Che Baker: It's not the oyster life for me
OPINION: Snow is on its way to Queenstown.
And with it, it brings that shitty Southland weather we can dread.
But it also tends to mean one other thing for Southlanders - it's time for the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival.
Now, I have been to a few oyster festivals during my years. Those included working as a reporter and hanging out with Nicky Watson and some guy from Shortland Street.
It is actually very hard to go when you are working. It is so, so cold.
The worst thing about it was there was no sipping on a few high percentage alcoholic beverages to get the warm fuzzies and help fight off the chill of those southerly blasts.
I went last year and the temperature wasn't so bad. The sun even came out near the end and made for a stunning sunset over the harbour.
But - I have to admit - I am pretty pleased they capped the numbers this year.
Last year it was such a mission to buy drinks or food or, well, to do anything.
However, all in all it was still a great day and night.
Sounds like us lucky ones that got a ticket this year are in for a treat!
I had to laugh when I was in Auckland last month and my friend's dad was coming to Queenstown for business and thought he would pop by Bluff to attend this year's festival.
Me: "Ah have you got a ticket? It sold out like a month ago."
Him: "What do you mean? I thought you could just walk up to the gate and get a ticket? ... It's Southland."
Um - not this year unfortunately! I said I would keep an ear out and see if I could find any for him.
Yeah, not a hope in hell there.
Tickets this year are more sacred then finding a pearl in your oyster.
There have even been reports of a scam artist trying to dupe people who just want their festival fix. What a jerk.
So come today - for the first time this year - (well, except for when I was in the snowy hills of Japan) it's time to go to the extremes and pull out the winter gears to wrap up like I'm visiting Antarctica.
A little cold can't stop me but there will be merinos, beanies, gloves, snow boots and the damn warmest jacket I can find.
The problem I do have though, is that I am not a seafood fan.
Yes, I can stomach white fish, scallops and the odd prawn but I steer clear of mussels, salmon, crayfish and yes - the oyster.
Yeah, I know that sounds crazy to some.
But as we know, our dining palette can change over time.
I wasn't a fan of mushrooms - now I am. Wasn't a fan of blue cheese - now I am. Wasn't a fan of red wine - now I am (a HUGE, huge fan).
So, while in Rome (aka Bluff), I'd better give the almighty oyster another shot.
It can't hurt ... I just won't be able to leave this up to Dutch courage at the risk of losing more than my lunch (I don't want to end up cold again).
So, cheers to the tens of thousands of oysters that will be consumed this weekend and to the one that has my name on it.