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Fasten your seatbelts it's going to be a fun ride

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Barbary from Alameda

Kiwi's come across as so very polite, I think because of their crisp accent and saying thank you so much however they have many many rules and should you dare to break one, they won't hesitate to scold you past the point of utter humiliation in front of as many people as possible for the maximum effect, all the while smiling.
One poor woman giggled a tiny bit during an announcement and the bus driver spoke to her over the microphone for a good two minutes about listening to him. He managed to say it in about 3 different ways. Not a peep out of anyone after that for quite a while.
And this morning I bought some water and started peeling the kiwi but the woman behind the counter that was to busy to hand me a knife in the first place miraculously found the time to come out from behind her busy counter to tell me that I could "not do that here" in front of a room full of people in a nice loud voice.
She got some Nancy attitude back and being a master at the rebuttal I chastised her enough so she shut right up and walked away. Cheers! (with a smile)

Heading to Tuapo today. Geothermal area.

Smoke is billowing out of rocks and pools everywhere, a nice reminder we do in fact live on a large molten ball of lava, amazing topography.

I saw a huge white tower with steam billowing out the top, NZ only geo-thermal power plant.
We arrived at the geothermal park and Maxime and I enjoyed the 1.5 hour walk around arsenic and sulfur bubbling pools. Want a quick divorce? Just send your spouse for a closer look into one of those pools.

Drove through one of the national forests. It spans from coast to coast and is quite beautiful. There is a whole industry around just keeping the forest trees properly trimmed with huge piles of branches dotting the land.
Next stop was some more adventure stuff and a honey store. Honey soap, honey cream, honey wine, honey candy, honey condoms (just kidding) although it was pretty funny when this one guy was calling out "honey" for his girlfriend and both sales girls looked up like, yes, I know there's a lot of honey here but which one do you want???

Stopped next at a bungy jump platform high above the river.

It's a gorgeous site. There were tubers and kayacking going on. The water was a gorgeous color of light turquoise. Looking at it made me feel like a junkie in need of a fix.
Finally arrived in Taupo, we (Frenchie and I) are taking the sail boat out to some immense Maori stone carvings along the water. Very much looking forward to that. Then a late dinner of fish, oops, I forgot to mention some cocktails before.
Holming said there is a much higher rate of drinking here but I wouldn't know it, everywhere we go it's dry.

OK now I took a photo of a flush button for the toilet.
I couldn't really grasp the difference between a half flush and a full flush. Well let me educate you now. A half flush, leaves half of whatever you don't want and a full flush gets rid of all of it.
That's the difference.

The sailboat is called the Barbary,

it's 52 ft long and was owned by Eroll Flynn, it's home was Alameda but most impressive of all, the sleeping cabin has mirrors on the ceiling. (3 wives and countless affairs)
Our captain was agreable and fun. Spewing facts like Ruaehu Volcano once did pumice stones and ash.
It was a calm 3 hour cruise that involved two very friendly ducks who flew on board to get some dinner.

The carvings are not old but they are of a great great grandfather of one of the Maori artists who did this 28 years ago.

Came back to town and headed to Mulligans where the crew liked to drink. Ordered a double whiskey and ginger ale, and got a 1/2 ounce for each normal full "U.S." ounce. (Erik this should remind you of our quest for a long island ice tea in London). So then I decided to try a triple but she couldn't put it in the glass. She was required by law to serve it in a shot glass but remember we only have an ounce and a half of alcohol now in a glass full of soda and that's called a triple here so I left it on the bar.

I did have a real glass bottle of coke though....

I decided that I was too grumpy and stinky to hang out with the gang so then I wandered back to the hostel. I kept seeing this one taxi go round and round and wondered if there was more than one so I tried to notice the license plate. Now this town is quiet, with wide streets, all shops closed. It felt like a small one horse town and this one lonely taxi buzzing around city blocks like a girl playing hard to get. I would have gladly flagged him to get me to the hostel since I was tired and slightly disoriented.
Got back and found they had booked me in a co-ed dorm room. I don't think so. I got upgraded to a private room with a heater right out of hell. I turned it on, went for a shower and came back to a sauna.
Made it back to "downtown" (consisting of a few bars and a burger king) and found everyone had already returned so I picked an empty bar for some peace and solitude and hopefully a strong drink. Nice kiwi bartender sympathized and gave me a normal Castro style cocktail, it hit the spot. Got some bar food and tried to ignore the drunk next to me who wouldn't leave me alone.
The bars here have ATM card swip pads just like at gas stations. Er, um, yes I'll have a beer and $20 cash back.

Back home to a nice toasty sleep in my room all alone and my double sized bed!
Off on the magic bus again. HIS PERSONAL TRANSLATOR NOW> He's sweet and my french is getting better.

Drove around the lake that is the size of Sinapore (the one we sailed yesterday) and took some photos of the Lord of the Rings volcanoes.
It's a long day of driving today, not much to see until we arrive in Wellington tonight where we plan on going for a good seafood dinner.

We made our lunch pit stop and I had a very very interesting experience. The ketchup containers here are very different and 3 of us all struggled to figure out how to open them. I was the first to find out. It sprouted like the gyser we saw the day before...all over my pink dress. Then as I ate my lamb burger with a bun the size of a loaf of bread and a patty like a silver dollar, dripping that awful mint sauce.
We heard clippers and lots of baaahhaaaaing so wandered down the path to find a shearing demonstration. Hysterical.

Bulls is a town where all the businesses have signs that play on the word.

Trans-port-a-bull = moving company
Const-a-bull = police station
Bloom-a-bull = flower shop
Bank-a-bull = bank

Man today is a long driving day. Stopped off again in a little roadside town and I'd like to say the following.
Hello, my name is Nancy and I'm addicted to Hokey Pokey ice cream.

Wellington is the San Francisco of the southern hemisphere. They in fact imported two wooden victorian homes from San Francisco as an experiment to see if the would withstand the earthquakes.
Absolutely gorgeous city!!!

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