It was grey out, misty and dark.
The sun was just a bright spot shining through the haze above us. It’s been like this a lot lately. Did you know that the area around Queenstown holds the record for second rainiest place in the world? I’m loving it!
I woke up miserable. Body boiling, hands and feet frozen to immovable nubs, violent shaking. I spent the morning sitting on the couch mentally reenacting various deathbed scenes from my favorite movies. (“Gently. Gently!!!”) By lunchtime, I felt only slightly better, and decided I would spend the afternoon in the same way, but perhaps with the addition of a bit of television. In short, I was being a complete and utter vegetable.
My parents, however, had other ideas.
They dragged me away from my comfortable vegetation, bundled me into the camper with my three excited brothers, and drove the six of us into the heart of Queenstown. In their defense, I really was more or less fine by this point, and Mom’s discerning eye had found me out. And, as I was to find out, there were far more interesting things to be doing than playing at deathbed reenactments and watching TV.
Queenstown is one of the most exciting cities in New Zealand. People come from far and wide just to experience it. Some of the more popular activities you can try (for various high prices) include bungie jumping, sky diving, river rafting, jet boating, para-gliding, and more. A traveling buddy of mine had tried luging (read his article here) and really enjoyed it. After reading his article, I was hooked.
For those of you who don’t know, luging is a winter sport, and consists of riding a sled down a course as fast as you possibly can. Here in Queenstown, it’s a little different. Instead of a sled, they use a small cart that rides low to the ground, and is steered with handlebars that tilt forward and backward to increase or decrease your speed. They’re very easy to ride, and children as young as eight or nine are permitted to drive them on their own, provided they’re tall enough. The track is a winding cement path that twists down the side of a hill. In Queenstown, there are two tracks. One is very easy and slow, and is perfect for a first ride. The other allows the rider to go at much higher speeds, and the turns are sharper.
To my surprise, my parents treated us to a ride. Within seconds, my last traces of vegetation were gone. It was a blast! But I’ll be a bit of a hillbilly and say this: we could have (actually, we have) done the same thing in the States, on a dirt hill with a rusty old wagon. Of course, we didn’t have a ski lift then, and for brakes? Well, who needs ‘em anyway?
(Hint: for any kids who’re getting ideas from this, you probably should use brakes of some sort if you want to live to adulthood. We used rubber boots.)