Arrowtown book buyer Miranda Spary continues her regular
column about her recommendations for a good read and life as
she sees it ...
Gosh - this is my last column for the year and the Mayan
calendar predicts that the world is going to end today or
tomorrow, as well. In such circumstances, how can I write
something meaningful and important, when that really isn't my
style at all?
So much has happened this year that it feels as if I've
somehow squished two years into one. At the hotel I was
staying in last week, I was remembering the keycode by
knowing it started with 53, which is my age. Or so I thought.
In fact, I am still 52 but it took my helpful friend's input
to remind me that I was using next year's age to remember
things. Even if it's not the end of the world, it's looking
as if it's the end of my memory.
I completely forgot I was 50 anything when a cheery snow host
asked the person behind me if they were waiting to join the
seniors' ski and lunch group. When I turned to see who they
were talking to, I discovered it was me. Me, a senior? I take
back everything I said last week about things not looking
Christmassy in the southern hemisphere.
I had forgotten about strawberries and raspberries, roses and
sunburnt noses (all things that smell, funnily enough!). We
can let the northern hemisphere celebrate their sunless
Christmas with twinkly lights and tinsel and all their real
snow and icicles, while we luxuriate (especially in the
Wakatipu) in those long and luscious summer nights biking and
hiking and barbecuing and fishing and playing golf and tennis
from after work till nearly bedtime.
But it was lovely to get a fix, albeit a quick one, of snow
and cold and all the cosiness of winter. Thank you for all
the grumpy emails begrudging me my fantastic stint at Big
White Ski Resort in Canada's British Columbia. I promise it
was work, even though I had to keep pinching myself to
remember that when I was having so much fun. Loads of you are
saying that you didn't get enough of a snow fix this year and
all I can suggest is that you get online and see what deals
there are. If you've got a ghastly family Christmas coming
up, you could escape it by going skiing for the week instead.
Don't look at their Facebook page if you're aching for snow -
it will make you cry with envy. One place I went in British
Columbia was way too cold, though. An Austrian partnership
has built what must be the world's most elegant and enormous
3700sq m spa called Sparkling Hill right next door to the
Predator Ridge golf course. They offer all sorts of delicious
treatments to make you feel pampered and precious and very,
very relaxed. But one of them is the cold sauna.
The aftereffects are all about making you feel not just good,
but pain-free and deliriously happy. Unfortunately I didn't
have any pain before I went in, so I can't tell you if that
side of it worked, but I was very happy afterwards. Clad in a
fetching outfit of bikini, shoes and socks, gloves, a mask
and band to cover your ears and nose, you spend three minutes
(now that's a way to sort out the problem of time going too
fast) in a tiny room chilled down to minus 110degC.
t was an extraordinary sensation freezing yourself. The cold
becomes almost tangible - it feels heavier and bigger and the
warm bit of you shrinks and shrinks until it's just your
heart beating - very strange. All sorts of sports teams are
using these cold saunas now, and it's even being used in
research to cure depression.
Given how hysterically we laughed afterwards, I can see how
it could work.
Being away from Wakatipu makes you see how well we do at
making our magical corner of the world such a great
experience for visitors. Given how tiny our population is and
how far we are from the rest of the world, it's always
astonishing how well-known and well-loved Queenstown is. If
pride comes before a fall, I should be tripping over
constantly - I'm so proud to come from such a fantastic
A big thanks to Tourism NZ (and congratulations on the 2012
best destination marketing award) and to our own Destination
Queenstown who are doing such a great job.
New Year is less than a fortnight away and a book I just read
and loved - The Secret Letters of the Monk who Sold his
Ferrari by Robin Sharma - will help you make some useful
resolutions as well as entertaining you.
It's a completely predictable story but told in a new and
lovely way. It's always interesting getting the same old
message in a different format and with our lives and world
getting increasingly complicated, it's good to get things
stripped back to basics.
Robin Sharma is a Canadian author and motivational speaker
who is a master of getting the message across. Read it and
make your 2013 the happiest year yet.
Have a very peaceful Christmas and enjoy being with your