ACCLIMATISATION. BLOG FIVE
Kai bar for breakfast.Mine is the Full Kiwi. Huge. No wonder people are getting much fatter than I remember them. I need a Pickford's lorry to carry me out but snce they don't have them Linda puts me in the car and we decide to go where we'd vowed not to go:Queenstown.
It's an impressive drive over the Lindis passed though huge brown hills empty of everything. In Yorkshire the mean buggers or farmers would built dry stone walls up the sides and right to the top. Here there's nowt.Not a sheep.Not a hiker.Not as soldier in training.I guess no one's ever bothered to go to the tops. So they just sit there..
It's odd that the Kiwis haven't merchandise their wild South. Sheep would have to replace buffalo but you could have films,songs, legends and books about sheep-not cow- boys,rustlers,bandits,stage coaches and Presbyterean brothels and booze palaces. Shearers would be the heros rather than sheriffs and you'd have to make it all up but that's what the Americans did with their wild west;the whole thing was an invention made for money.
. All NZ has in place of merchandisable legends is tall tails about sex with sheep and prairie oysters and books by women about their back country lives like A River Rules My Life ,living on (not in)the Gorge River and,one I'm just reading Snow on the Lindis about life on the Morvan station round Lindis.All interesting stuff but more NZ Women;s Weekly than Gene Autry
Magnificent view from the top of the Lindis but like every other magnificent view it is obscured by Japanese tourists doing selfies. NZ has changed from Britain's overseas farm to Japan's overseas holiday haunt where people pay enormous sums to come and take pictures of themselves.
And go to Queenstown. It's always been a show place.When I was in Dunedin the better off like Maurice Joel all had cottages they called cribs there. They may have been palaces but I never got invited so I don't know. When I came with Parliamentary select committees pursuing a diminishing supply of facts round the world and able to invent reasons for coming to NZ, at enormous public expense we were always taken to Queenstown, not to find out new and exciting facts but just to see it in the way all parliamentary visitors to the old West Germany had to visit Berlin.
Now you can't see the lake for tourists taking selfies and jet boats racing each other.The local shops have all been replaced by brand selling boutiques, the cribs replaced by expensive hotels,built like the Ziggurat of Ur, the quiet chugging of the Earnslaw by jet boats,the TAB by two casinos-maybe more, and the streets are filled with adverts offering a hundred ways of killing yourself: in the air, up the hills, in the water and at the end of Hooker's elastic bands. It could all be merchandised as Dignitas for the athletic .With the added attraction that for a small extra fee on the booking ticket they'll guarantee to ship the body home, securely preserved in glacier ice with aromatic herbs and lightly drizzled with pesto.
Queenstown is paradise for every form of para except plegic:parascending,paragliding, parachuting but not the Para Rubber company which I remember being mystified by when I arrived in Dunedin.Was I stretching my imagination too far, back then, when I wondered if it sold contraceptives-rubbers as they called them in England? Has it been bankrupted by the advent of the pill?
Queenstown is turning into a crowded hell in paradise Warren Cooperisation has ruined Queenstown and the way the council hands out planning permissions to destroy its natural beauty it will end up like Dubai with tower blocks of luxury flats, another Shard with a view of Coronet Peak from the top flats and the botanical gardens turned into an Indie car racetrack and a canal dug up from Bluff to allow cruise liners to sail down Lake Wakatipu, to feast on gluten free venison at Glenorchy. At the moment the final straw is a huge Mitre 10 at Frankton.Must be the biggest in the world,presumably so millionaires can do a spot of DIY and fit gold taps in their palaces. Bad on you Mitre 10 .You've fucked up again.
Queenstown isn't NZ. It's hell in the hills,lapidary by the lakeside . Gore has a huge trout at the entrance to the town and Cromwell a dying fruit bowl. Queenstown should have a huge flashing dollar sign
Long drive back. Exhausted. Linda offers to get the TV set which I screwed up on arrival working again For the first time I can watch NZ television.Things have changed since my day. It's in colour!. There's even a parliamentary channel which announces that Parliament isn't meeting.Eagerly I wait for the news which is delivered by a mom and pop team standing up rather than sitting down as TV presenters do in Pomerania. Probably to ensure they stay awake.