We meet Ruth the trip leader at the Queenstown Information Center at 8:00 am. She has stowed the rest of the crowd in a cafe a few doors away. A Dutch couple, Marco and Marleen; 2 German molecular biology students, Sabastian and Marcel, traveling together before they become roommates; and 4 women traveling alone, Sarah, an American, Natalie from Switzerland, and two Enlish gals, Naomi and Dawn. Ruth, a blond Kiwi, looks well-suited to shepherding this pack of kidlets around, and young they are, other than us, as the average age is probably less than 25 if you take us out of the equation.
the trip starts out with some anxiety because, as Ruth calls base to find out where our 11th group member is, she picks up three messages from Michael in Auckland, trying to reach us. R’s sister has called to say that their mother is in ICU in Denver. We connect with Diana on the cell phone, and after finding out that Marilyn has stabilized, he decides that we continue the trip that we haven’t really started yet, and check in on Day 4 when we get more groceries at Invercargill.