Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New Zealand week 2 (Feb 9, 2002)

This is another installment in the series: 'Round the world, revisited. Amy wrote this email on Feb 9, 2002 from New Zealand during our 6 month journey.

We've been here 2 weeks now and it has gone by very
fast. Brad is off fishing today leaving me to keep
you all informed.

First off - a number of you wrote to tell us that the
2 buttons on the toilet are for a half and full flush.
For the life of me I can't tell the difference of one
from the other. Some others have asked if the toilet
swirl the other way. Actually they don't seem to
swirl much at all. The water pretty much just goeas
straight down. The flushing mechanism definitely is
not as good as what we are used to.

From the Bay of Islands we travelled down to Rotorua
which is a big Maori cultural area and has lots of
thermal features. We went to a hangi which is kind of
like a Hawaiian Luau, but this was much less touristy.
We saw some traditional dances and songs and ate
traditional food. It was very good. We went to one
of the thermal areas which was neat, but nothing next
to Yellowstone. The one geyser they have they have to
puor soap into to reduce the surface tension of the
water to make it erupt.

Next we went on a proper tramp, 4 days three nights.
We went on the northern circuit in Tongariro national
park
. It is one of the "Great Walks" which are some
of the most popular walks in NZ and are best marked and
have some of the nicer huts. We stayed in huts each
night which are basically cabins with bunks in them.
They have a gas heater and gas stoves so it is pretty
cushy for the backcountry. They are not as nice as
the winter huts in Colorado though, but better than a
tent for sure. One of the days of the hike was the
Tongariro Crossing which is supposed to be the best
one day hike in NZ. The day we crossed there were 300
people on the 10 mile stretch. It was crowded, but
not too bad. There are steaming volcanic craters,
lakes that filled old craters and lakes of various
shades due to the minerals in the soil. The rocks are
also various shades from black to red to yellow.
Really cool.

On the drive to Rotorua they were having updates of
the Super Bowl along with the news. They were calling
it the game that stops America. My condolances to
Jason Holschen.
[Editor's note: if I remember correctly, Jason's team the Saints lost that Superbowl]

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