Subject: Ceasing My Final Fortnight of FREEDOM
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 14:47:24 +0000
From: "-= Audacious Adventurer Al =- "

January 14, 2003 . . . Christchurch, New Zealand
(Biggest city of South Island - 2nd largest in New Zealand - 322,000 people - some say it's very British - I say it's very cozy)

Hello, this is Allen. I'm back here in Christchurch, New Zealand. By some divine miracle, I've ended up in this gentle somewhat holy city that I thought I wouldn't see again for ages! Have you wondered what happened to me? I've almost religiously emailed each week for my entire journey. Today, being my first time to truly sit down and email in two weeks, brought me here to Christchurch. The sun stays out here till 10PM at night. Isn't that wicked? That gives me lots of time for all the adventure hiking ahead. I warn you that there's a lot of thought and semi-personal stuff in this email, so if you'd think you'd be bored by it, then off to the trash can with this email! Otherwise, read on to find out more of my meanderings....

Being Grateful and Thinking About Freedom
I guess the best way to start this letter is be really thankful. I really feel lucky. I really am amazed at my successes in meeting incredible people and having these kick-a$$ experiences. I feel that many of you guys are sitting back chained in mundane lives while I'm having some of the greatest experiences of my existence. The United States, in particular Philadelphia, is big into FREEDOM. In 1776 we broke away from Mother England in pursuit of better self- governed life for ourselves. Hence, 226 years later, at least I feel I've pursued some of our forefathers original intentions. I've visited four major countries now of the once-British empire and I have to say that the USA is definitely not the freest of the three. Heck, just go up to Canada - you'll feel a lot more free just walking on the streets at night without fear.

Aw, just ignore me. It took a lot of sweat and tears to earn this deep freedom. What a pity it's ending in three weeks. Let's talk about some good stuff:

New Years' Eve
In true adventurer fashion, I took a fourteen-hour bus ride after an accommodation-less all-nighter in Sydney. The bus air conditioner was broken and a drunken asthmatic twice fell off her seat that I peeled off the floor back into her seat, but that's another story.

After learning from the taxi driver that I'm going to a brand new development in the city, I arrive at the posh-spanking-new Docklands dressed like a backpacker scrub. It's cold outside (probably around 55 (12C) degrees (the coldest I've experience my entire time in Australia) and I'm wearing shorts, sandals, and a tee shirt not to mention a huge backpack. Everyone is looking at me, my mobile phone is dead, and I'm lost. I find an outlet, plug it in and yell to Adele, "I'm lost; come find me"

I arrive at a New Year's Eve party meeting Adele, her best friend Kirsty, and seven other Aussies I've never met. I'm bombarded by food, wine, and pleasant conversation. Midnight was really nice highlighted by fireworks over the fifth floor of this suave apartment. I was on the posh balcony holding a bonnie lass that I thought I may never have seen again. I've spent three New Years' abroad and although they were all quite special, this one was my most triumphant New Years' ever! However, I'd say the Aussies celebrate New Years' the exactly the same way as us Yanks - except they don't bang pots and pans. Possibly, you don't bang the pots with spoons, but all the folks in Kensington sing, "This is how we do it"

Two Weeks With Swell Adele
Last time I was here (1/26/02 - 4/30/02) I met a bonnie lass while I was out swing dancing. If you were on my list in February 2002 and recall my ramblings of flirting for free on Valentine's Day via the mobile phone, Adele was my main flirt. Akram encouraged me, "Go for the best; you didn't go all the way across the world to settle for second" Consequently, fate and flirting worked nicely - sort of. I came back to Melbourne all messed up with only 5 days to share with Adele because some guy who currently has LESS FREEDOM than anyone I know (who could that be? Hint: he's a whacked thief) misbehaved. Adele showed me a good time with swing dancing, Irish comedy, good conversation overlooking the city on top floor of hotel, some good dining and conversation. Boy, what a mess I was . . .

Disclaimer: FOR GUYS ONLY -
For all you guys out there, Adele's a simple slender 27-year old geologist with intelligent hazel eyes, thick natural dark hair, a soft sweet long gentle face that makes you just want to kiss her, and a mighty fine rotunda. (I like big ..... and I cannot lie)

Disclaimer: FOR GIRLS ONLY -
For all you girls out there, Adele's a posh, independent, strong- willed, smartly stubborn, sleek, cautious, perceptive girl with fab style. She could've been one of the Spice Girls shouting "Girl Power!"

The Great Ocean Road
Adele and I hit the Great Ocean Road by Puegot 215E for a four-day excursion along the south-eastern coast of Australia. The little French car sliced through the turns like butter, or how the Aussie would say it "buttah." The Great Ocean Road is one of those roads you just want every driver to disappear and romp down it in a convertible at 160(KM) 100MPH. The road has lots of twists and the scenery is spectacular: rocky beaches, enchanting cliffs, rain forests, topless bathers, huge waves, huge limestone rock masses separated from the mainland sea by the powers of coastal erosion, et cetera. It's definitely worth a look if you ever get here. "Oooh" and "Ahhh" will certainly parse your lips.

Horse Ridin'
At a beautiful day in Apollo Bay along the Great Ocean Road, Adele and I went horse riding. My horse, Reno, was a big pain in the butt. All he wanted to do was eat. Whenever I got him to trot (which was quite rare because he could tell my lack of confidence - horses are supposedly smart like that) my feet would lose their position in the stirrups. Adele on the other hand was cantering along down the beach. Show off! This was my second horse experience and an utter failure if I say so myself. However, it's man versus beast and I will master the beast someday if I can help it!

Fungus, ghost gums, yakka, ferns, gentle water flow - hope you see a rainforest someday - I'm glad I did. These rainforests I saw were really unique.

I always think volcano craters look like meteor holes. Go look at some for yourself, they're surreal.

Meet the Parents
Simply stated, I had my first dinner at an Aussie home with Adele's mom. Adele's mom was like a detective. Although she pretended not to be investigating me, I felt her studying me with her full attention. I kept imagining her thoughts: "What's this Yank doing with my daughter?" I think I was doing great until she told me that she worked with computers for 9 years and I retorted, "Oh, did you work with vacuum tubes?" Adele's mom is a little older (60 or so), but I sit here laughing in this Internet cafe hysterically thinking "Why the heck would you say something like that?" I don't think she picked it up, but I immediately tried to keep the conversation moving. I think it worked. Upon saying goodbye still studying me, I kissed Adele's Aunt and looked cautiously toward her mom. She said, "Aww, you can kiss me too" delighted... guess I passed... shewww... interrogation has ended... Detective Moms - I have one too...

You may remember earlier in my journey my brief love affair with Ingrid, the German girl. I believe everyone you date is a lot different and brings out different things in you. Interestingly, I have to say that Adele is the first self-proclaimed adult love I've ever felt. It was a lot different than any other I've ever experienced. I behaved differently. I hate to say I'm getting a little older, but maybe I am. I don't doubt I'll ever see Adele again, friend of if circumstances correct more. I learned and grew a lot from our experiences together. Maybe my words sound weird to you and their too personal anyway. Sorry romance fans, no audacious moves are in motion! I have to clean up my own domestic life before I settle down and share it with someone else! Nope, I'm just not ready yet . . .

The Amazing Race
Did you ever hear of the television show the Amazing Race? It involves a bunch of cranky Americans following clues around the world trying to win a million dollar prize if they can reach the final destination first. Adele and I watched the final round last week on the Great Ocean Road. I guess I learned something from the show: you can buy a ticket at the airport at the last moment and get a reasonable price.

Thus, I arrived in Auckland Airport yesterday only to be wishing I was on the South Island. I decided to try to change my stars by rushing to the counter at airport and immediately flying to Christchurch on South Island. What do you know? I got an unbelievable deal and now my adventure bone is satisfied.

In the spirit of Sam and Frodo, I'm going to doing a lot of hiking in New Zealand over the next few days on a mad dash from South Island to North Island. Tomorrow morning I wander Middle Earth near Isengard, for all your jealous Lord of the Ring fans. All of the big scenery is down here on the South Island were I'm trotting in the next few days.

Just to be safe (and in case I don't make it back) here's my hiking itinerary. As of right now, I'm hiking alone:
Mt. Cook: 14 hrs (3 trails) hiking for some Lord of the Rings scenery
(1/15-1/17) Queenstown: 8 hrs return hiking the Ben Lommond saddle
(1/17-1/19) Greymouth: 2 hrs. top of the 1950's USA-like town
(1/19-1/20) Nelson: 6 hrs. hike near Center of New Zealand where I wrote a postcard to you Barbara Slaughter
(1/20-1/21) Then I head to Windy Wellington
(1/21-1/23) Then off to geothermal Rotorua
(1/23-1/25) Then to Auckland
(1/25-1/26) Finally to the Bay of Islands
(1/26-1/29) and Auckland ---> Los Angeles

Thanks for reading this long-winded travelogue. I hope you didn't fall asleep at your computer. I'm going to fall asleep because it's 3AM here and I'm jet-lagged from Australia. It's 3 hours later here, hence being only midnight in Australia. Sleep is for the weak! :)

"They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security,
deserve neither liberty or security" - Benjamin Franklin

"The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be
safe." - H. L. Mencken
You've got a friend in . . .
| Allen Rue - traveling extraordinaire - joy seeker          |