Shop ’til You Drop, & Matt the Chief

I’m going to preface this posting by saying that I do not proofread my blog posts at all, because (a) it would take more time away from my vacation to go over my grammar and spelling than I actually want to, and (b) I’m just cool like that.

The last couple of days have been pretty busy. We’re continuing on our road trip around the North Island of New Zealand. When we left the motel on Tuesday morning, we drove straight to Rotorua which is home to some famous bubbling mud pools. The scenery on the way down was beautiful with sweeping meadows, a few rolling hills and some deep gorges. We saw many sheep and cows, and a few pukekos! ¬†We went straight to Josh’s favorite place; Starbucks! Basically all we did for the next few hours was shop, shop, shop! We visited some cool outdoor stores and a lot of clothing stores. :) For our lunch and dinner, we stopped at a historic pub called the Pig and Whistle. Josh got to test out the new camera he bought, and Matt tried red chicken curry for the first time. He sweated throughout the whole meal.

We had been trying to figure out where Louise had booked our room for the night, and it turned out to be a different place than she thought she had booked, and it was actually at Lake Rotoiti, not by Lake Rotorua. When we arrived at the bed and breakfast, it was an awesome house owned by Karl and Bernie (who Louise thought was a man the whole time she had been communicating with her, and actually turned out to be Bernadette), overlooking Lake Rotoiti. Karl and Bernie were really nice, and they provided us with a bottle of wine and some cheese, strawberries and cakes when we arrived. We walked down by the lake where they had kayaks we could use if we wanted, and chatted with some of the people down there. (We didn’t get a chance to kayak because it would be too dark, and in the morning we already had plans for something else.)

Overlooking Lake RotoitiThis morning, Wednesday the 5th, we checked out of our bed and breakfast in a rush, and drove to Hells Gate, a geothermal spa and mud pool. We got our wonderful mad bath and then took a dip in the sulphur pool. We didn’t know until after, but their water pump was out so we couldn’t shower after either! We had to get into the car all sulphury and stinky and attempt to find accommodation where we could all take a shower.

After we found a place to shower, we went downhill Luging! They take you up to the top of a mountain in a gondola, and then you ride little go cart looking things down the hill on different tracks they set up.

After luging, the boys decided they wanted to go zorbing. Basically the fill a huge blow up ball with water, and then a person gets inside the ball and they roll you down a hill. They had so much fun doing it. Of course Matt and Josh went down in the same ball. :)

They also tried a stationary type where they just spin the ball around with a motor. Again, Matt and Josh went in the same ball. :)

We also went to a traditional maori hangi at the Tamaki Village. Everyone that went to the village had to get on four different buses and they would shuttle us out there. Each bus had to choose a “chief” to represent a visiting tribe. Our bus driver chose Matt to be our group’s chief, so he had to stand up with the 3 other visiting chiefs when the maori warrior would come out and try to intimidate them. Then the warrior would choose one of the visiting chiefs to accept a peace offering (New Zealand’s silver fern) and then we could all enter the village. The warrior chose Matt again, so without breaking eye contact Matt had to pick up the fern and and back up to where he had been standing before. It was quite funny to watch Matt try and feel around on the ground for the fern leaf without breaking eye contact with the guy.

All four chiefs lining up to greet the warriors

Accepting the peace offering from the Maori warrior

Once Matt had lead all the visitors into the tribe’s village, they people would recreate different scenes from Maori life, like traditional tattooing, fighting practice, cooking, ship making etc… They also showed us the pit where they bury the food in the ground using volcanic rocks heated white hot and covered by the earth to cook the food. Matt and Josh actually met an internet marketing buddy of theirs at the Maori village too, which was really cool. It really is a small world afterall.

After we had our meal, the chiefs were taught the All Blacks haka (the war dance to scare away enemies). We also have a video of Matt doing the haka, which we’ll try to post on here later.

After the hangi we went back to the motel and Matt and Josh squashed about 500,000,000 bugs which had flown through the windows, and we watched the end of Red Dragon, and ¬†documentary about the Wahlberg brothers before went went to bed. The weird things you watch on vacation, right? :) “oh oh oooohooohhh, oh oh, ooooooohoooh. The right stuff.”

The blog posts may be a bit delayed in getting posted because we may or may not have good internet access.

Today (Thursday) we did a bunch of cool stuff, which I will write about on a different post later!

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