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Sunday, March 23, 2003

to Queenstown (Booking??)

Welcome to Aspen:

Queenstown was probably the least friendly of all the towns I visited. In general, it felt very touristy, not so much international touristy, but New Zealand touristy. I think this is where New Zealanders go when they need a break from their normally angst-free existence.

We also had a very strange set of interactions with the Indian waiter, in which he would have an entire conversation with us using just one word repeated over and over, combined with incongruous hand gestures, and then finally walk off rolling his eyes, nose held high, as if we were idiots. This happened three times, twice with the word "booking?", and once with the phrase "how many?". Yeah, you might think it would have been more obvious in context, but Kalistrya* and I remain mystified to this day.

"How many?" he asks, motioning roughly toward the third seat with Kalistrya*'s coat and bag. "Uh, just the two of us" I say. "How MANY?" he asks again, pointing more firmly at her stuff. We give him the "I don't understand what you mean" look. "How MANY?" he asks yet again, this time pointing distinctly at Kalistrya*'s camera. She thinks maybe he is asking how much it cost? "Uh, I don't recall," she answers, "my brother bought it many years ago." He rolls his eyes, shakes his head, and walks off as if we're idiots.

The earlier incidents involving "booking" were even more amusing, but too surreal to possibly recount.

For the remainder of the trip, at the first sign of anything odd, one or the other of us would say "booking??" in that Indian accent that finished off the flavor of the scene so nicely.

Incidentally, while checking into our hostel, Eric and Jaime came walking up. Turned out they were staying in the same cabin, just a couple doors down. We'd gone around the south island in opposite directions, so we swapped recommendations for places to stay and whatnot. Based on their tips, we picked Punakaiki as our stop-over location for the night after tomorrow.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com