Friday, January 28, 2011

New Zealand day Five-Christmas day!!

December 25th 2010

Today is Christmas. What a wonderful place to be. NEW ZEALAND! It is beautiful. Our tour guide dressed like Santa Claus for most of the day. it was the best thing ever! He is so wonderful, we totally lucked out with the best tour guide ever :)
Today was more tame than the other days so far, which is great because it is Christmas. Breakfast was quick and on the bus we went. Our first stop was to go zorbing. This is where they put you in a bouncy ball full of warm water and push you down a hill.
The day was kind of cold, luckily Bryan shared is jacket with me while we waited around in our bathing suits to get into the ball. We were nervous to get wet but the water was so warm, it felt great!

Before we jumped into the bouncy ball we got a chance to get run over by the zorb...For some reason we all jumped at the chance and got in line. The zorb totally squashed me! I felt like a pancake. Once we were inside the ball, and the hole was closed off, it felt like a sauna. I tried to video tape the whole thing as we were going down the hill but it's really bouncy. It was way more fun than it looked. It was the perfect way to start Christmas, like an excited child.

This is us at the top of the hill. Ready to go!

Here are a couple videos...One is before and one is during.

Our second stop was a sheep shearing show. They have 40 million sheep in New Zealand and only 4 million people. We have 4 million people in LA. A man shaved a sheep in front of us in less than 5 minutes. I was very impressed. Some people were called on stage to milk a cow. Then Andrea and I were called on stage to have a goat milk drinking contest. We started to drink the milk and then we were told it was a joke! Then these baby lambs came out and we got to feed them with our milk bottles...That's what the milk was for! Then the sheep dogs were called out and we got a demonstration of how they round up the sheep without barking. Then the dogs started to jump on the sheep backs. They would jump from one sheep to another sheep without touching the ground. It was really funny! Bryan is my favorite kind of sheep!

Bryan and I with a sheep.
Bryan with a baby lamb. So freakin Cute!
Then we went off to the sky gondola and lough track. When we were at the top the view of the Rotorua Lake was so beautiful. We had lunch and then prepared to lough down the hill side. We got to go twice, the first one was the scenic route. Andrea and I were trying to take pictures but it was really difficult because we were going so fast. It was such a beautiful ride down the mountain. The second trip down the hill we went down the advanced route. This had jumps and ramps so you could go up the side of the banks. this was the best route. Emmo went down the hill as Santa, which was a really funny sight!

The beautiful view!

Andrea and I trying to take pictures as we went down the mountain side...

Once we checked into the hotel in Rotorua we tried to find Internet so we could skype out families. Sadly, it would have cost around 50 bucks. Internet isn't the best in New Zealand. We went to the natural hot pools instead. Bryan taught Steve how to swim. I ended up going back to the hotel to take a nap. The trip had caught up with me and I was tired and grumpy that we couldn't skype our families on Christmas.

After the nap we got ready for a traditional Hungi celebration. A Hungi is like a Hawaiian Luau. It was wonderful. We had a gift exchange called "Irish Christmas." It's the same way we play "White Elephant," where you can steal. This was all the gifts.

These were the gifts I got from the exchange. Here is Bryan and I before the Hungi dinner.

Andrea and I wore Red and Green to represent Christmas. All the food was extremely yummy, the lamb was rather dry though. Throughout New Zealand we kept tasting lamb thinking it would be the best we would ever have...We never found good lamb, it was always dry.

Then the Mauri people did their show for us. They made all these funny faces that were suppose to be scary. I couldn't' stop laughing. it was so funny! Then all the men got up on stage to learn some dance moves. Notice Bryan's 'scary' face! Then the ladies got a chance to do the same. My 'scary' face wasn't that great either.

After the show we went to the hotel bar and had some beers. It was a nice end to a wonderful Christmas day. We tried to play never had I ever but it was hard to get a good game going because everyone was a bit tired. Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Zealand Day Four!

December 24th 2010

Today is Christmas Eve! It started off early by jumping on the tour bus to get back to Auckland to pick up 5 new people, Kym, Jackie, Cris, Oliver, and Charolett. In Auckland we had lunch (indian food) and then we traveled to Waitomo. On the way we played Uno in the bus. The auzzies kept pronouncing it as was really funny!

Once in Waitomo, we quickly jumped in a van to go black water rafting. This was the activity that we were looking forward to the most. Everyone that has been on this trip raves about this activity! We had to put on wet suits and scoks and a helmet with a flashlight (or torch as they call it). We also put on thick shoes and a long sleeve wet suit jacket. The suits were soaking wet, I felt like what a wet dogs smells like. It was heavy and uncomfortable. BUT I did it with a smile on my fave, it's all part of the experience. The caves were like being in caverns but 10 times better.
The four of us all suited up for the adventure.

The whole gang!

Everyone Practicing the train formation that we would do in the caves.

Hiking down to the caves.
The glowworms were at the top of the caves, glowing green. In the cave, there were places to climb through and float through. There were also a couple places where we had to jump off a small waterfall backwards onto our tubes. The water was extremely cold but I was having so much fun I didn't notice it that much.

When we were all in the train formation, floating down the cave river, we turned off our head lights. We were all attached and staring at the green glowworms on the cave ceiling. Bryan and I started singing Christmas carols and everyone else joined in. It was a wonderful moment. It was Christmas Eve, we were in a glowworm cave with people from all over the world and we were singing Christmas Carols. It was a very peaceful moment. Shoers, bagel and tomato soup brought my blood temperature back to normal. dinner was great and then we all went to play rugby on the open grass field.
View from our hotel room

We played until the sun went down.
After the game we got dressed and went to Curley's Bar. This was a local bar in the small town of Waitomo. it was Christmas Eve so everyone was out, locals and tourists. My favorite beer was called Sassy Red. It was a dark beer that still seemed kind of light, super tasty. There was another tour group there called 'Kiwi Experience.' They challenged our tour group to a drinking match called a boat race. It's like flip cup BUT you don't have to flip a cup and each person on your team has to chug a whole beer. It was Emmo (our tour guide), Ben, me, Jackie, Sam and Bryan. We totally kicked their ass by one and half people. it was awesome.

Boat race champions!
We mixed and mingled with everyone for the rest of the night. We counted down to midnight, Christmas day. We wished everyone a Merry Christmas and off to bed we went!

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Zealand Day Three

December 23rd, 2010
I'm in love with the Bay of Islands. Today was amazing. I'm going to have to start learning some new adjectives because this trip deserves a larger vocabulary than I have. We started the morning by boarding a large boat that took us out in search of dolphins. It took us all throughout the bay of islands. I was surprised by exactly how many small islands there were. Some of the islands had one house on it...It wasn't usually to own an island there. It only cost about 5 or so million! The hope was that once we found the dolphins we would be able to swim with them. The pod of wild dolphins we found had a new baby with them. Because of this we couldn't swim with them, mommas are very protective.

This is the four of us on the boat searching for dolphins.

The dolphins were amazing. They swam alongside of the boat. They flipped and jumped. There were about 50 of them. It was a wonderful sight to see. Way better than being at Sea World. These dolphins were WILD. Sadly, the day was sprinkling on and off all day. It was also quite gloomy. We couldn't get the pictures we wanted but the experience was wonderful!

Then the boat dropped us off at one of the islands. we had lunch and then went kayaking. Saeed didn't know how to kayak so Bryan taught him. He was a pro within 10 minutes. I was really fun. The island was beautiful. It was fun to be int he clear waters of the Bay of Islands. Kayaking was one of the many things I wanted to do on this trip.

We kayaked over to a beach that was shaded by overgrown trees. It was peaceful and beautiful. It reminded me of something I would see in a movie. We wrote Bay of Islands in the sand and kayaked back to the island for some lunch.

After lunch we boarded a world cup racing sail boat. We swam in the water around the boat. It was colder than I though it would be but we swam around for a while. We got back on the boat and we sailed around the islands for 3 hours. It was completely relaxing. The contiki people sat at the front of the boat and chatted away. It was nice because even when there was 'down time' we were still learning about the rest of the world by talking to out tour mates. The sail boat, with the several small islands in the background was the perfect setting for these conversations. Of course the sailing was complete with a refreshing beer.

For dinner the group took a ferry to Russel, a small island, for some fish and chips. The island was tiny and the sunset was beautiful. The fish was super yummy. Their ketchup had a taste of clover in it. There was a small bar that had a foam party. We didn't attend but we thought it was quite funny.

Some of the ladies on the ferry going to Russel.

I tired L and P soft drink. It is New Zealands special drink. It tasted like sorbet ice cream as soda, it was very good!

Enjoying our dinner on the beach as the sun set.

The rest of the night was sat around with the group outside of our hotel rooms. We enjoyed some wine and beer and chatted about our lieves, countries and funny stories. Everyone is so nice and friendly. Many things are different and many things are the same in New Zealand. I still haven't gotten use to driving on the other side of the road.