Which is not the drink but a Maori greeting, the Maoris being a culture/peoples that got here about 100 years before the Westerners.
Well as you know I'm now in New Zealand and man its soo nice to know whats going on around you.
I'm travelling on the 'magic bus' and no its not me taking illegal substances it a backpackers tour bus which is taking me around the two Islands, so whats been going on? Read on my friends...
Its the biggest city in the country with a whopping 1.5m inhabitants (only around 4.5m in the whole country, yeah I know) and it rains a hell of a lot, being sandwiched in between the Tasmanian Sea and the Pacific Ocean I dont know why I didnt expect it but there you are. Also having to pay normal prices for things as its way more expensive than SA is not a good thing :(
While I was getting my bearings here I've managed to get in Harry Potter 5 at the flicks (also read through the book while busing it, I know what happens in the end!!), seen the city from 220m from the viewing platform of Sky Tower (total height 328m, they seem obsessed with that fact so I'll put it in), nice views but glad I got the discount (backpackers card I love it!!) as its pretty much just a nice view, although watching people dive past on bungee type strings while you're drinking coffee is quite amusing.
Have got in many trips the bookstores enjoying the fact that every book I pick up is in English, and they have a wicked (and free) art gallery that gave me my 1st insight into Maori culture. One thing to note of this city is its very hyped up for East Asians, loads of good sushi places and multi lingual signs, I will say though never trust anyone to shape your eyebrows who has less hair on their whole body than you do on one limb....
Right so after purchasing my discounted bus ticket I'm off into the rest the of the country.
After a quick stop in Waitoma which is a tiny (and I mean tiny) little town down that has caves that have glow worms and bugs inside, you can also do many cave and water related things including tubing and rafting, I however deiced to give it a miss having no desire to spend two hours in the dark after learing about all the spiders that live in them, some of the others in the group did and said it was great fun tho.
So into Rotorua for a few nights of fun with some very cool people....
I sampled the delights of a Maori Village for the evening, I am now officially a tribe member and I think if I rock up there in need food and shelter they will give it to me for nothing which is always a good thing to know.
The evening started with a coach trip up to the village where we choise an adult male to act as our tribe leader, if you think that this is a good thing for him think again, the poor sod had to stand in the cold entrance to the village with a somber face while 4 dudes set the challenge and officially excepted the rest of us into the village, the challenge (or WERO as it is called) has much dancing, grunting noises and spear waving (similar to the thing that the all blacks do before a game), the deal is you cant laugh, smile or anything as its seen as an insult, I take my hat off to the guys that stood there while men where sticking out their tongues and grunting at them. After than we saw the village, were treated to a show and got dinner from the Hangi (earth oven), then back to the hostel for an hour of so in the Spa.
The region where Rotorua is located has geothermal activity meaning that there are lots of natural hot springs everywhere that are heated from the earth and smell of sulphur, I'm not doing it justice in my poor description but spas are good things people!
Having met a chick that was from the hostel in Auckland doing a free trip was a great thing, apart from the fact she was a cool kid to hang around with I also got loads of freebies, including two free hydro Zorb rides (lots of fun) discounted Swoop ride (being put in a sleeping bag type harness and dropped from some 40m above the ground to go back and forth 100m at 130 kmp, glad Kat had to pull the cord or I would still be sitting up there!!).
Also caught the cable car up a mountain to go on carts down the bottom, which wasnt a bad way to spend the afternoon.
In the evening we went into town to watch the rugby (Oz v's NZ) which in my current location I am pleased to say NZ won, which meant many happy people and me getting lots of free drinks and shots from the bar staff!
This is a little town that is slap bang in the middle of the North Island and is absolutely gorgeous, it has one huge lake in the centre and mountains around it and some of the nicest locals I have met in my life, a very nice lady that gave me and a friend a lift back from outside of town when we went off in search to craters.
Its also home to the cheapest and best views to skydrive from, so when in Rome eh? Attempt one for didnt go as planed, after being jump suited and harnessed up the weather got the better of us and we didnt get to jump, which was quite a relief to be honest as I wasnt mentally there that day and wouldnt stop shaking.
Day two and the weather was behind us and off I went 12,000 feet up in the smallest (and pinkest) plane I have ever seen in my life, again was pretty much bricking it but that day at least I could manage to talk. Was the 1st out of our little plane and was free falling for less than a minute before the shoot opened I got to enjoy the views while gliding above the lake, felt much safer than hand gliding despite the fact I know there is more chance of dying if it all went wrong maybe its because I was strapped to the chest of the guy and knew he liked living despite that fact he (I hope in jest) told me he was on anti depressants while we where on our way up.
I have pictures and a DVD, once I figure out how to share the DVD on line I will sort it out so you can all lip read the 1st words that came out of my mouth after being out of the plane, bet you can guess before you've even see it mind ;)
After all that excitement a group of us headed out into town to NOT come last in the put quiz, to be fair the prize was 50 bucks worth of booze but we managed with the extra credit competitions to win around 40 bucks worth of freebies although we left what little self respect we had behind, as a backpacker I have even less shame than I did before.
This is my current location and I'm only doing a quick stop over before catching the ferry over to the South Island tomorrow.
Which in essence means I've looked around the town, seen the museum that they seem to heavily promote where ever you go (I dont know why) and will be up and out before the birds tomorrow so cant really tell you much, other than I've heard its a great city to go out in as it has many bars which I will not be sampling before getting on ferry boat.
Next stop the delights of the South...