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Published: March 27th 2006
So I left Rotorua on Sunday afternoon and drove over to Waitomo Caves.
Here I went blackwater rafting. It really isn't rafting or even any rapids. The trip starts with a 35Meter Absail (repel) down into this cave. Then we did a flying fox ride (zip line) in the pitch black dark.
After tea, its time for the water, tubing on flatwater that is.... oh yeah and looking at glow worms back sides.
Glow Worms are very popular tourist attractions around here.
So this is what the guide imparted to us about glow worms.
1) they are really maggots of flies, but glow maggots isn't a good name for tourism.
2) the flies only eat in the maggot stage of their life. They attach themselves in these caves and drop little threads, like spider webs down. Insects then get caught on these fly paper webs because they are attracted by the light of the glow worm
3) the worms do glow like fireflies but its constant.
The glow is apparently on the ass end, you are actually looking at their waste products.
What was really neat though was that when our guide smacked the water with his tube, it creates
a vibration of air. The maggots sense this and turn up their lights thinking that food is coming.
So after the tubing, there was some swimming. We saw and eel. Then we had to climb out through somewaterfalls. Good stuff.
Oh yeah, we were strongly encouraged not to pee in our wetsuits... and I was told I could go commando but I wasn't getting a discount.
So from Waitomo I drove down to Tongariro National Park. There are 3 volcanoes here. But I didn't see much because the weather wasn't so good. What I saw was really beautiful, though it kind of looks like a moonscape. One of the volcanoes was used as Mt. Doom in Lord of the Rings.
So from Tongariro it was off to Wellington. Here I stayed a few days... more than a planned with my friend Katherine. I met Katherine last year in What Bar in Siem Reap Cambodia. I don't think she really knew what she was getting into when she answered my email and then said I could crash at her place with her an her sister.
I had originally just planned to stay Tuesday and Wednesday night, catching
the ferry to the S. Island on Thursday... but she talked me into staying for the Rugby on Friday.
Which I did. Good times, good times. So now I have a basic understanding of Rugby and Cricket. The Rugby was fun, I'll try and see some more of it if I get a chance.
The ferry ride on Saturday wasn't so much fun, but that is a function of lack of sleep and too many adult beverages.
Oh yeah, after the game, we went out... go figure.
At the bar, I/we met Tony Brown (I think that is his name). He now plays for the Sharks but used to play for the Highlanders and The All Blacks (NZ national rugby team). I think this might be a little like meeting Ron Mexico in a bar. The people I was with were exstatic. He even danced with the girls...
Ok what else about Wellington. Well it rained every day I was there. I spent one whole day in Te Papa. Its the national museum. And it was really cool. Like the Melbourne museum it has lots of different pieces of everything. Some natural history. I didn't know NZ had
so many volcanoes and earthquakes each year... really. I haven't felt any yet, but I'm hoping.
And big section on the Maori... the native people of this island. Lots of stuff on NZ also. And art also. I was here for 4 hours. That is a long time for me in a museum.
Around Wellington there was lots of different things also. I went to the Parliment house and actually got to go into the room where they debate. I can't think of the name now.
Around Te Papa there were other art type displays. One thing that they have is these sayings carved into stone and set around the city. They most interesting one I took a picture of. It says something about Wellington being the city of verb.
The other art display I looked at and took pictures of which is kind of funny. Was this display of pictures of arial photography from all over the world.
What else have I been doing. Watching lots of the commonwealth games. The U.S. wasn't invited... because we told the Queen to piss off. The Kiwis are down because they aren't winning as many metals as
they would like but I think they are doing pretty good for a small country that has less people than the city of Atlanta.
That pretty much somes up last week for me.
Oh I forgot about Rivendall. So after my Mt. Doom experience I decided to try and check out some more LOTR sites... if I could. I found a better map that had them marked on it. I also found a book, but I didn't get it. Most of the sites have already been returned to their natural state, so some don't really look like they do in the movie. Rivendall is that way. Its a park. But they have a sign commerating the filming. Pictures
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