Tuesday, March 24, 2015

...my meltdown on the gondola

If I have learned one thing about travelling, it's that it is often wildly unpredictable. 
The things you worry about tend to be non-issues in the end and the things you don't worry about are typically what smack you in the face.
I have learned to be flexible and open minded.
But that doesn't mean that this never happens:
Yes, that's me in the middle of a major meltdown, which my husband captured on camera. 
Travel has also taught me that it is a-okay to laugh at myself.
So let me backtrack and tell you the story of my meltdown on Queenstown's gondola. 

Queenstown, New Zealand is right on Lake Wakatipu and and has a spectacular waterfront view of the Remarkables. 
A gondola scales the hillside behind the city and affords visitors with spectacular views.
Naturally, we wanted to go. So we did.
On our last night in town, we took the gondola up the hillside to take a walk and snap some photos.
Everything was great... until we got on the gondola to go back down the hillside. 

Suddenly, midway down the line, the smooth motion of the gondola stopped and we were motionless.
Thirty seconds later, we jarred forward a few feet.
Then, again, we inexplicably came to complete halt.
And we stayed that way.

Now, I have been on so many gondolas.
I've been on the gondola in Taipei multiple times.
I've been on the gondola in Hong Kong.
I've been on the gondola at Sun Moon Lake.
I've been on quite a few gondolas.
And none of them have ever randomly stopped for long periods of time.
None of them actually ever stopped, ever, even for a short period of time. 

So there we were, dangling in the air, a huge cliff face right underneath us, and as the minutes and eventually hour ticked by, my imagination started to run wild. 
The sky was darkening as it was well past 9pm.
Wind buffeted our two person gondola from side to side.
We noticed the small sign on the bottom of the door that read: in case of emergency, call such as such phone number.
We cursed ourselves for holding steadfast to our decision not to own cell phones.
Then, about one hour after being stalled mid-ride, we noticed a man wearing a reflective vest slowly hiking down the hillside with a megaphone in his hand.
Eventually, after yelling up to our friends who were stuck in the gondola behind us, the man made it to us.
My stomach dropped when he explained that they were experiencing technological difficulties and could not say when we would be freed.
Then, I started crying when he told us about the emergency blankets and glow sticks that we could find under our seats.

My greatest concerns?
Where was I going to go pee?
What if we had to spend the night?
I mean, just before taking the gondola up, we had eaten Mexican food for dinner! 
My husband, who I love to bits and pieces, thought the entire thing was hilarious.
What can I say?
I am lucky this man loves me, the crazy lady who wrapped herself up in the emergency blanket and clutched the emergency glow stick until well over 90 minutes later when the gondola finally came back to life and deposited us at the foot of the hillside.
And you know what? We didn't even get a refund.
But I did keep that emergency glow stick. 

Check out Travel Tuesday for more travel stories! 


  1. I'm sorry for laughing at your meltdown, but this is a hilarious post! I think everyone has travel (and non-travel) meltdowns and that is perfectly okay!

  2. Travel meltdowns definitely happen, and I've experienced them for sure! Besides your meltdown, these photos are so stunning! Great that you can look back and laugh at the experience now that it is over :)

    1. Yes, the photo opportunities made it totally worth it!

  3. I'd be scared too if that were to happen to me, but at least you made it out safe and sound!

    1. My imagination took over and I was convinced we were going to die!

  4. HAHAHh ok I'm dying - but only because you were worried about poo'ing. Honestly, I would have freaked out. The whole stopping thing probably not so much, BUT wind!? Omg.

  5. Oh man... I know your pain girl! That's my biggest fear! We are heading to Germany soon and my husband wants to visit Zugspitze but I'm already fearing the dreaded gandola! lol I can barely handle Ferris wheels! Love how your husband documented everything!

    1. Good luck! I'm sure it will be beautiful!

  6. I love this post! I can't imagine being stuck like that for so long...I would have freaked out as well. My husband would have too though so maybe it's a good thing that one of you was able to just take it all in stride. We would have been a mess!! Seeing how you survived the whole ordeal, I'll go with it was worth it since those pics are SOO amazing!! Absolutely stunning!!

    1. Yes, it's good to have balance. One crazy person and one sane person :)

  7. no more gondolas, ever. but this was hilarious. even though you didn't mention the contingency plan ;)

  8. On our last trip to Germany with another couple we were going to go to the Zugspitze. I was secretly dreading it because I have an unreasonable fear of heights. But my attitude when traveling is to go with the flow so I didn't say anything. I was thrilled when our travel plans changed and we didn't have time to ride up. So thankful! Your story makes me even happier we missed it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. I just looked at the Zugspitze cable car. Ahhh! It is so scary! But so pretty! I would be so torn about what to do!

  9. OMG I was having a panic attack through your writing!!! I would've been right there with you, wrapped up in the emergency blanket (which looks just like you wrapped yourself in foil and I'm so glad there wasn't any LIGHTNING!!!)! Laughing [nervously] outloud the whole post. Great writing, and hilarious honesty! Great to find you on the Travel Tuesday link-up!

    1. Hahaha! I hadn't even considered lightening... thank god! :)

  10. I can't believe you didn't get a refund. Don't ever watch 'Frozen' - not the Disney movie - the movie about being stuck on a ski lift. Three people got stuck and only one came out alive. I won't tell you what happened to the other two but it was awful. Queenstown is pretty amazing though isn't it.

    1. So I just looked at that movie-- how awful! Now I don't know if I can ever go skying again either.

  11. The bathroom problem would definitely have occurred to me. Tiny bladder here! I'm glad you guys were ok and that it wasn't TOO cold though!

  12. Haha, I think I might have had a little meltdown too and yes probably over the bathroom issue. My pesky bladder likes to go in overdrive mode when it knows there are no bathrooms to be had. At least now you have a fun and slightly embarrassing story to tell!

    1. Haha! I suffer from exactly the same problem! That's also why I loathe sitting anywhere but the aisle when flying.


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