auckland & blackwater rafting

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January 20th 2009
Published: February 22nd 2009
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auckland was our last hoorah. after working the morning shift on our air new zealand flight, we got into auckland around midday. by this point we were a little road weary so we decided to turn in points to stay at a westin (yay for westins, 'cept they don't have as good comps as sheratons so yay for sheratons too) instead of going to the hostel that we booked. after a false start and crappy google directions we got to the city and our hotel and took a power nap now! (inside joke) before heading to waitomo and our glowworm cave blackwater rafting adventure!

the trip down wasn't too bad, but again it was windy unsigned roads so it wasn't all that awesome either. we rocked out to Kate Miller-Heidke (we HIGHLY suggest you look her up and get her cds!!! and Wild Marmalade too) along the way since as i mentioned before there's really not any radio here unless you are within "city limits". we of course got lost looking for the rafting place, but we did finally make it.

we were in a group of about ten people and we had to get into already wet full body wet suits that felt so disgusting and full of contagions and i started itching and felt super yucky and put on a bunch of gear. then we were packed into a muddy van that smelled of sweat, mildew and fear and driven to an undisclosed location by a stream. we were forced out, had to fit innertubes onto our asses and then asked to jump backwards from about five feet drop into the creek - the reason you had to do this was because this was how you would have to go over the waterfalls inside the caves. susan was fine with this - in fact she was the first to do it. i had come this far so i was O. K. but they pushed me backwards and huge bellyflops worth of cold ass water shot up my nose. i was strangled with fear and was NOT having it. i hopped up and let my innertube float down the stream with out me. it was really horrible. i didn't want to go on, but i was assured that i could just walk down the waterfalls and not have to go backwards and susan seemed so proud that i was doing this adventure and i didn't want to let her down so i went on ahead with the adventure. i'm naturally cold so it was really freezing to me in the caves and the water number my feet and hands immediately and i numbed my mind. i didn't really enjoy the experience except for one moment where all the people formed a human snake and our guides pulled us along a tunnel with the glow worms little specs on the cavernous ceiling above us.

I thought the blackwater rafting was great, although I was very worried about Toisha for most of it - definitely I will never force her to be more adventurous in the future! Anyhow, the glowworms were very cool - they put the lights on at the beginning so you could see these spider-like creatures and the threads coming from the magets, and that was creepy. But floating in the water and looking up at the glowworms was awesome, jumping backwards into pools was fun, and I agree with Toisha that the best part was when they pulled us (since I had picked too big a tube and it was hard for me to get it to move). The trip is highly monitored so you really aren't at risk ever - the worst that could happen is you could twist an ankle walking on the rocks in the dark. They do the rafting through the Rourke caves (or something like this), and I wish we had had times to go to the big glowworm cave that looks like a night sky. But after we were done with the cave tour, Toisha was definitely ready to go back to the hotel and I was also tired.

it was back to auckland. we were too tired to go out so we had room service and set the clock for the inauguration! yay! for history! because of the time difference we had to get up at 5am so that we could see the swearing in - i was all super anxious 'cause i new there would be hillary sightings! (totally rocked my i heart hillary shirt!) so i didn't get much sleep. we watched all the coverage until about 2pm then we headed to the victoria market (which was kinda small and really lame compared to the one in melbourne) and milled about doing some shopping. afterward we had lunch at a place named soul on the quay. they have DELICIOUS fried oysters and we can also recommend the fried zucchini flowers! the scallops were decent and it was a little bit pricey, but the location was nice, good atmosphere and pleasant staff. after lunch we rushed back to the hotel and then it was off to the airport.

as was the usual M.O. in these parts they tried to "randomly check" me. i spotted the chick eyeing me while i was in line (susan - I can confirm this as I was staring right at this white woman just standing there waiting for Toisha) and since we had be to like 8 airports and i'd been checked at 5 of them i was fed the fuck up with being profiled. so as soon as i went thru security i ignored the woman and bent over looking in my bag and tying my shoe. she gave up and had to pull someone else 'lest it look like she wasn't doing her job randomly. (Susan: this reminds me that back in Australia, I said out-loud that this white woman had picked Toisha because she was black. She was appalled and defensive, and it was a very uncomfortable moment. I can't believe that these people don't even know they are racist!)

anyhow, the flight back sucked - they served the same meal as coming here, but with nasty ass muesli as the morning cereal. PLUS the entertainment center didn't work so we couldn't watch any on demand programming, and they collected the headphones way before they needed to. there was the free booze though, so that was cool. we made it back thru the u.s. where we were greeted by an image of president bush. wait! ummm... he wasn't president anymore!!! we totally booed him and his sorry ass picture and the incompetence of our customs people - get your damn act together! he hadn't been president for a day and a half and he was voted out in nov. plenty of time to get new portaits and have 'em ready to hang at a major hub like LAX. then of course we got to customs where we got the "umm you're gay we don't acknowledge that here step away from each other and come through separately" snub at customs. despite that it was DAMN good to be back in THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

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