Across Continents

Ken's Blog

Into the Wild

July 20th, 2011

Today’s Kiwese word or phrase: "Veerjun". Fast footed French lass

Thought I might have seemed a bit abrupt. I’d been late to bed. Engrossed in conversation with Gurnam in the hostel lounge. Retiring close to midnight. Room mate Johanna already in her bunk. Quickly extinguishing the light. Drifting into conversation. Until I’d said I’d really needed to get some sleep. Early morning bus to catch.

Had I heard of a little-known film "Into the Wild" she’d asked? No doubt to her surprise, I explained I had. Brief synopsis of the story. I’d enjoyed it. Brief anecdote. Anonymous friend who’d not been so taken by it. Watching it alone. Save for a bottle of whisky and a handgun. His only companions in an otherwise inhospitable place.

She’d plans to visit London before her eventual return home to Germany. I’d suggested she might like to stay at Holland Park Youth Hostel. Peaceful spot, not too expensive, and well-placed for exploring the Capital. And be sure to pick up an Oyster card for getting around on public transport. Sensed a smile. A fellow hosteller proffering the same two pieces of advice.

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Differences of opinion

July 20th, 2011

Brief rest stop. Chance for a quick coffee before continuing the bus journey back north. I’d missed the signs. Failed to register our driver’s comments. Nothing fancy. Any colour you liked. Just so long as it was black. Add your own milk if you wanted. Ask for a double frappe skinny latte at your peril. I’d gotten away with ordering a couple of long blacks because, well, that’s what you got. Shared with Gurnam.

We’d met the previous evening in Franz Josef Youth Hostel. Hadn’t been an auspicious start. There’d been differences of opinion. Confidently asserted on both sides. Nepal. Gurnam favouring foreigners rates for visitors. Whereas I was vehemently against such things. Resolute in wanting to pay only what a local would. No more. No less. Not to be seen as a meal ticket. A cash cow. Eventually conceding that if, as she’d suggested, tourists consumed far more resources than a Nepalese ever would, paying more wasn’t unreasonable. A fair charge.

If I’d feared a frosty start, my nervousness soon allayed. Instead chatting until gone midnight. Continuing the next day on the bus. Librarians. Her profession. Suggesting they seemed generally reluctant to recognise the inevitable waning of print media. The need to see themselves as managers of information rather than custodians of books. Lest they soon be marginalised. Which’d be a shame. Because few know how to best exploit the knowledge they have. Problem is, most people think they do. She’d agreed.

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Twenty-minuters

July 19th, 2011

Twenty-minuters from Ken Roberts on Vimeo.

Franz Josef village. Blink and you’ll miss it. Few miles from the glacier of the same name.

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Sunset in Franz Josef

July 19th, 2011

FJSunset

Franz Josef. On the western side of New Zealand’s South Island

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Franz Josef Glacier

July 18th, 2011

Glacierpan

Franz Josef Glacier. On New Zealand’s South Island. Maori name for the glacier translates as "Avalanche Girl". And it’s advancing. Not retreating. So much for global warming…

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Peter’s Pool

July 17th, 2011

Peters Pool

Peter’s Pool. Near the Franz Josef Glacier. On New Zealand’s South Island

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Tree light

July 16th, 2011

ForestPath (3)

In the woods. Close to the Franz Josef Glacier. On New Zealand’s South Island

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Orwellian nightmares

July 15th, 2011

Dormbed

Today’s Kiwese word or phrase: "One Doze". Popular computer operating system

If the room had been ransacked nobody would have noticed. Contents of the various suitcases and rucksacks exploded. Enough hair products strewn about to make me pray the occupants didn’t smoke. There were supposed to be just two. And yours truly. Sharing Room 101. Franz Josef Youth Hostel. Door quickly closed. Key returned to reception. Another dorm allocated.

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