Day one: Queenstown

Settled in our room in Queenstown after 24 hours of traveling, but oddly feeling good. The time difference is twenty hours between here and Denver, but in terms of daily clock it is only four hours. That is, once you get to twelve hours, you count backwards. So no jet lag. It is not much different from flying to the east cost from Denver.

Our email ticket confirmation from United Airlines said that our flight over the Pacific was 13 hours and “no meals.” We booked New Zealand Air through United, and I guess United was being jealous. Once you get off American-based airlines, service is excellent. On New Zealand Air we had two meals, snacks, and as we slept an attendant occasionally went down the aisles offering water to those who were awake. United Airlines would be more likely to be pilfering luggage looking for hidden money as we slept than offering water to thirsty travelers.

People here speak King’s English and are extremely polite. Air is fresh, water pure.

We’re going to hang out here for a couple of days before setting out on Milford Track, covering 34 miles, I think, in four days. But the climbing is not severe, not like the Himalayas and Andes. Our worst day is a 3,500 foot ascent. The rest is relatively rolling and flat. So I am told. We meet our group tomorrow evening.

Here’s a line from a book I was reading as we flew yesterday:

“He was dressed, as usual, as if he had been shot by cannon through a Salvation Army clothing store.”

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