It’s been a hectic two days since we last checked in but I’m glad for it because it looks like the heavy, day ruining rain has finally caught up with us. It was a bit of a struggle to get here however. The bus company we booked with (Nakedbus, which we heard nothing but horror stories but hey it was the cheapest) brought a woman back from her period of being laid off to run a route she’s never run and she only found out the bus was manual when she got there, and it didn’t seem to matter to the company that she didn’t know how to use manual. There were a few hills it felt like we weren’t going to make it up and the customers who were familiar with the route were holding her coffee for her as she struggled and pointing out the bus stops. It was pretty unprofessional for a company to do that but the lady was pleasant enough and we still made it alive for a discounted price so I can’t be too unpleased.
So about Rotorua. I have never been to Yellow Stone but I’d imagine it’s a bit like that with the geothermic sites and geysers. Steam rises out of piles of rocks all throughout the city and every so often you’re slapped in the face with that jolting rotten egg smell.
Now that it’s raining it is actually more potent. I’m not sure how the locals stand it but I guess at least they always have something to blame when they let one rip in an uncomfortable setting. Despite the smell, the sites really are cool. The morning after our arrival we rented some bikes and took off around the big lake that the city is set on.
Thousands of birds swarmed around us and massive black swans and American geese put the littler ones in their place.
Down the center of the lake there is a line where you can see the sulfur part of the lake crash into the fresh blue part.
Last evening we took in one of the Maori shows in the area. The whole area was set up as a traditional Maori village, even as recently as the 1800’s, and included clear bubbling streams and hut like houses set on an outdoor stage.
The show began with the Maori warriors paddling up the stream in their canoe clad only in loincloths and some furs over the shoulder.Which was insane because Alex and I both had on five layers of clothing and hats.
We were then paraded into the stage area where they gave us their “welcoming” dance, which was the very opposite of what I would consider welcoming. They thrust their spears and beat their chests and stuck out their tongues (which we were told is a way of letting your enemy know how tasty you will be once they kill and then eat you). They do this thing with the eyes as well where they look in extreme directions so that from afar it looks as if they just have white for eyes. The group we watched perform actually just one the national competition for one of their war dances which they call the Haka. I’m sure they deserved it because it definitely made some children cry.
The rest was much more laid back, some love songs, some cool instrumentals, some stick games. Then we got to eat the Hangi which was a huge buffet of chicken, lamb, potatoes, rice, carrots and even dessert all cooked underground in the natural thermal steam.
Delicious! We also got to try Pavlova for the first time which is the national dessert here. Apparently its egg whites and sugar all set on fire or something? I’m not sure. Do we have this in the States? How have I missed this my entire life??? Today also started lovely, (this word is used to describe everything here so I have also decided to use it as liberally as possible) as we rented a car and went on our first road trip. Alex only turned into oncoming traffic one time so that is a vast improvement over London! Unfortunately we have no pictures from the day because we spent the morning at the glow worm caves underground where you can’t take your cameras. This activity was my one must do here. You get to climb 38 meters underground, climb into a boat into an underground river and drift through tunnels that are lit up like the stars on the brightest night you can remember. The glow worms are simply stunning. The only other place they exist is in South America (though you might want to fact check me on that). If any of you reading come to New Zealand you must do this. Try to jump in a group without children though because you know… kids generally suck at these sorts of things and then you are having a beautiful wonderful epic experience and some kid decides they must start demanding to be out of the cave. I’m not holding a grudge or anything, I just think kids should be banned from awesome activities.
Once we emerged, we took off to the Coromandel Peninsula where our table mates from the Maori dinner insisted we must go. Unfortunately with every kilometer the weather got worse and worse. We could only faintly see the outline of what were sure to be gorgeous mountains and the sea in the distance was just a big tuft of fog. Alex convinced me he needed this big fancy camera and today he was supposed to show me just why it was worth the money but we didn’t get one picture. The rain is supposed to continue falling for the next two days so maybe we can get some productive stuff done like fix our resumes, apply for some jobs, and call all of you lovelies. We will be calling from google voice so if you get a call from Unknown you should answer! Love you all!