With a rental van (60$ per day) which we slept in 4 nights, but mostly we stayed in YHAs. Winter makes camping a bit cold, though not impossible.
Huge high altitude plains with mountains rising up from nowhere that made me think of Arizona, USA, big lakes with mountain backdrops, forests with moss on everything including branches, glaciers hanging.
The South West is Te Wāhipounamu (Māori for "the place of greenstone" - Jade) . The power of the alpine ridge that goes North -south and jumps out of the western plains, can be felt in the body and the mind. The Maori used to do journeys from the west coast to get jade, which is formed in these huge mountains, and then go back.
The west coast is wild.... hundreds of km of coast with almost no towns, or tiny ones. windswept beaches of volcanic sand and driftwood. We went up it with Adam, an israeli backpacker. Love meeting people on the road. At the Haast campground common room, I also talked to a Belgium ex-commando, who had been living in Canada since his 20s. He had mostly worked in forestry. He was 70, fit as a fiddle and travelling with his son and his son's girlfriend.
The YHA at wanaka was full of Japanese snowboarders, and other characters. This is the free world, the prosperous modern world we live in, where I meet a 21 yr old snowboarder from Belgium who has worked hard and saved, and is doing an entire snow season in NZ (3 months or more).
The free market allows people to do that - instead of reducing everyone to the lowest common denominator, which is what Socialism attempts to do via punitive taxation, and even Public education which is sometimes more about indoctrination and levelling of talents.
Thereby also robbing the poor of the chance to be upwardly mobile, or have inspiring rags-to riches examples around them. There is nothing worse than not being able to better yourself, or change your destiny. In this sense, Socialism is deeply anti-human and produces nothing but the equal sharing of misery and lack of opportunity.
It's like some ogre who decides to hold all trees from blossoming in Spring - "we can't let you blossom - you might outshine other trees !"
Statis is death.
Cyclical activity - good times, temporary stagnancy, bad times: Dynamism is life. Embrace it.
In the end , Socialism will burn itself out and will be remembered as an abberation and a sickness. You can't hold down human creativity and vitality and diversity any more than concrete can hold down a blade of grass. Although I know they will try, via the UN and other attempts at world dictatorship.
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