Hello my dear travelers. Wherever you are, I hope it’s cooler than here. It’s a nice and toasty 26 degrees here in Matamata, with just a touch of humidity. (For my American readers that’s about 78.8 in Fahrenheit.) This is one of a handful of days that has made me miss the winter weather currently taking place in my hometown.
Even though the heat is making my brain turn into soup, I’m going to forge ahead with this blog as there are things that have happened I want to share with you all!
Yesterday my friend and I took a trip down to Taupo. You all remember Taupo, I’m sure. I was there back in November during my month long hiatus. This trip was shorter and a bit more enjoyable because I had someone to explore with. The first stop for Blair and me was the Craters of the Moon. It is one of many geothermal areas in New Zealand. A short walking track takes you through the hissing steam vents and gurgling mud pits scattered amongst the bush.
This maybe wasn’t the best activity to do on an already hot day. Anytime you got too close to one of the vents the wind would invariably shift and send a thick cloud of steam at you, making your skin feel even damper and stickier than two seconds before. But the two of us toughed it out and amused ourselves by doing very bad David Attenborough impressions.
See Blair’s impression here. See mine here. I’ll let you decide whose is better (or worse).
After our jaunt around the moon we headed into Taupo proper and met up with Dave. We were just in time to go out for the 4:30 sail. The boat was still making its way back into the harbor when we pulled into the carpark so we decided to pop over to Countdown and pick up a few things for the trip. When we got back, people had already begun to gather in front of berth 31 and we immediately struck up a conversation with them while we waited to climb on board.
It was a lively group of Germans, Australians, and Americans, with Blair as the only native (and Dave of course, but he’s the captain). The whole trip out was spent talking and eating and making jokes. It was the first time I’d been out on the yacht and didn’t freeze my ass off. A rather nice change of pace.
Once we were by the carvings, my hat was flung unceremoniously from the boat after I offended Dave by hanging it on his steering wheel. It landed with a soft clatter on the rocks and then I was told to be off and fetch it. Well, there was no way I was leaving my Hobbit hat behind. With no togs to speak of (that’s what they call a swimsuit here) I emptied my pockets, stripped off my shirt and jumped in.
The water was colder than I expected, so when I reached the surface, my breaths came in uneven gasps. But I kept on swimming and was soon pulling myself up the slimy rocks next to the carvings. We spent several minutes swimming by the carvings then climbed, dripping, back on board to settle into beanbags and enjoy a nice drink on the trip home.
Dave had one more trip to make so Blair and I left him to it and went off to have a drink at Mulligan’s. Lucky for us it was also free pool night. We shot a few games while sipping our drinks and munching on chips. I got into the true Kiwi spirit while we played. Some douchenozzle had left their gum on the floor, which of course I had to step in. When I couldn’t satisfactorily clean it from my shoe with a tissue I decided to say, ‘fuck shoes!’ and went bare foot for a spell.
With another half hour or so to kill before Dave was back in, we left the bar and took a walk down to the water. The sun was all but set when we sat down on a bench overlooking the lake.
When it was well a truly dark we got up and made the short walk back to Mulligan’s and found Dave and his two crew members already sitting down to drinks. We pulled up some bar stools and spent the next couple hours spinning yarns and sharing a few good laughs. When midnight rolled around, it was time for everyone to head home.
The trip to Taupo was a grand success. Now before I leave you, travelers, a few more random bits. First, I had my first successful hair cut outside of the States (this is only significant because I’ve been having my hair cut by the same person for years). Also, in the game of Leg vs. Chalkboard Sign, Chalkboard Sign definitely wins. Also, being stopped on the road by farm animals was bound to happen eventually, and now it has.
Stay safe, fellow travelers! I’ll chat with you again soon.