Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Time for the update I have been putting off.

I can procrastinate with the best of them, I am sure there is someone out there who has been putting of sending in things but I am the pot calling the kettle black.

So When I left Coromandel the drive along the Pacific Coast Highway was great. Once I got about 70k south of Coromandel the views got bland. I was going back and forth in my head about the fact I could be in Ireland or Vermont with only the palm trees giving it away. I had only driven for a few hours when I reached Lake Rotorua. The town was bigger than I thought it was going to be. I have trying to find a 77mm UV/Haze filter to protect my new 17-35mm lens I still can't get enough of. So every big town I check the local photog shops in hopes they have this rather large, non-standard size filter. I stop by the local Info stand and ask about hotels in the area. They set me up with a nice new place called IBIS, it's part of a chain, like the comfort inn's. This one was second from the bottom but still very nice. I small room yes but very clean less than 2 months old. I looked out the window and the Pizza Hut glowed just behind the hotel. I was drawn in like the Millinium Falcon to the death star. It was nice to get a thin crust pepperoni that tasted like home. OK, I was going to hold off about this but I can't. The food, well it, it sucks. Or at least 90% of the non fast food I have eaten. For example I wanted a cheese burger with lettuce and mayo and a side order of fries. The burger comes to me and I see they have put tomato on it, I leave it because it looks good, not a hot house but fresh. Well what I miss the the so called ketchup or tomato sauce, it's not the same. Next it had carrot shavings mixed in with the iceberg, a hugh no no. The topper was the meat was infused with onion, like a White Castle slider. Not a great taste when you are not expecting it and hate onions. But enough of my food rant, I could go on but I will save that for a later time if needed.

So back to Rotorua. I find out about changing my ferry crossing (now changed for the third time due to the gimp) and where the photog shop are. I leave the shops for the morning and check in and chill out. The weather has turn and it is now rain so I stay in for the night and watch some TV and try and catch up on the news. The next morning I head into town after checking out and go to both photog shops and strike out at both. I then head for Lake Taupo just a short 90k down the road. The trip was quick and boring. The lake is very large, the largest in New Zealand. It is loaded with trout. I find the info center and look into what the area has to offer. I made my way out of town a few k to Huka Falls, it was not a huge drop, only about 20 feet but the color blue water and the shear volume that go over every second is amazing. The sign said it is like draining 2 olympic size pools in a second. The other place I checked out was a place knows as "craters on the moon". It is an area around 50 acres with small steam vents, most small bowl shaped depressions about 1 to 2 feet deep. Small where huge, 30 foot diameter. I walked around for about 45 min and took a bunch of photos. The light was not great but I hope it will give the shots a more haunting feel. I then checked into the Chlemswood motel just outside of the town of Lake Taupo. It was a good room for the money but a joint who's prime was the early 70's. But I meet a nice lady, Chrissy, who now live in Oklahoma. Her husband runs an ARCA series car. This the class below the Busch series in Nascar. She and I talked for about 2 hours about my trip and things I should do. She was very helpful with ideas of places to see and places to avoid. That night I go back into town to grab some diner. The choices were limited so I went to Hell. Hell Pizza, it is a small chain down here. It wasn't bad but the Kiwis are big on putting sauce onto pof pizza, not more pizza sauce but BBQ sauce for one. I will leave it at that I don't want to get that rant going. The pizza was not bad, I talked with Chrissy and her husband and sister in law, who I think owns the motel. Very nice people to chat with. Turned in early.

The next morning I go in to town to check email and grab a bite to eat. On the way out of town I see a hitchhiker with a sign for the town of National Park. He jumps in and I ask him to show me on the map where we are going. The road will take me on the backside of the mountains I was going to see but the back side will be nice also. His name is Dermitt and he is a 28 year old from Cork, Ireland. For the next two hours he talked about his trip and places he has been. He got here in late October and has been traveling all over the two islands. We talk about Ireland and my love for the place. We stopped and took some photos along the way of the mountains, still snow covered in the heat of summer. The tallest is 2797 meters or around 9000 feet. I drop him off at the hostel and keep heading south. There are only a few places I stopped for photos but the ones I got are good. As I keep heading south I am looking for a nice place to stay for the night. As the day drags into afternoon I decide to make it to Wellington for the next few days.

I found a great place to stay for the next two days. Little did I know 2 would turn into 4. The first night I went walking around the area but didn't see many resturants so I headed back to the hotel for dinner there. I had a good steak and cheesecake. The next morning I got up and made some calls home to check in with the parents. After that I went up the cable car to the Botanical Gardens and Obsevatory. I went to the obsevatory for a lesson on the southern starts. I now know how to find the southern cross. When I got out it was drizzing so I headed back to the hotel and watched some tennis from the Aussy Open. Later that night I hopped a cab down into the city where the restuants and bars are. I walked around trying to see what grabbed my fancy. After an hour walking around I grabed a six inch sub from subway, I know but the luck I have had with the food here I get very particular about what I eat. I head back to the hotel and catch a movie before bed. I woke up around 1:30 with a pain in the big toe. I know that this means I need advil quickly and I may catch the gout before it gets out of hand. I take a sleeping pill so I will get a good rest and not toss and turn because of the pain. I awoke to the pain I had been able to stay away from lately. My toe was killing me. The sleeping pill did it's job becuase I was able to sleep until 7:45 am. I go to the front desk and ask about a doctor. They tell me that it is a holiday and the only place was a afterhours doc in the box place a few minutes down the road. So I go and hang out there for a while before they see me. I explain everything to the doctor and tell her what I take back home when this happens. She writes me my scripts and I fill them next door and get back to the hotel for an interesting day of pain meds and a pill that cleans me out, so to speak. Need less to say yesterday was spent in the room with my foot up most of the day.

Today is better but not great. I am able to move around more today and don't feel the need to keep it elevated. Thus giving me time to finish this. The plan for the rest of the day will be spent checking out the next few days travel. I leave for the south island tomorrow at 3:30pm. So until I write again, later.

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