Auckland and Rotorua
[Only just written. Still needs to be proof-read.]
Once we landed, I was questioned by 3 different immigration people, and all 3 had problems with my e-ticket. One of them also had problems with the concept that my ticket out of New Zealand was to a different place to the one that I'd arrived from. I also got questioned by a BioGuvna, but didn't get my boots cleaned this time.
Unfortunately, our dinner was a bit cold by the time we got back, but it was very welcome once it had been warmed up. Ecky had had lots of problems with his mother's IPod. It seems that he could copy his music onto it, but that the IPod wouldn't play it. What a load of pants! We also copied all the files from my camera to their PC, just in case I lost my camera. I obviously got a lot of abuse about Becky's driving pictures.
Ecky and I finished off the day with a few beers. I was unsure what my luggage allowance is with Emirates, so had a quick look on the 'net. Ecky wasn't impressed when I told him that divers had an extra 10kg. We also discussed why days are shorter closer to the equator (something that Becky, Tom, and I, had failed to work out), and also about freshwater seas, and saltwater lakes.
Jo had done an excellent job of packing last night, so there wasn't too much to do in the morning. Ecky had to go to get a fish feeding block, and to get some cash. He wasn't sure what to ask for, so I went to help him, and to get some cash for myself. We got what we needed from the pet shop, and walked out past the pet dogs in cages. While we drove to the cashpoint, I said that I had $100, and Ecky said that $100 should be enough, because most places accept credit cards. He then spent ages whinging about the extra fuel it cost carrying my fat arse around.
Because of his bad back, Ecky asked me to load up the roof box thing. Doing it reminded me of Prof and me loading up the top of the minibus when we went to the Red Sea (except Ecky and I were sober). After getting everything loaded, I realised that I hadn't had a shower, but didn't want to hold things up, so went without.
We left at about 11AM, and headed south. After about 45 minutes, James needed the toilet, so we stopped for lunch. I was tempted to try the ostrich burger, but decided upon the beef burger, just in case. We were served by the campest bloke I've met for ages - I think he wasn't just camp, but the whole site! He offered me a GST receipt, which confused me for a while, before I realised that GST in the Kiwis' version of VAT. I mentioned this to Ecky, and he said that I should have asked for the receipt, because I can claim back the GST when I leave. I had assumed that it was only possible to claim the tax back on things that I took back home, I didn't realise that I could claim all the tax back. Just think of the amount of money that I'd wasted over the years! Ecky's mum got some ice cream action in - I don't normally do puddings, but real chocolate ice-cream is too tempting to resist.
James wanted to go outside to play on the climbing frame. Hoping there would be some MILF to chat to, I offered to go to keep any eye on him. I wasn't disappointed - she was quite attractive, and very chatty. After about five minutes, she mentioned having a husband. I couldn't believe that I'd wasted all that time! Once her husband had "gassed up" the car (I think she meant he'd filled the car up with petrol), she disappeared. Another bird turned up, but she was a bit of a minger. Rachel came, and played as well, before we continued our journey south.
As we got close to Rotorua, the views got gradually better, until we got close to Lake Tarawira, and they were amazing. A slow camper van annoyed Ecky for a while, but it parked after about five minutes.
The holiday home was great. There was a large balcony to drink tea out on. I pointed out our totty neighbour, and Ecky had to remind me that sound travels quite well, and she had quite a big boyfriend! Ecky to his mum and me for a drive around some of the local sights, and we stopped for a lakeside pint on the way back. The slow camper van was there, and it turned out that the owners were German. I successfully avoided shouting "Schnell", and "Achtung Spitfire", but didn't manage to avoid pointing out that the lake wasn't very deep, because it was only half-way up the ducks! We also discussed neeps and spring tides, but I still failed to figure out exactly why spring tides occur.
We got back, and Jo had Dirty Dancing on in the background. I commented that I'd never seen it before, and Ecky told me, "Rob, don't go over to the dark side", so I didn't watch it, and suggested a game of backgammon. Ecky suggested Scrabble instead, so we could all play.
Jo didn't fancy playing, but stayed around to try to make sure that Ecky didn't cheat. We left Dirty Dancing on in the background, and I discovered that "Wey Baby" was on the soundtrack. I stupidly ended up with a Q, when all the Us had been played. Ecky was allowed OK (because it was in the dictionary), but we didn't let him get away with oi. Both Ecky and his mum could see where I could play the Q, but I gave up in the end. It turned out that there suggestions were IQ, and QM. I pointed out that they were abbreviations, and therefore not allowed. They said that because there were in the dictionary, there were allowed. Unfortunately, the dictionary didn't state that they were abbreviations. Still, they were kind, and let me have the 18 points (I still came last though!).
We didn't have any immediate plans for the morning, so Ecky got the BBQ going for a bit of bacon action. Yesterday, he asked me how deep I could dive to, so, while he was cooking, I worked out how deep normoxic trimix could be used down to. I started explaining it to him, but he was concentrating too hard on cooking to listen to me whittering on. Instead, I started looking through some tourist details, and found out that there is an airport in town. I'd already booked a coach ticket, but it left at 08:20, so I quite fancied getting a later flight.
After finishing breakfast, we drove into town to visit the tourist information office. As we arrived into town, we got into a mobile reception area, and I got two text messages (one from Bird saying that she's OK, and one from Becky saying that she'd been for dinner at the Big Prawn). The main reason for the visit was to sort out Ecky's mum's excursion from Auckland. We went to the tourist information, while Ecky and Jo went to park the car. We were served by a very sexy woman, but I left Ecky and his mum to it when Ecky arrived, and went to chat to another woman (also totty) about flights to Auckland. It cost $105, and left at about half-one. Seemed like a much better deal - could do some things before flying out, and not have to rush around first thing in the morning. I checked it was OK, and booked it with the first totty. She was going to take a lunchbreak after serving me, but I decided against offering to buy her dinner (she was wearing a wedding ring, and I wasn't in News Zealand to pull Kiwi totty). While we were there, the kids picked up some leaflets about the Duck Tours (like I did with Bird a few years ago).
After that, we went shopping. Jo and Ecky's mum went to do the shopping, leaving the kids in the car with Ecky, and me. We turned the car into disco car, and started dancing to Bee Gees tracks. Ecky then realised that he needed petrol, but I suggested waiting until the women had got the 4 cents off per litre voucher. He hated it, but he had to agree that I'd had a good idea!
We went back to the holiday home, had a quick bite to eat, and then went for a walk to the Tarawira Falls. We took a boat ride over to the other side of the lake. The water taxi driver was friendly, and even gave us a map of where we were walking. He said he'd pick us up in about 4 hours. It was supposed to be a 3km walk there, so we didn't expect it to take anywhere near that long. We walked along the river, past a swimming area, past some falls, until the river disappeared into the ground. We then continued walking to the edge of a cliff, and then walked down the cliff. When we got to the bottom, we suddenly saw the river cascading out of the cliff face, and into a wonderful waterfall. There were a few lazy gimmers who had driven for two hours to see the waterfall, but most people had walked our way.
The journey back was quite tiring, but there was some nice totty (some wearing bikinis) walking the other way for me to perve at. We got back to the quay with about 15 minutes to spare, so Ecky and Jo went paddling in the water until the water taxi bloke arrived. When we got back to land, assuming that we could pay in the office, I asked whether we could pay with credit cars. I then got abuse from Ecky and the water taxi driver because there was no chance of having an EFTPOS terminal on the boat.
Despite being knackered on the boat ride back, I was awake enough to do the BBQ when we got back. Ecky's mum offered me a drink, and I controversially wanted a cup of tea to drink while I was doing the BBQ! After the BBQ, I continued updating my blog while the others watched 13 coming on 30. I then fell asleep reading the instructions for my camera.
We had to leave on time, because we were going to see the Lady Knox Geyser, which erupts daily at 10:15. Having not filled up with petrol yesterday, we had to fill up with petrol this morning, before going to the Geyser. Ecky got very frustrated at the petrol pump. First of all, he couldn't figure out how to use the 4 cents off voucher. Secondly, the some gimmer had taken all the automatic pump things off. After getting help from a helpful woman, we had a full tank of petrol, and off we went. A slow lorry delayed our arrival even more, but we got there in time.
We walked from the car park to the mini amphitheatre, and found some seats. At about 10:15, a bloke turned up, gave a quick talk about the geyser, threw some soap into the geyser, and then walked away fairly quickly. Soon afterwards, the geyser started erupting. It was a very impressive sight - water shooting several metres into the air. As Ecky was taking my picture in front of the geyser, James suddenly got into the picture. I had to smile - the number of times that I've jumped into other people's pictures, it's only fair that somebody jumps into my picture.
Once people towards the front had gone, we walked forwards to get a better view. As I was standing there, I noticed a bloke walk forward, ignoring the fact that his wife wanted a hand. Being the nice gentlemen that I am, I obviously offered her a hand! I'm sure she wanted a bit of Dickson Love Train action!
Jo, James, Rachel, and I then spent a few hours wandering around Wai-O-Tapu. It was amazing - parts even deserved the over-used term "awesome". I can't describe all the impressive things we saw, or even decide which was the most impressive, all I can do is suggest that you look at my pictures when I put them up on the web. The kids did really well on what was quite a long walk. Half-way around, I realised that having kids was brilliant - not only could I chat to MILF (as I did on Saturday), but almost every single woman who walked past looked and smiled. Borrowing kids is the way forward!
We then joined Ecky and his mum for a bite to eat, before going to the mud pool. While we were eating, Ecky's mum suggested going to visit a Moari village. There was a choice between 5 o'clock, 6 o'clock, and 7 o'clock. The only slot still available was the 5 o'clock slot, which involved being collected at 4 o'clock. It was a bit early, but it was either that, or not going at all. The mud pool was also very impressive (and free). As I said to Ecky and Jo - "bring on the women and bikinis". When I get around to publishing them, it will be worth having a look at my holiday pictures.
We had a quick cuppa, and I got changed into a shirt and posh trousers (I had to wear the trousers at least once during my trip), before we headed back out (thanks to Jo for looking after the kids while we went out). We got collected by minibus, and dropped off at the offices in town. We then had to pay, and wait for the main coaches to take us to the Maori village. Once we sat down, I read the leaflet that we'd been given, and found that each coach needed a leader. I told Ecky that I'd found a job for him, but he disagreed and said that I was the man for the job. He then fell asleep, and slept until he woke himself up by snoring too loudly! Poor lad - he wasn't sleeping very well because he hasn't found the bed very comfortable.
There was a bit of confusion about which bus we should go on, but we got there eventually. Our driver was quite entertaining, and told us that our leader needed to be strong, intelligent, and handsome. He then said that a guy called Bret had been nominated by his mates. I was so glad that Ecky had fallen asleep earlier on! There were two English totty on the seat in front, but I don't remember there being much other totty.
It took about half-an-hour to get to the Tamaki Maori Village (www.maoriculture.co.nz). First off all, we were greeted by a tribal war/welcome dance, then we got to look around the village, seeing some games, some cooking, and some weapon usage. We were then called to move towards a large building, and were greeted by the Hakka. Unfortunately, we were a bit slow, so were at the back of the crowd, so didn't get a very good view. We then went inside, and were treated to some excellent dancing and singing, and another Hakka. Despite there only being a few warriors, it was still quite scary.
The next part of the trip was having dinner. It was a self-serve buffet. I ended up sitting next to a South African bird, who is working in England, and travelling Australia, and New Zealand. Not exactly totty, but nice enough! Unfortunately, the English totty were sitting on the next table. The woman sitting opposite me seemed to love talking, to I just ate, drank, and listened to her whittering on! Ecky was driving, and his mum didn't like the wine, so I ended up drinking about two-thirds of the bottle!
After pudding (for someone who doesn't have puddings, I've had quite a few this trip), they announced that there was going to be a demonstration of Maori cooking, so outside I went (with my glass of wine, of course). The South African bird went out at the same time, so I thought it was time to turn on the Dickson Charm. Unfortunately, she didn't seem that interested in the cooking, so I didn't have time to chat her up. After that, I had a quick look in the gift shop, and bought Bird a T-shirt (I hope I got the size right, or I'll never hear the last of it).
On the bus on the way back, our driver told us that we had to provide the entertainment, and that the English had to start. The English totty suggested either "Show me the way to go home" or "My Old Man's a Dustman", and we agreed on the former. All the other nationalities had their turn at singing, but didn't get close to matching our rendition (although the Aussies did quite well with Waltzing Matilda). There weren't any Swedes on the bus, but we all had a bit of ABBA action anyway.
When we got back, the kids had gone to bed, and Jo was finishing a jigsaw puzzle, with "What Women Want" on in the background. The jigsaw looked far too difficult for me, so I just continued updating my trip report, and went to sleep. Just as I was going to sleep, some gimmers started setting off fireworks. It woke everyone else up, but I managed to get to sleep without a problem. I'm beginning to realise how lucky I am being able to sleep anywhere, and any time.
We were going to do on some downhill carting thing (sorry, I can't remember what it's called), but the weather looked a bit cloudy, so we decided to go to a wildlife park instead. We started off with the lions, and then saw fish, birds, walabees, emus, lamas, deer, and sheep. Despite the rain, it was a nice morning out. I didn't really enjoy it as much as I should have done, because I was sad to be coming to the end of my trip.
After our trip to the zoo, Ecky and Jo dropped me off at Rotorua airport for my flight to Auckland. It consisted of a car park, one building, and a runway. I suppose at least in wasn't a grass runway. After saying my good-byes, I went to check in.
I then flew back to England.
Created on: 14 Jan 2007. Modified on: 14 Jan 2007.
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