Camping, Caving, Zorbing, Swooping, Maoris & an Earthquake

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October 31st 2006
Published: October 31st 2006
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Kia Ora (that's Maori for hello),
Been busy since I last checked in. Made our way in our incredibly nice, easy to drive, van down to Rotorua where we've been camping in the grounds of a hostel for the last few nights. On the way we stopped in Waitomo for a night and went absailing in caves there.

While everyone else LOVED caving (including Emma who's a bigger baby than me) I HATED it! It involved absailing in the dark, crawling through tunnels of water and rock climbing in clostraphobic, wet, dark undergroundedness...and it was never-ending!!! After four hours of this and I was pretty ecstatic to see daylight!

The camp site is lovely, we have use of all the facilities including their hot pool...our first night there (after the caving) I headed straight in for a dip and good ole Emer C served me pasta and wine by the pool side. The place is proving great craic coz everyone there is so nice. That morning wasn't so great tho coz two of us woke up in a flooded tent...had been raining and windy for hours and the top cover had blown off....soaking and miserable doesn't describe it but we dried out pretty quick and off we went Zorbing..

Fun Stuff
Zorbing is basically being put in a huge hamsert ball full of water and being thrown off the top of a hill...surreal! Emma says it was like being in the womb again....upside down! Today the others all went off rapid sleighing....this involves riding the white water rapids on hand sleighs...poor Fran didn't seem to enjoy it but all the rest of them assure me it was great craic once you got past the fear. Me and Ned went to do a 'triple by-pass' while they were gone...we thought we were going for the easy option, especially when we jumped on the jet ski, thinking we were going for a tame ride around a lake...we got some land when we hit 120k's and jumped out of the water. Next we swallowed our fear and did the swoop...flew through the sky in a sack...great fun, poor Ned was terrified though. Don't know wheather I should be saying this coz I know Mam'll be reading it but I've paid a deposit on a sky dive...will let you know if I chicken out!

Maori Village
One of the best, most interesting things I'v done since I got here was the Maori Village. Ian was voted the cheif for the tourists and had to do the traditional greeting with a tribe leader. This involved him accepting a peace offering after eduring their challenge, a bit like the haka but far more aggresive this involved a load of them in full get up coming out chanting and waving dangerous objects around and popping their was crazy but so interesting, we got a tour of the village and they did a full dancing and singing show for us before feeding us Hani style...loads of good home cooked (well cooked with volcanic rock) food. Our bus driver on the way home tried to continue the whole 'merging of cultures' theme and got us to all sing Irish the last min he opted for a detour and we all nipped in to Hennesy's Irish bar for one.

There was a minor earthquake here yest....could barely feel it but as we're in Rotorua (where all the thermal springs and hissin geysers are) the place ab stank after it. Believe it or not we haven;t had a chance to see much of the geothermal phenomena yet, planning on doing that in the morning before we leave for Lake Taupo. Heading off for some pampering to the thermal spa shortly!! Well that's pretty much it, will try to upload some photos but am in a public library so not sure if it'll work. Hope you're long weekend went well and happy Halloween... PS if I don't manage to upload photies check back soon coz I will do shortly...loads of nice ones!

Additional photos below
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2nd November 2006

Crazy down under
Hi Emer, those photos look brill, you seem to be really enjoying yourself, great to see! Started my new job today in Boston and boy do they do things different here, such early starting times (what would the PD's say :) but settling in and getting on with things. Anyway just a message to say hi and to let you know that Im following your adventures down under Iain

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