The road south first went down the middle of the South Island, over some mountain passes, before turning west to the coast. On the mountainous part of the road, there was some sort of running race going on. Hundreds of people were running, stretched out over a dozen or more miles.
I must say that I’ve never understood the supposed thrill of running and my view on the whole topic is reinforced every time I see the expression on the face of someone that has been jogging for a long distance. It is simply not a happy look.
A few hours later, I was dropped off at the town around the corner from Fox Glacier, which is one of the two glaciers, the other being Franz Joseph, in this area. Both are famous in the glacier world, since they are the only two glaciers in the world that exist in a temperate climate.
The glacier was interesting, especially considering the temperate surroundings. I had previously decided to skydive here in New Zealand, adding to my ‘done’ list of things I hadn’t tried before, and had heard that skydiving over the glaciers was one of the best spots in world. I didn’t doubt it, but the weather wasn’t complying for me, so I stuck the thumb out and got a ride south.
Hitchhiking in this part of the country was tougher than the other places I tried to around the world, I think because this area is very under populated and most of the drivers that passed me by seemed to be tourists. Although two American travelers finally picked me up, a brother and sister in New Zealand for a long stay, I have to say that I ended up getting pretty annoyed with most tourists as I stood on the side of the road with my thumb out.
How difficult would it have been for someone in one of the many campervans rolling around to pick up a fellow traveler? Apparently very difficult, since I never got a sniff from any of them. Luckily, that gave me plenty of time to try some of the excellent New Zealand food served in the area.
Victoria and Logan were the brother and sister from Oregon that picked me up. She was studying for a semester at one of the universities in Dunedin and he had been wandering around for a few months, before he headed off to Southeast Asia. Logan was one of those travelers that had bought a cheap car after he got here and picked me up because he had hitched before and wanted to “make sure his karma” was good for the future. I hope his karma is a hell of a lot better than the dozen or so putzes in campers that passed me by. They were on their way from Frank Joseph to Wanaka and Logan said that he’d been there before and liked it a lot. Good enough for me.