When I arived in Queenstown, I hadn’t booked a shuttle from the airport and had no idea where I was going. I went to the information booth in the trminal and asked what my options were to get to my hostel. I told the woman behind the counter, which hostel I was staying in and she told me that she had never heard of it. This worried me, but I thought I maybe had the name wrong. She told me that if it was in Queenstown, That I could get a shuttle to the door for $20, and the driver would more likely know where it was, or I could take the bus for $8. I was feeling cheap and adventurous, so I went to the bus stop, figuring that the bus driver would be able to tell me how to get to my hostel from the bus stop. I told him that I needed to get to the Lakeview Hostel. He hadn’t heard of it either. He said that he would take me to the centre of Queenstown and that it shouldn’t be hard to find someone who would know where it was. I was sweating over this a little bit, so I re-checked my note book to see what I had written down for the hostel name. the YHA Lakeview Backpackers Hostel. I repeated this name in my head over and over until I had the whole thing memorized. I got off the bus about 15min later in the middle of a busy shopping arcade. This is Queenstown. It reminded me a lot of the Whistler village. Expensive shops and very expensive restaurants whit tourists from all over the world walking around taking pictures. I had my big pack on my back and my small camelbak on my front and I was dragging my suitcase behind me. The look of this town and all the people everywhere was rather overwhelming. I walked down the esplanade along the pier of the lake until I saw a small camping store. I took this as the best place for me to ask someone where my hostel was. I told the girl behind the counter the whole name that I had memorized on the bus. “Oh. The YHA.” was what she said. Apparantly I was only supposed to say YHA (youth hostel association). Nobody knew the rest of the name. She informed me that I was about a 10 minute walk away and gave me directions. IT was quite simple, but MY pack was starting to feel very heavy on my back, so I was anxious to get there. The 10 minute walk felt like 45.
I walked in and got my key from the front desk after checking in. My room consisted of 6 bunkbeds and a single bed next to the bathroom door that was at the far left corner of the room. Each bed had a cubby next to it for people to store their belongings. From what I could see of the full cubbies, every bed was taken. I was disapointed to see that there were no lockers to lock valubles in. I arrived at the hostel in the late afternoon, so there was noone in the room. I would later learn that the hostel is completely empty from about 12:00 to 5:00 every day because all of the people staying are out doing an adventure tour of some kind. I put my stuff in my cubbie and made up my bed. I was in the top bunk to the right of the entrance. I did my best to hide my computer from sight, and set off back into town to get my cell phone connected. I walked the 10 minutes into town and already my feet were begining to hurt. Since blistering the bottoms and sides of both my feet while walking throught the streets of Melbourne, they havent been the same. And continuing to walk on them has given them no time to heal. This was upsetting me. I finally made it into the main part of the shopping district of Queenstown and found the Vodaphone store. Vodaphone is the main cellular provider in New Zealand. They were closed. I missed them by 10minutes. It was sunday at 6:10. Everything was closed. The onlything left open, were restaurants, bars, and a few boutique shops. Feeling kida poopy, I thought I would get some food. I saw a Mexican restaurant on my way to the hostel, so I went back to it. Thinking I would get a big plate of enchaladas to make me feel better. $30 for enchaladas! I was blown away. I went to all the restaurants and checked their prices. Every one was crazy expensive. I was feeling beaten down. Nothing seemed to be going my way. Until I saw Fergberger.
This was a very small burger joint with only a few tables out front, a take way window, and some bar tables inside. The thing that made it look so special to me, was the crowd of about 50-80 people gathered outside waiting for food. I asked someone waiting what the big deal was and he said it would be the best burger I had ever had. I pushed my way inside through the mob of people. The burgers were about 8 inches in diameter. They were huge! I looked at the menu, and the prices were good. $13. This was good. I ordered the hawaiian and a beer. Bacon, cheese, bbq sauce, lettuce tomato, and grilled pineapple. It took 35 minutes to get my burger, and it was worth every minute. I walked down to the shore of the lake where there was a grassy park, and took this picture before dining on my burger.
When I returned to the hostel, I met the girls in my room. A german, two from holland, two from china and one that I hadn’t met yet. English was not the first language in my room. I took my computer down to the common room only to realize that english was not the first language in the entire hostel. All of Europe and Asia was walking around and chatting amongst themselves. No english was being spoken around me and I suddenly felt very alone. I crawled into my top bunk that night, wondering if I had chosen the wrong hostel to spend my next 5 days. Little did I know that these feelings would quickly be washed away the following day by personal progress and warm smiles from friendly people.