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From: David Jarman [dsrjarman@hotmail.

com] Sent: 15 January 2004 00:06 Subject: morning after feeling think back to the last time you had a night out on the sauce, washed down with a kebab chaser, didn't have the presence of mind to brush your teeth when you got home, and your mouth felt like it was decomposing in the morning. maybe you feel like that right now. then remember how good it felt to finally put bristle to molar, scrubbing away all your sins, and leaving you minty fresh and cool to the touch. well, that's how clean and pure the glacier fed rivers of new zealand are. bombay sapphire clear, and lysterine blue, even in mid-summer they slice through the heart of the south island, carrying traces of minerals scraped from rocky mountain sides by distant glaciers. one day i'll be back here in winter, but even now snow smothers the tops of the southern alps and hangs on to some of the lower slopes leaving dalmation patterns on the bare rock faces. voted one of the worlds great railway journeys, there's train that winds its way through this landscape from coast to coast, daring you to take every photo you can before the next bend opens up another many-layered vista. on the far side, the western edge of the south island (apparently the second most-rainedon region in the world), these rivers have dumped obscene amounts of mountain into the sea, creating vast plains that now support rain forests (and latterly small towns with peculiarly large cemetaries). forsaking the mouthwash, these forested rivers are stained a subtle shade of british rail tea if small and calm; or if vast and swift more like frothy white coffee, floating a trail of roots, branches and whole trees demolished in the previous night's storm. and after a while drifting as flotsam, the bits of tree get hurled back up onto land to join the other corpses in the tree graveyards that dot the coast. nothing seems stable or permanent in this world. back to that morning after. in a confused and tired state, you push a sliced loaf towards the edge of the table, and piece of bread tips over, dropping to the floor. that's the best metaphor i can come up with for seeing a lump of glacier drop off the end and crash into the icy river below. the accompanying sound, which arrived a couple of seconds later, could have been a set of elephant's dominoes being knocked over (if they were all still in the box and it was dropped from very high), or perhaps all those unused edinburgh hogmanay fireworks going off at once. now, please forgive me my choice of degree, but i thought glaciers died out years ago, and now i've walked all over one. with crampons and ice pick i can report with some authority on how it feels to be inside an ice cube, one a rich blue because the pressure put on the ice has changed its chemical make-up. this particular glacier, fox, is several miles long, could be 400m thick, and flows at about half a metre day. this isn't geology, it's current affairs. * i may have spoken no more than 20 words to anyone on christmas day, camping and tramping (does that sound suggestive?) my way around some of the peaceful sounds at the north of the island. as a new property owner, i took my small blue tent into the native forests and along the exposed ridges overlooking a world of peaceful fishing, occasional white sails, no jetskies, and more shades of green than the diana moran appreciation society. christmas was nonetheless a festive occasion as tent was suitably tinselled up for

the big day, to much admiration. it has since kept me dry through two storms - one of which lifted another tent and fatally took its passenger into the side of a building further up the coast - and if i'm right in the middle of it i can even sit up with only my head and knees touching the ceiling. magic. new year's eve was a little more sociable, even if i fell asleep before 1am with a glass of water in my hand. in christchurch ('chch') for a few days i enjoyed the excellent hospitality of my friend anna and her family. my diet thus improved no end, i did my washing, was taken out to gigs and parties, and got the inside gossip on a very pleasant city. i'm a little concerned that a slight rise in sea levels would wash all 300,000 people away, so enjoy it while you can. i also finally watched 'whale rider', which will surely be a new adrenalin sport available in queenstown before long. queenstown itself proved itself to be the furtherest south i've yet ventured; yet still it's warm enough to produce quality wines. whether you're disappointed in me or not, i forsook the many opportunities to throw myself off/out of/down/through/under/over/into/... anything. my wallet appreciated this, and i feel stronger for not giving in to the marketing hype and peer pressure: well done me. i did however meet up with a bus tour who took me up the west coast, showed me a good time, cooked a fine beef stroganof on two gas rings for 20 people, burned half a beach of driftwood under the southern cross, and proved that just when you thought it was safe to put the camera away... i cheerfully let the sun burn me, the rain drench me, the walks tire me and the water taxi ferry me from one golden sandy beach to another. my bird impersonations are coming along, a useful skill, and the number of forest birds with so little timidity that they'll almost fly into you or flick leaves over your feet in such of food is refreshing. my most thrilling moment in a potentially hazardous and not thought through situation: mentally ticking off passport, camera, wallet, mobile phone, driving license,... all tucked away in my backpack as i waded through a swift, chilly, boxer short high river in bare feet. (my boots were hanging around my neck, wouldn't want to get them wet when i could ruin my trip by being swept the last couple of miles out to sea, eh?) biggest sense of achievement: uncorking a bottle of wine after three or four minutes huffing, puffing and cutting the circulation off to my fingers. (this may be reconsidered in future years as, in writing a production manual for the new zealand fringe, i may have introduced 'merchant banker' into the kiwi lexicon of rhyming slang.) most thrilling moment without verbose caveats: staggering backwards as lightning turns a black and windy night into crackling metallic grey over a violent west coast beach, the sillouette of each tree on distant mountains etched into your retina. 'whoa' - as bill and ted might add, helpfully. electrical storms aside, there's a remarkable clarity to aid your viewing pleasure of new zealand. whether it be distant ferns, darting fish, or the shades of gold in a vast beach, you can pick out each detail. could it be a lack of pollution, a trick of the light, wishful thinking, or a series of finely painted theatre or film sets? it can't be bad when you can see the heat haze over the surface of a glacier - which i guess makes it a cold haze. only a day left in wellington: an informal capital where suburban houses with flags are usually embassies or consulates, and i think i was chatting to the lady mayor in a park yesterday. a quick hop across the tasman to melbourne to come, then adelaide by the

end of the month. if you've read this far, and you'll be in either place, i hope to see you soon. just a short diversion by way of a crowded house pilgrimage first... happy new year, david.x

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