Edit Blog Post
Published: February 22nd 2010
Who knew there were also sunrises...
I don't know why this photo is showing up so small, and I'm tired of caring.
Day 71: Saturday, February 6th, 2010
Paihia, New Zealand (Bay of Islands)
Per the Contiki brochure: "A day of adventure and fun. The day is yours to enjoy the overwhelming beauty of the Bay of Islands. How about a Catamaran cruise through the "Hole-in-the-Rock", maybe sail to a deserted island for lunch, perhaps travel along Ninety Mile Beach to Cape Reinga at "lands end" or just relax and have a drink with your fellow travelers."
I slept like crap all night, kept having a dream that some old man was walking around in our room. Fun! We meet up with Emmo in the wee hours of the morning and there are only about 12 of us wanting to see the service. We start the walk over to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds
and 30 minutes later we get there. There is a line of people who are waiting to go inside the "church" and many chairs set up outside. Most chairs are taken so we just join the ranks that are standing in a semi-circle at the back. Around 5:30 or 6am, the service starts and I was surprised, it was a Christian service. I expected them to be talking about and
honoring their Gods. No, those days are gone- they are mostly Christian now. So, a few psalms and speeches and hymns later (spoken first in Maori and then English), the service ends with a bagpiper playing under the Flagpole. This flagpole is infamous because it had been chopped down four times by a chief of yesteryear, Hone Heke. It was his way of saying he wasn't happy with the newcomers. I decide to walk back via the shoreline so I was on my own- and caught one of the most amazing sunrises of my life.
My excursion (Horse Trek
) wasn't until 9:30 am so I grabbed a piece of toast, told everyone else to have fun on their day cruise and went back to the room to nap. At 9:30 am, the Horse Trek truck stopped at the hotel and I hopped on and we headed off to the countryside. There were two other (non Contiki) people doing the ride as well, so a small group. It's a small business, but employs people from all over. The lady who owns it and picked us up is from France, one of our group leaders was from Scotland and the other from
the U.S. (Connecticut.) Right away they warned me that my horse, Houdini, was bad about stopping to eat. This brought back scary Colorado memories where I had a horse that did that and the wranglers told me to slap the rein across my shoulder and the sound would get him moving. However, after 20 minutes of doing this, I could feel welts on my back and I was tearing up. Someone riding behind me said it was like watching "The DaVinci Code". So, I was worried about a repeat whipping session but luckily Houdini behaved. We rode around up in the hills and after an hour I figured something out... I like horses, not necessarily riding horses. I was bored and my ass hurt. An hour later, they lead our horses into the water and they cool off. Except my horse, who was afraid of the water- went in to just below his knees and stopped. Oh well. We head back to the stalls and they drive us back into town. I walk around town, grab some lunch and arrive back at the hotel shortly before the rest of the gang. Most everyone else went out on a day cruise
and sounds like they had a ball. Except for poor Danni who fell asleep in the sun- she got quite a burn.
That evening, we head back to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, grab some food at the local vendor stands, and watch the free concert. The lady sang what I'm assuming are traditional Maori songs but then she tossed in some modern. I have now heard "Georgia on My Mind" song in Maori- and it was pretty! We stick around for about 30 minutes and then we wander back into town and back to the hotel- it was a long day for us Sunrise Service people.
Tot: 0.134s; Tpl: 0.05s; cc: 7; qc: 26; dbt: 0.0168s; 1; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.2mb