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Published: October 13th 2014
It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog, two months to be exact.
I’m still working here at the hotel and I’ve been here for 7 months now. Work is going well, I can't complain! It’s been quite busy because the ski-season is still on. We recently had two weeks of school holidays and there were a lot of families staying. I’ve been taught to do check-ins, so once a while I’d jump behind the desk to do a couple of check-ins which is a good thing for a change. Since early September I started cleaning the staff lodges too, every four days, so I don’t have to pay rent (NZ$ 95 per week). It’s really easy and doesn’t take too long to do and I’m happy with it, since it allows me to save a bit more during my last 10 weeks here. I’m also happy that I recently transferred all my savings to Curaçao, before the NZ-dollar lost a lot of value over the last couple of weeks. One NZ-dollar gives me about US$ 0.76 these days; when I transferred it was around US$ 0.84. Exchange rates are very annoying, but it’s
necessary to keep an eye on them when travelling. I had a bad experience with these exchange rates back in 2008 after working and saving in Australia; I learnt my lesson! Many colleagues left the hotel over the past 4 weeks, as the high season is nearing its end. During my 7 months here I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. Soon I’d be one of those leaving.
It’s mid-October now and the weather is changing rapidly, getting warmer these days and I’m obviously happy about that! Spring started officially on the 23rd
of September, but on the 22nd of September and the 2nd
of October we had a lot of snow down here at the hotel, which meant more business for the skifields on Mt. Ruapehu! Officially the ski-season will end around 27th
of October. The first time I went up the mountain, I went together with two front-office colleagues who were sent by the hotel. I was allowed to go along for free, which was great. We took two different chair-lifts up to around 2000m and had a drink at a café while enjoying the view. Driving up the mountain and getting there, felt
like being completely somewhere else, yet very close to the hotel!
After that day, I went twice to ski on the mountain but both times I stayed at “Happy Valley” which is the beginners’ area. The first time I went with my colleagues Ryan (UK), Brian (USA) and Ivy (China). They were all able to ski or snowboard and were to teaching me and showing me how to do it. I’ve done it only once before, indoors in the Netherlands about 10 years ago and I hated it! At first I wasn't really excited about going because I thought I’d hate it again and I was a bit afraid of falling and breaking a leg. But I don’t regret going! The first couple of times that I tried were a bit frustrating because I kept falling over, it wasn’t easy. Especially trying to stop was not simple, but after trying several times I finally did it and since then I got more confidence. I started to like skiing, but still wouldn't dare to go to the higher and more advanced areas though. The second time I went with Bryan and Ryan again but I needed no help or assistance
from them anymore. Even though the air temperature up there is around or just above freezing point, it feels very warm in the sun. But as soon as a little cloud moves in front of the sun for one minute, you’ll feel the difference immediately. All I can say is, that skiing was an awesome experience and I wouldn't mind to do it again in the future.
About two weeks ago I visited the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, south of Hamilton. The caves were a unique experience and I highly recommend it if you ever come to New Zealand. I did the black labyrinth tour. They give you get a wetsuit, footwear, helmet with a lamp and a black tube to float on the water in the cave. On three occasions you have to jump backwards off very small waterfalls inside the cave and splash on the water, falling on the tube of course. You need to hold the tube around your bum while jumping. You basically float forward through this cave system and when looking up, you can see many little lights coming from the little glowworms. It looks very surreal! It wasn’t possible to take your own
camera, even if you had a waterproof camera. The guides take several pictures with their own camera but the price the company charges to get them was ridiculous. Maybe they took around 40 pictures of the whole group and I appear on just 4 or 5 of them. I’m not paying a lot of money to get all those pictures with other people on it. To stay away from work a little longer, I decided to stay one night in Hamilton but the weather was bad and I couldn’t do anything. Besides, there wasn’t too much to see in the city anyway and the next day I had to drive back to the village.
On my days off, I’ve been a couple of times to Rotorua for two/three days. I had colleagues from Rotorua, Tom and Shyan, who would ask me to drive them there with another colleagues’ car. We all share the fuel costs which makes it way cheaper than going by bus. In Rotorua I was just hanging around with them, or going to the hostel I always stay at and hang out with the people there. I also visited Rainbow Springs, which is a beautiful
park in Rotorua. It’s like a little zoo containing a lot of bird species found in New Zealand, some of them endemic to the country. Here I finally saw the famous kiwi birds. They have a special little room where they are kept. The room is a bit dark and everyone has to be quiet in there, as the birds get stressed easily. There is glass between the people and the birds so you can’t touch them. Taking pictures was prohibited too, sadly enough but it’s understandable because you’d always have people using flash.
On other days off, I’ve been to Taupo twice together with other colleagues. We just go there for the day, do some shopping, go to the cinema and have some pizza before we drive back to the village in the evening. It’s always a good way to leave the village for some time, just chilling and spending a day together. Such days could cost you a lot of money sometimes, therefore we don’t do it too often.
During the last 12 months I’ve met many people from Curaçao through Facebook who also love travelling and exploring, others who have plans to do it
and some who are already doing it! It’s great to be an inspiration to others who want to do it too, but never had the courage or never knew how to start. Right now, there are at least three other yu’i Kòrsou’s (Curaçaoans) travelling here in New Zealand! How awesome is that? And guess what...one of them is coming to the hotel to work within 3 weeks! I have 4 weeks left at the hotel, so for one week there will be two yu’i Kòrsou’s, holding a New Zealand working holiday visa, working at the same place! It’s not something that can easily happen, coming from a country of just 155.000 people.
All right, that’s all for this time. My next blog will be at the end of my working time here at the hotel. Can’t wait to go travelling again...counting down!!
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