Queenstown For the 1st and 100th Time (On Being a Tourist Again)

We were stuck in the doldrums.  Drifting aimlessly between breakfast and bedtime, numb hands and mind focused only on my e-mail inbox.  For seven weeks, Hadyn and I waited, responded to messages, waited more.  The whole of our future hung on the confirmation of a de facto Australian visa, and any ensuing employment.

Seven weeks in one of the world’s most impressive tourism destinations, and all I could afford was a feeling of limpid inactivity.

Something about the mere word, waiting, can cause us to lose our sense of direction.  Especially when it freezes us in a foreign part of the world.

And though it’s easy to lose sight of a destination, or a sense of purpose, there’s only one way out of the doldrums: become a tourist again.

Aggy's Shack, Queenstown, New Zealand

“Today’s catch: Cod, Turbot. All fresh, none of that frozen crud!”

So this afternoon, I did something I’d missed on all previous visits to Queenstown.  Camera held obviously before my right eye, I got lunch from Aggy’s seafood shack.   Just plain fish and chips, though the menu’s ‘Wild Foods’ options – muttonbird, abalone patties, kina – tempted.

Aggy didn’t smile when I ordered, he merely nodded and turned back to the fryer.  In front of the queue, I took clumsy photos of the diners, the chalkboard menu, the dark-haired back of Aggy’s head.  Just like a visitor.  Then, Styrofoam square in hand, I fought off flocks of seagulls and finished my food on the beach wall.  The birds screeched, passerby stared, and one Chinese man took obtrusive photos.  It was such a relief, this one-hour excuse from being a local…

Aggy's Shack, Queenstown, New Zealand

Swarmed by new friends as I defend my lunch on Queentown’s beach.

Regardless of the reason – anticipating an extension visa, recovering from food poisoning, preparing for the next outward ferry – you must step out onto familiar surrounds like they’ve never been seen before.  Don’t hide your camera like a local, but hang it proudly round your neck and explore the once-boring setting with new eyes.  Force a bit of wind in your sails and glide outside your current sticking point.

Queenstown, New Zealand

Even under a doldrum-inspired cloudy sky, Lake Wakatipu stretches majestically onward.

Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, no breath no motion;

As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean.

-Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner 


For more images of the ever-incredible Queenstown, New Zealand, check out the latest album on TooMutchForWord’s Facebook page.


5 responses to “Queenstown For the 1st and 100th Time (On Being a Tourist Again)

  1. Enjoyed!

    Stephanie Yesterday is History, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift – that is why they call it the present.

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