Entangled Among Horses, Winds And Mountains
… I tried to find the truth of New Zealand.
I believe that somewhere between those winds, horses and mountains, lives the very soul of this place. It echos through every leaf and every rock. It tickles through manes, whispers to waterfalls and dances with flowers. Have you ever looked into the eyes of a horse? What tales do they tell you?
Here, I realized once again, that my ego is just a tiny, unimportant speck. This realization hits you, while you’re sitting by the river, near one of the big glaciers. “Can you imagine if it would all just came down at once?” – I asked Mr. Bond
These kind of thoughts crawl into the tantrum of our pride, when we are alone with nature. Just like in Sahara, here too, you hear the truth loud and clear. It’s a very unsettling realization. “What? Me, Human? Not important?”
We, the tiny specks of egos, running around yelling “Save the planet!”, “oh no, “global warming” !”, “save the trees”, “recycle everything!”… In the meantime, this beautiful planet, (not ours, not yours, not mine! No, she’s an independent lady!) that we leeched onto, like a bunch of fleas, is laughing at our pride, our egos and at our comical belief, that WE somehow matter. We don’t! Get over yourselves! We don’t matter! Not to her, not to her nature, winds, birds, trees or horses. Long after we, the tiny useless specks will be gone, she will finally breathe in peace. That’s my wish for her. When you hear about an earthquake, you’re not scared for the planet! You’re scared for the poor you and your spoiled rugrats. Go ahead, it’s quite alright to admit that. You know what those earthquakes, cyclones and hurricanes are? — This planet laughing at our glorious plans to save her.
Look at us! We are constantly trying to fight the circle of life… constantly! When some birds get killed by some forest rats in New Zealand, we, “the big and powerful” Human, puts traps to catch them, brings poison into virgin forest to kill them and plasters a picture of that bird into the “endangered species list”. We don’t think that poison/traps can, in the meantime also kill other living things. Do we? Who are we to say what living thing is important and which is not? Why are we constantly trying to fight present? We grew up thinking that our “vote” somehow will choose the right “president” who will save us. The truth is, you are (majority of humans) completely unable to take control of your own lives! Spoiled, uninspiring, little humans. And you, little specks, who are constantly living in fear and hatred, think that you have the power to “save” the planet? Have you gone mad? Relax, pumpkin, the planet, will be just fine. We, on the other hand, are a dying breed. (thankfully)
New Zealand is inspiring! No matter where you look, there’s beauty. Most of the time, it’s savage and completely untouched. The horses… New Zealand probably has one of the most beautiful horses I have ever seen. We would stop near the roads, I would take out bread and call them to me, sometimes they’d just run across the field, as soon as they saw me getting out of my car. Have you ever gotten a hug from a horse? I have. I felt that those moments with horses was the most healing experience in all my time in New Zealand. Those beautiful creatures know who you really are inside, they look right through you, there’s no hiding with them. Horse feels your energy and even your pain. After a few minutes of feeding them, one of them, would come really close and put her head on my shoulder, while I gently brushed my fingers through her mane, kiss her soft snout and locked my hands around her neck…
We stood together in silence and just let each other be… I could feel the warmth traveling from her to my soul. Horses, unlike people, know, that sometimes all you want is just to be held in silence. I felt a tear running down… It wasn’t sadness, it was a tear of healing energy bursting through my whole body. Horses are the best medicine for me. They really are. Then you gently get a reminder from one of them of why you’re really there… to feed them, of course!
Speaking of horses… One very talented American painter saw me like this —
You can take an actress out of the theatre, but you can never take theatre out of an actress! Tourists of Wanaka and Queenstown have been snapping pictures of me, because they wanted to capture the last living outlaw of New Zealand with their own cameras… I decided that I will charge tourists for taking pictures of me from now on. (Especially Asians… love you guys!) Hey, gal’s gotta eat on da road!
Listen, when I got off that black stallion and very slowly made my way into the historic “Cardrona Hotel and Whiskey Bar”, with a swagger of Jesse James, poor little town of Wanaka shook. People seriously thought I traveled all the way from the western outlaw films, to rob them. Mr. Bond could feel the stares of all those comical hundred-dollar sports-outfitters, lovers of the great outdoors. (you must buy the most expensive stuff to hike/bike/crawl the mountain, right guys?) Ever noticed how almost all of those “outdoorsy” types are almost always overweight in a very unhealthy way?
When I hit-open the doors of poor old Cardrona with my dusty cowboy boot and swaggered all the way to the bar, with my hat covering half of my face, bartenders were just standing there with their open mouths, unable to say a word. Surprise, suckers! “Whisky… Neat!” – I ordered. Needless to say, Mr. Bond was giggling and covering his face. “Let the record show, your Honor, I’m not with her, I got duped, just like the rest poor suckers, who had the misfortune of sharing her bed.” – he would be singing like a canary in court, if I ever decided to rob one of those joints or nearby banks. I heard Prince Harry, came in last year to Cardrona. He’s lucky I wasn’t there at that time, I’d probably take him hostage and demand that all the gold be given back to people of UK and to all “ex-colonies”. Yes, I’m the chick version of Robin Hood.
I’m sorry, but did you really think I was going to write and experience something that you would only see on the cookie-cutter travel bloggers sites, that copy each others ideas? With titles such as “10 must do’s in Wanaka”?… Seriously?!! Get off this site!! Now! Thanks! Please don’t come back, because titles such as this, will never live here. I’m not a travel blogger, regular blogger (what an ugly cliché to give someone) or whatever the hell else. I’m a Professional Chameleon — have the ability to become the place I travel to or live in.
You know what else New Zealand gave me as a gift? — Kindest People, Humor and Parrots Kea.
If you want to meet the kindest and warmest people of Wanaka and stay at the best lodge of your life, head over to LIME TREE LODGE.
Let me tell you, Pauline and John are two of the kindest people I met in all my life of travels. Pauline is one hell of a character with devilishly delicious sense of humor. You can spend your evening by the cozy fireplace, with a glass of fine wine, share stories of your life and adventure, take a dip in the outdoor jacuzzi and watch the milky way with a glass of champagne in your hand. Lounge by the pool and get prepared a delicious meal, by their very own chef. A lady, who’s golden hands will give you one of the best orgasms… Hey! I’m talking about the food orgasm! (You have dirty minds, people!) She also is a Harley enthusiast, who can prepare you a mind-blowing dinner and take you for a ride on her Harley! Perfect woman, no?
You can sit by the fire and hear the crackling sounds of wood… Here, you will lose yourself in the comforting country-side life and forget all that is wrong. John and Pauline welcomed me and Mr. Bond, as though we were family. Whether you want to have your wedding in Wanaka or you’re just passing through on your Harley’s crossing South Island with your crew (like my brother does with his friends in different countries), Lime Tree Lodge is a great place to experience Wanaka’s best hospitality, food, drink, laughs and conversation. Thank you, my dear Pauline and John, for your hospitality and for opening doors of your beautiful home and your hearts to people across the world. I will always treasure my time with you, our laughs and conversations by the fire.
Pauline gave me a bit of sheep’s wool, I took it in my hand and inhaled the smell with my whole being… She said that not many people like this smell. I love it! It’s raw, it’s soft, it’s untouched and so very wild. Now I’m walking around smelling it, like a crazy person. But hey, sanity is so overrated, don’t you think? People… yes, all the people I met from Christchurch all the way to Fiordland, are very kind and will go out of their way to help you. I also found it very comforting and peaceful to not have constant bombarding of advertisements in front of your eyes, when you’re crossing this country by car.
The vintage stores of Christchurch with ladies behind the register that look like they stepped out of Victorian Era. Victorian blouses draped on hangers, full of stories from the past, the past that you have a chance to try on and see if it fits… That Victorian Lady will look at you choosing one of the best Victorian slips in her store and wink at you, with a knowing look and such a warm smile, that you want to keep looking for different things, just to be able to have another glance at her. “She looks like a witch!” – runs through your mind. The kind of witch you go to when your heart gets broken. She will knowingly open the door, give you a hug and put lime in the coconut. You then join a bunch of other witches from a neighboring town and dance barefoot under the full moon until the sunrise.
Yes, the people… be it a waitress who sing-walks towards you across the restaurant or airbnb couple who you rent your room from and leaves you welcome home/have a great day notes around the house, almost daily. Clare… I will miss them so much….
Let me tell you, folks, Kiwis, have the best sense of humor! I love it here. It all started with a passport control lady, who after overhearing my conversation with Mr. Bond, put me A+ on my customs form, instead of just a normal A, that she gives to others. You see, I had D’s and C’s in school, but in New Zealand, I got an A+! “You see honey, you went to Harvard and will only get an A on your card, but this lady will put A+ on mine!” I said while waiting in line.
She put an A on my card and something else when I wasn’t looking, but Mr. Bond saw it. Then she handed our passports back to us with our cards. “You’re so cool, you know that?!” – I told her, while smiling ear to ear, like a kid that just got an A+ on her exam after way too many D’s. She laughed.
A lot of camper-vans and rental cars have funny sayings painted on them, some even have a few dirty ones. They even donate clothes to breast cancer with certain humor… ever heard of Bradrona?…
When you visit South Island, do try to make your way to Fiordland… it is breathtaking!
The views are to die for. But when a couple of tourists from South America, continue following you around, because it seems like you know all the great spots for capturing a great moment, they unknowingly will create your one-of-a-kind, never done/thought of before shot in Fiordland.
They just kept following me around the boat we took in Milford Sound. Then when everyone got off the boat 2 hours later and made their way to the parking lot, I kept walking around. Found a cool spot with no people and prepared to take a picture… lo and behold, I hear someones steps behind me… it’s them again! “Sorrrry, arre you taking a picture here?” – they asked in their broken English. “No hun, I just whipped this baby out, to just stand here and look pretty!” …
When they walked forward passing me, in order to take essentially the exact same shot, I proceeded to yell at them in a very Tony Montana fashion “Say hello to my little friend!”. Needless to say, Mr. Bond and anyone else who was nearby was in tears.
When you go on hikes with me, it’s extra fun. Because I swear on all languages I can remember. Yes, due to health, hiking is not easy for me and New Zealand’s “easy” hikes means “hard” by US standards… or maybe just by mine. So Mr. Bond and I are hiking to Rob Roy Glacier and 3 minutes before the top I run out of water. I’m angry, tired and thirsty. “I’d rather be with horses! Than here, looking at yet another glacier!” – I yelled at him. “Come here and pour some more water into my bottle!” – I demanded. “Lena, you will have to make a few extra steps towards the water.” – He replied calmly…. AAAAA! I hate it when he’s this calm and collected. “No! You come here!”… he didn’t. So then I collapse in the grass, near the pathway. It’s nice here… really nice… What is wrong with people? Maybe I just want to stay here in the grass, listen to the birds, look at the waterfall and feel other living things crawl on my body. Yes, that’s magic to me! Sweat, sounds of nature and butterflies in my stomach. I don’t need to reach the top, to feel magic and orgasms from life itself. I’ve done this since I was 2...
In about 7 minutes I got rushed back to reality, by footsteps approaching me from where Mr. Bond was standing… “Ha! I won! He gave in!” – I said to myself in a quiet triumph. I saw a bottle of water in the air, but it wasn’t Mr. Bond holding it… “This is for you” – said a couple of Spaniards, while handing me a bottle of water. “I don’t want it!” – I replied. Mr. Bond showed them with a hand sign to just leave it in the grass. In a about ten minutes I eventually did make it to the top. And I even showed Mr. Bond how just simply being still in the grass is special… We just lay in the grass, in total stillness, watching the glacier, while everyone was already walking back to their cars after snapping their obligatory selfies for their instagram. Amidst that total silence and stillness, a small part of glacier came crushing down… it was breathtaking! Learn to be still in chaos.
And in what other country will you walk to the other side of a bush on the beach for breakfast, that you bought at near-by bakery and have a couch waiting for you, with a million-dollar view? Anyone? Yes, this is the view from my couch, instead of a dumbing down tv screen.
They have all these signs everywhere — “Don’t feed Kea!”, “Help Save Kea”…
And Kea, really “friendly” parrots, who’s well aware of this protection from the government, have no problem eating your car alive, stealing from open windows of cars, camps and lodges. They feel very sure of themselves, they know they have nothing to worry about, because they are the real “Made Men” of New Zealand. They are the true mafiosos of this land. Kea work in packs too — They will have someone on the watch, someone distracting you and someone stealing from you. I’m serious, they have no fear.
You know why they have these signs “Help Save Kea”? — So you don’t kill one of them when you come out from a nice lunch and see your windshields gone and half of your expensive rental car torn to shreds. This is why, they have such high prices for “damage” at those rental places! People, wake up! They are all in this together! Can’t you see that?!
Next time when I come back to New Zealand, I’d like to stay at a local farm and try my hand at Mustering…
Mr. Bond has returned to La-La Land and I’m again alone. Continuing this journey of my life. My already broken in, dusty cowboy boots, once again hitting the road…
…A road into glorious unknown… A road where magic is possible every day, a life of no tomorrows and yesterdays…
Walking on the road where time doesn’t exist…
…Only moments of this beautiful, heart-stopping, wild and free life of infinite “In-Between”…
A few days ago I got a message on my contact page that said the following:
“Ms E, Stumbled upon you, may I merely say thank you for being you !” – GJL
My art, my life, my pain and tears, this outlaw life of mine, living and surviving against all odds, rebelling against cages and shackles of “normality”, dancing barefoot on the burning coals of my soul, getting drenched in thunderstorms and crashing into the energy of this universe and all others…
“not in vain” – I thought to myself…
Not in vain…
The woman behind Winds, Mountains and Horses …
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