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Shades of Canadian – NZ Update #4 – Wednesday, January 7, 2004

on March 9, 2013

This is the final installment of my Travel Babble from my 2003/04 trip to New Zealand.

Uploading my Travel Babble to a blog has been on my “to do” list for 3.5 years and I’m so grateful that The Big Blog Exchange provided the incentive I needed to get going on sharing my passion for travel.

I hope you enjoy my final NZ message. Tomorrow, I’ll post a message from a 2005 trip to Cuba.

Until then, let’s head Down Under, shall we?

Hey all,

Well, my trip is coming to a very rapid close! I’m in Wellington right now and although the weather leaves a bit to be desired (only one day of sun, one day of rain rain rain and two days of sporadic showers) I absolutely LOVE Wellington. I thought Auckland was awesome (which it is) but if I were to live in NZ, I would definitely have to choose Wellie – it’s an awesome little city (400,000 people) and the gov’t town of NZ – parliament is here. Anyway, it’s such a quaint little city, easy to get around, lots of beautiful neighbourhoods, lots of hills and greenery and very nice people.

I’m feeling a bit melancholy as I write this message – it’s what I’m doing to make the time pass before I catch my train to Auckland. I’ll be in Auckland for a day and a half and then on my way home (a very time consuming effort – I spend something like 8 hours in the LAX…yeah, exactly where I’m going to want to be after the peace and beauty of NZ!)

Since I last wrote, I spent a few days in Rotorua – the thermal/geological phenomenon capital of NZ and very smelly (sulfur smell – the potency of which depends on the direction of the wind). Overall, Rotorua was not a bad place to spend a couple of days – I’ve never seen boiling mud pools or geysers so that was cool. But, the tourism organizations in Rotorua leave MUCH to be desired. I was booked into three tours/activities and only one was on time, one was late, and the third forgot to pass on the booking info to the local office so I didn’t get to go skydiving (LJ – we’ll have to do this in Edmonton – or somewhere!) So, overall, not to impressed with tourist treatment. However, the one on-time event was the Maori Concert and Hangi (dinner) and it made the whole trip to Rotorua well worth it.

Maori culture is very interesting and there are some very awesome chants and ceremonies that were done for us as part of the cultural concert. I bought a very cool CD that is similar to the concert so some of you will be forced to listen to it 🙂

After Rotorua I spent a very long time on a train from Hamilton (1.5 hours South of Rotorua) to Wellington. The tracks get too hot and the bolts start to lose integrity so trains can only travel at 40 km/hour for safety reasons. I met an Aussie, a Pommie (termed as such by the Aussie), and a Kiwi on my train (we were all sitting in the same area). Aaron (the Aussie) started out by saying: “Hmmm, you’re a bit odd-coloured to be a Canadian…are you sure you’re from Canada?” Yeah, like I’d lie about my national identity!!! So, I had to give the misinformed Aussie guy a lesson in Canada’s multicultural background and the fact that it is a country of immigrants so there are lots of different colours and shades of people – he just didn’t get it. He couldn’t get past the idea that I just had a really good tan…hmmm, yeah, lotsa sun in Canada in December for me to tan prior to my NZ trip.

Anyway, the “Pommie” was a bit better but became increasingly annoying with every beer he consumed. The Kiwi guy was the nicest of the lot (go figure) and helped me keep my sanity around the two bumbling idiots. Nick (the Kiwi) is in the NZ Army and told me tons of stories about his army placements (not the right word but I can’t remember it). I thought NZ was mainly into peacekeeping but some of the stories Nick told me didn’t fit my idea of peacekeeping…he may have been exaggerating a bit as I finally clued in that he LIKES guns and thinks blowing up things is great fun (other than this slight difference in philosophy Nick was good company and I did try to convince him of the positives of a world without war…unsuccessful). Anyway, turned out he was one of the Orcs in the LOTR movies (no big surprise after he told me about his fascination with guns and such).

So that brings me to one of my highlights while I was in Wellie – I saw Return of the King last night at the Embassy Theatre – this is where the World Premiere of ROTK took place on December 1. I met a German girl who was here for the premiere and she had a heap of photos
with the stars and various producation people. Very cool. For all of you who put up with me going “Legolas this” and “Legolas that”, I’ve decided I like Orlando Bloom best as Legolas and he’s nothing to shout about once he’s not an Elf. Back to the Embassy – what an awesome experience – a very posh theatre, comfy comfy seats and lots of leg room (cuz I need it!) and a totally cool movie-going experience. They assign seats at the movies in many NZ theatres – kinda cool. And they sell alcohol at the theatre (Alberta just passed a similar rule so that’s why I mention it) and it was cool to see that most people were tame and only drank a glass of wine or had a beer and didn’t get too rowdy or
obnoxious. I am not sure how this has gone over at our theatres at home…anyone?

Okay, gotta go – time to head to the Railway station.

See you all soon.


Current-day P.S. If you’ve already voted for my blog, thank you very much. If you haven’t and would like to support me, you can do so here. And feel free to share my link and blog with your friends and loved ones. Thank you!


One response to “Shades of Canadian – NZ Update #4 – Wednesday, January 7, 2004

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