Local Heart, Global Soul

November 3, 2018

Oh How Times (And Places) Change!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s January 2018 and Family Kiwidutch arrive in the bustling community of Franz Josef.

It’s now full of places catering to tourists, cafe’s, restaurants, backpackers, accommodation of all varieties, and it’s a far, far cry from when I was here last.

Back somewhere between 1983 and 1985 I made a trip here and the community I drove up to was a fraction of the size of what it is today.

There were of course tourists, but I can’t remember seeing camper vans, just people with backpacks, tramping (hiking) various walking tracks or thumbing a lift from one place to another. I worked shift work where I worked eighty hours a week (Yes, 80!) but then had the next week off.

Effectively I crammed two weeks work into one and then enjoyed every second week off. It’s certainly not a lifestyle for everyone but I was single and it suited me at the time.

I had friends scattered all over New Zealand, most of them in the South Island and would often visit on my weeks off. I also made separate trips just for fun, visiting places that interested me, places I hadn’t been to before or hadn’t been to in a while.

Since I was on a tight budget, I would stay in Youth Hostels if I needed to break up a long trip and since I was travelling alone it was a habit to give lifts to women travelling alone, or couples when I could.

I did pick up male hitch hikers sometimes too, but mostly gave preference to the ladies since both they and I felt safer for it.

If I could get the car full of both ladies and gents that was also ok too. Staying the night at hostels and seeing people in the evening and at breakfast usually gave me a chance to size them up and see if they would make good travelling companions, I am lucky to say that I never had a bad experience and met a ton of wonderful people from all around the world. Franz Josef and the relatively nearby Fox Glaciers were two stops on one of these trips so of course I had a certain expectation of what the town would look like when we arrived. Needless to say my expectations were blown away, it was like somewhere completely different, there were so many new buildings, it was bigger, brighter and so modern compared to my trip back in the 80’s. Ouch… I sound old. Who am I kidding, I am getting old! (aren’t we all?). We arrived in Franz Josef and took a quick look around, looking mostly for an Information Centre…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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