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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Geysers, hot springs, and Maori culture

NEW ZEALAND | Thursday, 12 January 2006 | Views [2787] | Comments [1]

            Kia Ora! I had another adventurous and exciting day in Aotearoa New Zealand. Today was my biggest cultural day in this beautiful land. I woke up at 6:30 and we finished packing. I almost forgot my New Zealand shirt that I had bought in Auckland, but it’s a good thing I didn’t. I walked with the guys down to breakfast and we had our usual: bacon, cereal, etc. At 7:00, we were ready to roll. I’m going to miss Waitomo Caves. I sure wish I could have done another cave tour. Yesterday was just magical! But, we were off to Rotorua: “Roto” meaning “lake,” and “rua” meaning “two.” Therefore, it is the land of two lakes. We were driving through the countryside, and our first stop of the day was the Zorb. It’s where you roll down the hill in a giant ball. It was really awesome. I went Zorbing with Tom and Lisa. Afterward, I got some pictures. I wanted to get a shirt at the gift shop, but they were $35 each. That’s too much! The next stop, about 300 meters away was the Agrodome. Today was the first time I saw a real sheep-shearing show. The host of the show was so funny! He brought out various kinds of sheep and brought them all up on the stage. Some sheep were black, some were white, some had long wool, and some had short wool. After that, he brought out a sheep with a fill coat of wool and sheared it! It was really cool. After the sheep demonstration, he brought out a cow with a full load of milk. He had some people come up to milk the cow, and gave them a certificate. However, I wasn’t interested. Next up was the sheepdogs. The dogs were barking loudly, and for the finale, one of the dogs climbed on top of the sheep that was centre stage. What a great show it was! At the Agrodome gift shop, I got another New Zealand made t-shirt and a few postcards. After leaving the Agrodome, we were on the road to Rotorua, which I’ve always heard smells bad. When we got there, Mike told us all to take a deep breath. So, I believed what I heard from the people back home. The next place on our list was the Maori Arts & Crafts Institute and Whakarewarewa. It was there I saw the one ultimate thing I wanted to see: the geysers. Before that though, we walked through the institute, where we saw carvings of Maori boats and statues. I wanted to tell you the Maori legend of how New Zealand came to be. The Maori god, Maui, was fishing with his grandmother’s jawbone, and he fished up the North Island. The South Island is his canoe and Stewart Island is his anchor. Maui’s brothers fought over the piece of land and damaged it, causing the geysers and the bubbling mud pools on the North Island. After walking through the institute, we stepped outside into Whakarewarewa and I could see the geyser from across! I was in complete awe and I could not stop snapping pictures. We then walked up to Pohutu Geyser. I got the most awesome picture of me with the geyser in the background, and another picture with Claire and Jacki. In all, I got like six or eight photos of the geyser, which is such an awesome sight. I even put my video feature into action and got a video of the geyser erupting steam. I can’t wait to show everyone back home. I then took some pictures of the bubbling mud pools. They are another awesome sight! I had to catch up with the rest of the gang, because I spent too much time taking pictures. We then walked through the kiwi sanctuary. It was my first time seeing a kiwi. It was very dark, we were not allowed to take pictures and we had to be very quiet. At the gift shop, I got some postcards and at the snack bar I got a corn dog and some French fries. After hanging out for a little bit, we drove to and stopped in central Rotorua to explore. Rotorua smells like sulphur, but L.A. stinks more! I asked a resident how she handles the smell and she told me she’s lived here for more than 30 years and that they get used to the smell. She also told me that the geysers are boring because she sees them all the time. I told her I feel the same about L.A. In Rotorua, I stopped at Starbucks, which here look just like they do back home, and got an iced tea. I also took a picture of a police car. They kind of look like toy cars here. I got something to eat at McDonald’s and noted how the signs inside are written in Maori and English. After eating, I went to the internet café and emailed that picture to everyone. I also learned that some residents of Rotorua even have geysers and mud pools in their backyards. I’d sure love to have one. At 3:45, we drove to our accommodation, which is another KiwiPaka youth hostel. That’s alright; I don’t need a five-star hotel. We unloaded our stuff and then I changed into my swimming shorts and jumped into the geothermal pool they have here. It felt great! Mr. Hanley once showed me a picture of a geothermal pool in Iceland. The United States, Iceland, and New Zealand are three of like only 12 countries that have geysers. I showered after swimming and then shot a round of pool with another tourist. I won the game despite being a bad pool player. At 6 PM, we were off to our hangi and Maori concert. At the hotel where the hangi was held, there was a geyser right out front! The Maoris greeted us with Kia Ora, and taught us the hongi, which is the official Maori greeting. It is where the noses touch and you say “Kia Ora.” They also showed us the haka, which is an intimidating stance to scare off rivals. We were also taught some other Maori words, and then we took pictures with the Maoris. For my hangi dinner, I had New Zealand lamb, venison, pork, chicken leg, rice, noodles, and apple sauce. For dessert, I had bread pudding, custard, and pavlova. At the table, I read the story of Te Ika A Maui, which is the story of the North Island that I told you about earlier. At 8 PM, the concert began. It was so amazing and even more cultural. I put my video feature into action and got a video of the Maoris performing. I’ve never really studied the Maoris like I have the Aborigines. At one point we got to go up on stage and perform with the Maoris. What an awesome performance it was! After the show, I got some New Zealand pins at the gift shop. I’ll put one on my work name badge when I get home. I also got one of those things that they swing back and forth; I forget what they’re called, but oh well, I got one anyway. When we came out, it was raining, not hard though. By golly I started to think it wouldn’t rain at all. As we drove back to the hostel, I noticed steam coming from people’s backyards, so that confirms what I learned earlier. I wanted to go to the Polynesian spa tonight, but I didn’t have enough money, so I passed on that. Mike was picking on me earlier saying that it’s dangerous out here and that I shouldn’t walk back to the hostel. I can tell he’s never been to L.A. After a memorable day, I decided to jump back into the pool. I needed it after a long day. In the pool, I met this pretty girl named Natalie. She said she was from Scotland, but she didn’t have the accent. She was very nice and I gave her a massage. One of my mates bought me an Export Gold beer and I bought the girls each a beer. I spent about two hours in the steaming hot pool before getting out. I said good night to the girls and I went in and showered. Then, I talked to Claire, who is Australian, about my travels in Australia. Oh I sure hope to go back there very, very soon. At midnight, I called it a worthy Rotorua night. It is 2 AM, I’m exhausted after this long day, and I have another wondrous day tomorrow as we head up to Taupo. See you then.

Tags: culture



were did u get this from

  marquaja patterson Jan 30, 2008 6:03 AM

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