The Globerollers received a friendly New Zealand welcome when Madeline was forced to pay $400 for bringing a banana in her backpack without declaring it. The process of fining and scolding her took about thirty minutes and Jules and Roxy were forced out of the security area during this process. The combination of the fine, and the election progress thus far, reality in New Zealand appeared quite dismal.
Once we took a taxi to our first and last hostel of the trip, we were determined to find a bar where we could root for our shimmying candidate, but alas this turned into an evening of grief and reflection. After catching our breath in between panic attacks in the Queenstown streets, we went back to the hostel, facetimed our loved ones, and cried ourselves to sleep. It's hard being far away from a tragedy we care deeply about. And it's even harder to want to go back to the scene of this tragedy. But as we like to tell ourselves, we are not quitters.
The hostel was not very wheelchair or rollerblade friendly to say the least. The wheel friendly rooms we were granted in Eastern Europe (of all places!!) were "booked" on the night we arrived and we were accommodated in a six-bed room. Roxy was unable to shut the door in the bathroom and could not get inside the shower room. We spent one night at the hostel and after a night of being physically harassed by mattress springs, Roxy put her wheel down and booked a hotel.
That same morning, our birdy, Richard, asked if we wanted to join him, his wife, and his daughter on a day trip. He told us it was a surprise and we got our asses in gear. They picked us up in a private tour bus and we were immediately greeted by the tour guide/driver who really really REALLY wanted to help the Globerollers. We believe it was Globeroller Envy. Get in line, sir. Get in line. As Madeline was wearing her rollerblades and was still sore from joining in on one of Jules' daily runs, Roxy opted for Jules to lift her during most of the lifts that day. The driver hyperventilated as Jules lifted, but as per usual, we always land on our wheels. To the mountains we drove!
The mountains - Skipper's Canyon - looked like a perfect cocktail of Irish green fields and Austria's ski mountains. It was unlike anything we had ever seen before and our wheels seemed tiny and impractical on these hilly and steep cliffs. Obviously this seemed to be a challenge and so we made it our mission to make our Globeroller mark.
Our driver warned us of the dangers of rolling off the cliffs, to which we feigned imbalance and watched him flinch toward us. A natural born hero. Madeline pretended to fall off the cliff and Roxy reached her hand to help her up, while Richard laughed and we all scolded Julio for not integrating his skateboard. We had a beautiful lunch in the mountains next to an old school and then headed to the surprise activity.
We arrived at the bottom of one of the Canyons and discovered we were going to be river rafting! Roxy was immediately excited because she loves that shit. However, this type of rafting had nothing to do with cruising through the river on a blow up boat. This was the real deal. The rafting tour guide was sending us off on some sort of speedboat that cruised through the canyon at an aggressive pace. At first, the hard shelled boat seemed safer than being in an inflatable boat, so we were all game.
We got out of the car and were again asked repeatedly by the tour guide if we needed help. We assured him again after he asked and attempted to help - by actually not helping whatsoever - that we are independent women and don't need no man. He seemed very confused and worried, but gave us many cookies and muffins later on so I think we're good.
Anyway, Roxy got out of the car and she and Madeline cruised ski-style down the giant rocked path to the river. Every man, woman and kangaroo around asked us if we needed help, but we couldn't give them an answer as we simply did not know. Rocky and cobble stoned paths can go two ways. 1. Fear, great care, and high cortisol levels control our every movement whilst going down the stones. We hold our breath and make promises to Goddess of all the changes we'll make in our character if she gets us down alive. We then resume to get down safely and act like we eat that shit for breakfast, knew what we were doing all the way down, and how dare people question our skillz. 2. JACKASS. We fall off our wheels and bump our way into a coma. A Jackass scenario has not yet happened during our rollventures but, shit, if it does, it will be bad.
We really want to do it ourselves because we love to show off. But sometimes when we have someone like Jules with us, we act like needy children who's lives he must protect, yet he must be always skateboarding while helping. Yes, we set high standards. Globerollers ™.
We mysteriously got down the hill in two one-pieces and encountered such a rush of disbelief and grandiose feelings that we were ready to climb one of the mountains and ski down, but we were denied our wishes and pointed toward the vessel o' death. We were ready to take our wheels on board, but they declined our wishes and Roxy was removed from her wheelchair. Luckily for us, Madeline's blades were forgotten by the men who think they make these decisions and she jumped right into the boat. Justice served.
We were told we were allowed to bring our cell phones on board for pictures and videos so we figured it would be a pretty mild ride. The motor "vroom"ed and our skipper informed us that if he twirled his finger in the air like a lasso, we would be doing a doughnut. We laughed this off, assuming that he thought we were children and have never seen speed before. Madeline and Roxy were halfway through the sentence "You should see us in Bulgaria", when the driver took off and we almost lost our hair. Roxy put her phone away and braced herself for death. While Madeline had fortunately strapped her Go Pro to her head like a skull fanny pack. The combination of her head strap and her scream made her look like a miner who had just seen a ghost. This image is the only thing that kept Roxy going as this jet raced through the breasts of death.
The driver stopped a few times to show us where scenes from The Hobbit were filmed and then continued on like Mad Max through the desert wasteland. You see, this man's tactic of fright was to make his passengers think that he was going to crash into rocks. It sure was exciting, but it was also easy to contemplate the repercussions if this man had mixed his Kool Aid with vodka that day. Just sayin, the stakes were high.
Twenty minutes and six drenched palms later, we made it to the dock and were asked if we needed help getting out. To which we responded: "sir, if we can survive this, we can survive anything". The questioning men seemed confused, and that is the moment when Roxy and Madeline realized that different people and cultures don't always share the same danger cuisine. For some it is aggressively cruising through rough waters like an amped up Captain Hook, while for others it is getting around on wheels. We'll take the wheels, you take the waters, kind sir.
After our near death experience, we were taken to our new hotel and checked in. Roxy spotted a Dutch guy behind the front desk and after a few sweet Dutch nothings, we were promised a wheelchair accessible two bedroom with a view. The room was everything and more and we prepared ourselves for a delicious dinner so kindly hosted by Richard and his family. Their view was exquisite and we took sufficient crazy pictures to completely justify him kicking us out. He never did, and that's why we love him.
The next morning we set out to sky dive. We were all meant to go, but Roxy opted out after googling all that could go wrong skydiving with legs who have a mind of their own. Madeline and Jules hopped into the car with Richard and his daughter and drove to our dive. We said our prayers, jumped, screamed, and then high fived. Sky diving is awesome. And it shall be a one time thing for Madeline (unless Roxy wants to go one day, then it shall be a two time thing).
After the jump, Madeline and Jules were dropped off in town where they began their search for Roxy, which immediately turned into a search for food. After devouring (veggie) burgers, we found Roxy squatting outside a tourist office, creeping on their wifi.