Waco resident Mark Kunesh, 59, has descended the dam, jumped from planes and participated in several operations during his 20 years of military service with the US Army. To say that it is interesting is an understatement.
Kunesh was born in Rawlings, Wyoming, but transferred to Riverdale, North Dakota, where he graduated from high school in 1979.
He enrolled in college at North Dakota State College of Science and studied diesel mechanics but after a year discovered it wasn’t for him. As a result, he enlisted in the Army in January 1981, following basic and advanced training in combat engineering at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
“It seems appropriate,” he said.
In combat engineering, Kunesh specialized in construction and explosives – building and blowing up things. He spent a year stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana, before his first European deployment. He was in Frankfort, Germany, for five years, “and I loved every minute of it,” he said.
Between culture and accessible countryside, Kunesh said it didn’t take long to get from Germany to France, Italy and other locations. His mother and father came to visit him for the three months he was stationed there.
Before leaving Fort Polk, Kunesh married and the couple had their oldest daughter. When he was in Germany, he had his youngest daughter, but he and their mother eventually separated.
The absence of wealthy foreign tourists has affected the adult entertainment industry in Queenstown. Photo file / Michael Armadeus, Unsplash
The absence of wealthy foreign tourists has affected the adult entertainment industry in Queenstown, as New Zealanders are unwilling to spend a fortune.
Indulge Me NZ owner Antonia Davison-McDonald said her striptease company had lost 80 percent of bookings due to Covid-19.
Australians at bachelor parties, hen parties and men’s weekends will use the agency to hire topless waiters and order striptease by men or women.
The lack of bookings means five of its staff have moved away from Queenstown as they can no longer afford to live there.
Davison-McDonald said its staff work for Indulge Me NZ as side jobs to help pay their rent or fund their lifestyle, and in some cases the pandemic has meant they have lost their main job.
He and others in the wider adult industry say Christmas tends to be a quiet time, but his business is still recovering from a loss of revenue in August – usually the busiest time.
“This year has been very bad; last August we had 26 bookings and this year we got five.”
Small groups of wealthy Australians are usually paid to have women work on the large properties they rent, while New Zealanders book fewer staff and for less time.
However, Bon Ton’s high-end escort business has decided to open in Queenstown.
Jennifer Souness, who started an agency in Wellington, said without COVID-19 she would have no problem with demand, but wealthy foreign tourists are prohibited by restrictions so her business doesn’t accept bookings until September.
After initially struggling to recruit due to advertising problems with Trade Me, he received numerous applications from “sex-loving” women who wanted to earn money, but Christmas proved lean.
“Talking to my friends who have agencies in different cities, they told me that business is good, but Queenstown is different.”
He felt the transtasman bubble would be “big,” because his company didn’t want to serve the mass market.
An independent chaperone, who did not wish to be named, said he has had a steady number of clients since moving to Queenstown in November, mainly from the older population.
New Zealand’s Sex Workers’ Collective national coordinator Dame Catherine Healy said sex workers were generally made difficult in Queenstown through “hostile regulations” that were incompatible with other countries, and that few sex workers remained.
He said the sex workers continued to tour the South Island, including Queenstown, but stayed only a few days while proactively seeking clients.
“It is business as usual, but Queenstown is a tourist town so sex workers will rely on domestic men to visit them.”
Dame Catherine said the regulations, which generally prohibit brothels, created “a potentially very threatening situation”.
However, he did thank the Queenstown police for making sex worker safety a priority.
The last old brothel in Queenstown closed in 2008, although illegal ones have been discovered since then.
The Brothel Control Bylaw 2017 prohibits brothels from being on or under the ground floor of a building, within 100m of other brothels or in certain areas of Queenstown and CBD Wanaka.
Visitor numbers fell 52 percent for the Hooker Valley Trail in Aoraki National Park. Photo / 123RF
Some of New Zealand’s most popular walking trails have seen huge drops in visitor numbers.
Data from the Department of Conservation compares the number of visitors during September and October this year with the same time last year.
Milford Sound was down 72 percent, Franz Josef Glacier was down 66 percent and the Hooker Valley Track was down 52 percent.
Tracks Roys Peak and Ben Lomond fell 42 percent and 31 percent, respectively.
“Many parts of New Zealand have been hit hard by the loss of international visitors. The more remote and high-volume international destinations in the national parks are seeing a large drop in traffic.”
“Acknowledging how difficult the last year was for many local economies, it is great to open Fiordland’s popular Milford and Routeburn tracks in time for the holidays, to support domestic tourism in the region,” DoC director general Lou said Sanson.
The DoC said New Zealanders would camp in extensive coastal campgrounds in popular Kiwi summer spots such as Northland, the Coromandel and the upper South Island.
Camp Tōtaranui (near the Abel Tasman Coast Track) had the highest number of bookings of all DoC campgrounds in New Zealand this summer.
The Waikawau Bay (Coromandel) and Otamure Bay (Northland) campgrounds proved popular too.
“While the DoC expects a busy season, there is still plenty of room over the summer at hundreds of conservation campsites, including campsites on the Great Walks.”
Most popular campsite
Number of nights booked between December 1, 2020 and February 28, 2021:
Hundreds of British guests were put in quarantine the new variant is more contagious The coronavirus has fled the Swiss ski resort of Verbier, with some of it reappearing in France, Swiss authorities reported on Sunday.
Verbier, a mountain village located in the municipality of Bagnes in the Canton of Valais, is a popular ski destination for British tourists.
Bagnes spokesman Jean-Marc Sandoz told the German Press Office that Swiss authorities had identified 420 guests from Britain who were ordered to be quarantined before Christmas.
About 50 people immediately fled, and of the other 370, less than a dozen were still there as of Sunday, he said, adding that some guests had reappeared in neighboring France.
“Many of them stayed in quarantine for a day before they left unnoticed in the dark,” said Sandoz.
According to local media, hoteliers began to suspect a “secret departure” because calls to the quarantine room were “repeatedly unanswered” and food left in front of the rooms “untouched.”
“It was the worst week our community has ever had,” Sandoz told the newspaper Sunday newspaper, calling it an “unprecedented situation”. He said Bagnes felt abandoned by the federal and local governments.
The Swiss ‘understand the frustration’ of the British
The Roys Peak Trail is a five to seven hour hike. Photo / Provided
A few months ago, entered The Before Times, visitors from all over the world will travel far and wide to reach New Zealand and admire its beauty.
Each area has the sights most international tourists visit – but how many Kiwis can say they’ve been there too? This is why you need to take a look.
Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Northland
The Waitangi Treaty Grounds are an important part of Aotearoa’s history, and they typically see more international visitors than the Northland average. Yet so many New Zealanders neglect this area, losing understanding of how important it is to their sense of place and belonging.
Rangitoto Island is one of Auckland’s most famous landmarks and the largest volcano in Auckland’s volcanic fields. It’s home to incredible bird and plant life, as well as the world’s largest pōhutukawa forest. The hike to the top is a gentle incline and takes about an hour.
Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson Tasman
Abel Tasman National Park is a stunning part of New Zealand’s coastline and the main calling card for the Nelson Tasman region for visitors. Every Kiwi who loves beaches and nature should experience beautiful golden sandy beaches, hike through lush native forest and swim or kayak in the turquoise sea.
We’ve seen the film, we’ve lived through the international hype, but the Hobbiton Movie Set remains unchecked off many New Zealanders’ wishlists, even though it’s a major travel hotspot for our overseas friends. Discover the Hobbit Hole, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill House, and many other famous sites from the film.
Bannockburn, Central Otago
Wine buffs would be foolish to travel through Central Otago without stopping at Bannockburn. This small wine sub-region is a popular place for the abundance of grapes grown there, cellar doors and restaurants – all with spectacular views to admire.
Waimarino Lightworm Kayak Tour, Bay of Plenty
Move on to Waitomo and Te Anau – there are more places in New Zealand to see glowworms. This kayaking tour sees visitors paddle through the canyon, to discover an area lit by thousands of glowworms, which will make you feel like you are surrounded by fairy lights.
Queen Charlotte Trail, Marlborough
The Queen Charlotte Track is a 72 km long trail for hikers and mountain bikers and runs from Ship Cove to Anakiwa. Water taxis can take you to and from the track and to your accommodation while enjoying panoramic ocean views, lush native bush and native wildlife.
Cable Car, Wellington
The bright red cable car is one of Wellington’s most visually recognizable attractions. It’s only a five minute ride to the top, to Kelburn Station, where you can admire the beautiful views, take a walk the Wellington Botanic Gardens and learn all you need to know at the Cable Car Museum.
Cathedral Cove, Coromandel
Instantly recognizable, Cathedral Cove is a popular spot for photographers and Instagrammers. It is an idyllic place to experience a sunrise or sunset and a taonga for local Maori guardian Ngāti Hei and is therefore best explored with a local guide who can ensure you have a full understanding of this somewhat mysterious yet awe-inspiring place of the Coromandel.
Eagle Crossing, Taranaki
The Pouākai crossing is a one-day option for those who don’t wish to make the full two to three day hike. It takes adventurers past towering cliffs, powerful waterfalls, and sphagnum moss swamps, among other impressive sights.
Roys Peak, Wānaka
Another favorite among Instagrammers, Roys Peak is often missed by New Zealanders who don’t want to hike the five to seven hours to get to the top. But those who have sought to be rewarded with superb views over Lake Wānaka, Mount Aspiring / Tititea and surrounding peaks; the locals claim it to be the best view in the country.
Art Deco Festival, Hawke’s Bay
Every year, the Art Deco Festival in Hawke’s Bay features visitors dressing up and partying in Napier to celebrate the Gatsby era. Next year the festival runs from February 17-21, commemorating 90 years since the city’s catastrophic 1931 earthquake. Without international tourists, the 2021 festival will be a wonderful opportunity for Kiwis to recognize the resilience of our nation.
The road to Glenorchy is truly a spectacular journey from Queenstown, known locally as the “Road to Glenorchy”. “On the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu, this small mountain town is surrounded by stunning mountains, lakes and rivers, and has been in many films, including The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.
Whanganui River Trip, Ruapehu
The Whanganui River is New Zealand’s longest navigable river. It is considered a living entity, part of the land and its people, so a guided cultural tour will help give you a better understanding of the significance of the river and the legend of its origin. Paddling down the river will take you through dramatic scenery from dense rainforest to coastal valleys and sand dunes.
Many Kiwis have visited Taupō’s tourist destinations, but unlike our international partners, only a small proportion venture to the spectacular namesake lakes. Whether you’re sipping wine while sailing out to visit the Māori Rock Carvings, parasailing 1000ft in the air behind a speeding boat, going sightseeing or chartering a fishing boat or controlling your own motorized jetski or donut boat, you can’t beat a day at Taupō Lake.
Piopiotahi / Milford Sound, Fiordland
About 900,000 tourists traveled to Milford Sound last year, so now is the perfect time to see this natural wonder without crowds. Driving to Milford Sound is an adventure in itself – you’ll want to stop and take lots of photos along the way, so leave plenty of time for yourself.
Tourist flight, Kaikōura
Go up to the sky and look at Kaikōura from above. Do you want to see spectacular mountains or vast oceans? Luckily at Kaikōura you don’t have to choose. Fly over the region and if you’re lucky you might as well get a unique whale watching show. Sperm whales can be seen year-round and humpback whales during the winter months, with many other species also frequently found on the Kaikōura coastline.
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, visit newzealand.com