, but I was pretty suprised that only 1 out of 15 people using that lift actually lived in New Zealand.

Moral of the story. Queenstown is great. The Remarkables sucks. Coronet Peak is a great skifield for all levels. Danish chicks are hot. John the Robert can go down the blue trails, but it takes forever and he looks like he took the short bus up the mountain.

Totally unrelated but somewhat humorous aside. I bought a baseball glove last week off Trade Me, the New Zealand version of ebay. I met some guys at the bar from a local softball club, and they invited me down to their practice (called "training" in Kiwi English). The Trade Me seller said that his glove was in perfect condition but was just too big for his hand. It was only $10, so I bought it, thinking that a big glove would be great for softball. I go to his house to pick up the glove, knock on his door, and the guy turns out to be a fucking midget. Dwarf. Little person. Extra from Willow. Hobbit. The glove is fine, about the size of a second baseman's glove, but probably too small to play softball with. I've got no problems with little people, but I do think a dwarf that says a baseball glove is too big for him should perhaps also let it be known that he's four feet tall. But that's just me.