Saved: August 10th 2012December 29th 2011
The more south I go, the more beautiful the country gets.
The girls got some sing-a-long action going on the bus today. Got to Waitomo at around 2pm. The hostel here looks like a ski lodge. Really beautiful. Shared room with Joao and Jared. Big, clean room.
At 3:30pm, went caving with Joao, Jared, the three Swedish girls, Jana, Rebekah (Germany), three Austrian guys (Gerhart, Gerald, Stephen). They didn't let me bring my GoPro b/c they didn't want me to break a leg trying to take photos or shoot videos (or bc they wanted me to buy the photos they take). Was pretty bummed out as it would've been an awesome video. We bought the photo CD but they didn't take very good photos.
Caves were beautiful. Completely dark except for little florescent green light on cave ceiling. The light is actually bioluminescent worm poop. Amazed that poop can be a thing of such beauty. We jumped backwards down little waterfalls with tubes and floated/paddled through the cave system. Our guides, Anne and Anna, were very lively and kept things fun and loose. Kept bumping into each other and the rocks. It was like bumper boats inside the
caves. The water was a little cold but we had wetsuits on. It was awesome when we turned off headlamps and laid back and looked up at the lights as we floated. Looked like a starry sky. It ended too quickly. I could've gone longer.
Got back to hostel at around 6:30pm. Simona, Sara, Katie were waiting to get picked up for their turns at caving. They had made spaghetti and had an early dinner while we were gone. They offered the leftovers to me and Joao. We decided to save it for later on when we get home from the pub drunk. Relaxed in the room and uploaded photos and checked emails. It was nice to just relax for a few hours after being on the go so much the last few days. Joao said to me, "My name is not Jerome!" Told him that's the best I can do with his name.
We got to pub at around 9:30pm. Everybody we went caving with was already there. Started drinking. Beat Jared in beer chugging once and he kept wanting to rematch me. Told him I was too bloated so I couldn't go again. I just wanted
to sip. Dude kept nagging me, to no avail. He finally got Joao to do it and beat him handily. That kind of settled him down a little bit. Got to know the Austrian guys. Fun chaps. They are actually flying home on the same day as I am. We're on the same flight from Christchurch to Auckland.
Simona, Sara, and Katie got to the pub at around 10pm after their caving trip. We all talked about coordinating our routes so we can keep traveling together. We all have different time frames but we'll probably be together on the same bus all the way to Queenstown. That's where I would have to say bye to everyone since I have the shortest time and nobody wants to go to Christchurch unless to fly out.
Jana, Simona, Rebekah, the Austrians got us started on a German tongue twister. The word means "squirrel's tail" and is impossible to say without hawking up a big fat loogie. They even had a problem with it. I taught them how to play five ten for drinks. They all thought I was around 24 and were surprised to find out I am older. Told them
it's because of the yeast in beer and tannin from wine that I drink.
Joao and the Germans said that in their country, everyone hates Americans but I'm alright. They added that I am not really American though. Guy from New Hampshire was sitting at the table at that time and took offense. He told me that since I live in America, I have to take the brunt of the stereotype of ignorant American tourists, too. I told him I don't have to because people like me. And that if I'm around people that don't like Americans, I play the Vietnamese card. He said that's not cool. I said I don't care.
The Austrians, Rebekah, Joao, Jared and I were the only ones left when the pub closed. We went to the kitchen. I took the girls' spaghetti and mixed it with the Austrians' chilli con carne and we ate it with bread. It was so delicious at that moment.
There are more photos below