Another 6 Weeks in Taupo

Trip Start Nov 15, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Friday, March 22, 2013

OK, so it's been well over a month since Amy last blogged - Work has been rather busy and we're trying not to write them too often while we're not moving around so that you (and us) don't get bored with us writing the same old crap every time! ...Monday, we woke up, got out of bed, brushed our teeth, went to work, blah blah blah... Suffice to say that we're working quite a lot and some days are less eventful than others. So basically I'll try and keep to just the interesting bits (well the bits we found interesting anyway!).

Waitagni Day:

So, on February the 6th 1840 a somewhat controversial treaty was signed by both European and Maori officials putting an end to fighting and agreeing on what would happen regarding land ownership etc. from then on ...the controversy arises from the fact that the English and Maori versions of the treaty didn't quite match up, but you can read more on that on Wikipedia if you want... As a result of this February 6th is now a public holiday where celebrations are held to commemorate what happened all those years ago. Amy and I headed down to the local park where they had set up a stage with a few local Maori musicians and loads of stalls offering various Maori arts, crafts and foods. We enjoyed some Candyfloss and traditional Hangi, Amy even ate some of the pork (now might be the time to mention that Amy is trying to become comfortable eating meat so that when we're in the arse-end of Asia and the only thing on the menu is dog meat and unicorn blood she wont starve!).

Huka Falls Jet:

Later that afternoon we got Melodie to work her infinite magic and book us onto the Huka Falls Jet (similar to the Rapids Jet that Cory and I went on before Christmas) for free. The ride was rather exhilarating as the, very skilled, driver got us pretty darn close to the cliffs, rocks and trees at rather alarming speed! We rode up and got a unique view of Huka Falls from the water below before shooting back to the exit - doing many 360 spins and getting rather wet on the way.


One rather clear evening Amy and I dragged our bed out of the boat shed, put on some music and lay underneath the night sky stargazing. As I've said before I now have one of these fancy phones so I downloaded an app that shows us all the constellations which was pretty cool, something I do find mildly comical is that in the southern hemisphere Orion stands on his head!

Cory's Parents:

The next evening we met Cory's parents who were over here from Colorado for a holiday ...It wasn't long before we saw where Cory gets his infinite energy and competitiveness from! We all hung out on the lake front eating fish & chips and playing Frisbee before heading off to the Mousetrap (a pub) to finally use the free drink vouchers Amy and I got with our skydive. After the drinks we all headed home but not before Cory's parents gave us our Vibram 5 fingers that we had ordered from america (Thanks Rick and Gina!).

One evening after a hard days work Amy, Cory, Rick, Gina and I all headed out to Tacotaco, a Mexican restaurant in town ...Now being that Cory's dad is actually Mexican we found out that our idea (and apparently New Zealand's too) of what Mexican food is is not quite right and the only advice given was to actually go to Mexico and eat their food!

Huka Prawn Park:

On a quiet day Amy and I headed over to Huka Prawn Park for a bit of a tour and a relaxing afternoon. We were guided around the 'sprawning' pools being told how they breed, feed and care for the prawns, we even got to feed baby prawns odd sensations I must admit, it's like having lots of tiny prickly bushes climbing over your hands. We then collected our rods and Ox heart (Yum!) and did some fishing. Now I'm not sure but I'm going to say that Amy and I are not really 'naturals' when it comes to prawn fishing ...after 3 hours we had 2 prawns! Maybe not quite enough to feed a family... The prawn farm provide cooking facilities and instructions on how to cook, peel and eat your prawns and much to my surprise it didn't take much, if any, convincing to persuade Amy to eat one! Even more to my surprise Amy actually enjoyed the prawn and as a result there is currently a bag of them in the freezer ready to have with tonight's curry!


So one day we took Lily into the garage to get a service and general check over. When I went to pick her up at the end of the day the mechanics had some interesting news, now we already knew her head gasket may be going so it wasn't much of a shock when he told me it was on it's way out. The thing that did surprise/annoy me was the fact that the previous owners also knew this and had subsequently put in some horrible gunge stuff that can temporarily block the hole ...along with the radiator and hoses if you're lucky! Now, the thing that really gets me is that as now it has this stuff in it means that the insurance company knows that this was a pre-existing fault with the car and therefore will not shell out to replace the thing, joy! So thank you previous owners not only for selling us a buggered car but also ensuring that we'll have to shell out a shed load of cash (about $2500) if we want to fix it! ...I hope karma comes and kicks you in the privates!

Having said that there is some hope at the moment as Ian's (Rapid Sensation's owner) brother Neil, who happens to be handy with a spanner, has just moved here from the states and is free at the moment, as a result he's offered to take a look and hopefully take Lily apart and put her back together again meaning we'll only have to pay for parts and machining costs (about $500) hopefully that will all work out fine...!

Fred Turner:

So one quiet Friday morning I'm told there's a lake trip for "some people who are here with the Taupo summer concert", naturally I assumed this would be a couple of roadies or something. After some confusion about where to meet I found my customers (A couple in their 50's/60's) down by the harbor, they hopped on and I thought "they look a little old to be roadies" so I tentatively asked what they where here for ...the response I got was "Well I'm Fred Turner of Bachman & Turner and this is my partner Donna"!!! Needless to say there was an initial jaw on the floor moment followed by a massive exercise in self control not to comment on how they "aint seen n-n-n-nothin' yet".

With the exception of me being a bit star struck and constantly telling myself to 'act normal' the trip carried on like any other, that was until we got back in the van and Fred asked if Amy and I would like to go to the gig as he could get us in for free and possibly even back stage! ...After another brief jaw-on-floor moment I lost all self control and finally turned into the blithering idiot I had been trying not to be all trip accepting his offer, giving thanks and talking all around gibberish...different gibberish than normal anyway...

The next day Amy and I both had work in the morning so we headed off to the gig about 2 o'clock (Bachman & Turner were on at 3). There wasn't a problem getting in (after we found the right person to talk to anyway) and we headed over to the stage to get a good spot for the gig. I have to say, while I knew who Bachman Turner Overdrive were I never really got into them and subsequently have not really been a big fan. Well after the show they put on I most definitely am a fan now, those guys can really play ...especially when you consider they're almost 70!

After B&T we watched Pat Benatar who put on a good show but was a bit 'pop-rock' for our taste. When she finished Amy and I thought we'd try our hand at getting backstage however the security guard was a bit of a jobsworth and thought we were having him on, as a result he didn't actually try to check with anyone to see if we could go backstage. Never-mind, it was still an epic turn of events!

Larissa's Do:

The next evening we headed over to Larissa and Kendall's new house, a house just out of town that they've nicknamed 'Nana cottage'. As a result of this name it was mandatory for everyone to dress up in drag as old people ...apparently I looked disturbingly convincing as a woman... Larry and Kenny had bought a pack of meter long straws and so I posed the question 'would it work if we made a super long straw from all the meter long straws?' ...Cain and I headed to the garden armed with straws, tape and alcohol to see if it was possible. After about half an hour we had finished our masterpiece and with gravity helping (we built it on a hill) I poured in the drink ...five minutes later a rather red-faced Cain got his first sip of drink, five minutes after that he'd finished the drink! We concluded that while it was possible to drink from a straw that long it's a bit more effort that it's worth!

Later that evening we got to playing guitar (I'd been missing mine quite a bit) and I taught Kendall a few things and as a result we agreed that we would trade guitar lessons for showers - a fair deal me-thinks!


One evening that I had a trip out to the carvings I noticed while we were stopped on the beach that a bug must've had a bit of a fun time on my leg, it felt like I had a couple of bites and, naturally, they itched a bit. By the time we finished I got into the van and thought "wow, the f*ckers really did get me!" as I had a few bites now on both legs. On the way home we swung by the Chippy and grabbed some food and I was really starting to feel it, my thighs itched like buggery. We got back to base, had dinner and cleared up after the trip, it was now that I actually looked at my legs and noticed that the bites were in fact not bites at all, I was covered in blotchy red welts that now itched beyond reason! Dr Cory diagnosed me with Hives "Yeah man, they're definitely Hives, I've had them before, they suck ass, I'd hate to be you right now" ...cheers for the sympathy buddy!

After an evening of really appreciating just how silky the lining on my sleeping bag is I got up in the morning, looked at my legs and the only trace I'd had anything was a little red mark where I'd scratched the first ones that popped up!

The Dump:

A couple of days later we got a message from Larissa telling us that her and Kendall had been to the local dump to pick up some cheap bits for their house. Apparently they had quite a successful trip getting furniture and bits but they also found me an acoustic guitar! Naturally we headed to theirs that evening, the guitar only had 4 strings, a missing bridge nut and was a little tatty but for $5 you can't grumble.

The next day I headed into town and grabbed some strings, a new nut and some other bits and I spent the afternoon fixing her up (her name is Valerie by the way). By about 2pm I had a fully functional, good sounding guitar! ...This has to be one of the most epic presents I've received.
All this got me thinking about the dump and the fact that in the office we only have hard office chairs to relax on in the evening. so I headed down to the dump to see what they had in the way of sofas. When I got there there were a few old tatty things but the one that caught my eye was also a little sofa bed ...could be useful for when the nights start getting a bit colder... I spoke to the attendant and asked how much, "dunno, how much you got?", "I've 15 dollars cash", "done"! And that was that really, I packed the sofa in the van, took it back to base and it happens to fit rather perfectly into the gap in the office.

So now with my own guitar and our own sofa the office really is starting to feel like home...

Rumple Minze...:

"What is Rumple Minze?" I hear you asking... Rumple Minze is an alcoholic beverage this is sold in the states, brought over by Cory's parents and drunk by us. It's a peppermint schnapps that happens to be very smooth and tasty - not like most of them, others I've tried just taste like mouthwash! One evening Amy, Cory and I had a little bit much of the stuff (easily done as it's one of those drinks you have to keep reminding yourself is alcoholic) and some of the resulting drunken antics can be seen on the video link below:

Day Off:

Last week, for the first time in about 4 weeks, Amy and I had a day off together. We took the chance to first go to one of the local parks and practice the orienteering course ready for when Amy had to run it for a school group we had a couple of days later. The course is set in the Spa Thermal Reserve which happens to be a rather pretty park that runs along side the river and down to the hot springs we stop at on our river trips. Amy did very well at navigating and map reading, especially when compared to what she was like a few years ago ...I think she must have had a very good teacher! On the way round we came across a pole, now Amy hasn't done any pole fitness since we left and was suddenly very excited, she jumped up and started kicking out all her moves - giant Cheshire cat smile stuck to her face the whole time.

We moved on to check out some of the touristy photo ops there are around town (we had to do them at some point). We drove out to Acacia Bay and sat on the random chair (we think it may be something to do the the L'Art cafe up the road but we're not sure) and then drove to the top of the hill and climbed the giant bicycle.

The afternoon was spent at Larissa's house where she let us take Chief, their new horse, out for a walk.


It's 5am, Amy and I are sleeping peacefully when an oddly familiar squeaking sound starts coming from outside; "You hear that?" I say, "Yes, what is it?", "I don't know, it kind of sounds like a cat..." and into our shed totters a little cat that jumps on our bed and starts demanding attention like we've known it for years! Now bare in mind that we live in the shed at work which is a little out of town and a good 3/4km from the nearest residential streets, "I am awake right now aren't I? This isn't a dream?" I ask Amy who assures me this is real.

My first thoughts are ones of "better not get too close as this is probably a feral cat that'll be infested with fleas" but as I wake a little I notice this cat is in fact a little kitten, "oh no, it must've been dumped by someone", I wake up a little more and notice that it's fur is way too neat and soft for a cat that has not been looked after. The kitten spends the rest of the night on our bed making sure, as all young kittens do, that we don't get a great deal of sleep.

At around 7am I get up to get ready for a trip and I get a better look at the kitty, he has beautiful grey fur and could only be about 6 months old, also, he's definitely a boy. He follows me around getting under my feet as I get ready for my trip and I figure he must be hungry so I grab him some ham and a bowl of milk and let him have some breakfast. I had about 20 minutes free before I had to leave for my trip so I hopped on the computer to check the weather, emails, Facebook etc. and (after thoroughly exploring the office) he jumps onto my lap and falls asleep. When it was time to go I lead him back into the shed where Amy was still in bed and then headed off for the day - I was thinking of various ways that it would be practical to keep a kitten whilst travelling, while I came up with many imaginative options none of them were really practical.

When Amy got up she headed onto the internet to start looking for lost pet sites where we might find who this friendly cat's owners are, it didn't take long and on the second site she looked at she found a picture of our cat with all the normal contact details. When Amy called the owners (A young family) it quickly became apparent that, while he'd only been missing a day and a half, this little kitty had had quite the epic adventure as it's home was over 8kms away! Needless to say the family were over the moon to get their cat 'Toodles' (yes I cringed when I heard the name too, Amy thought he should be named Sambuca whereas after the epic journey I thought he should be named Ngatoro - after the legendary navigator that guided the Maori to NZ) back safe and sound. In fact they were so thankful that a couple of days later they dropped off a mahoosive 'Thank You' cake - the last piece of which is sat on the side next to me and I may have to eat any minute now...

Mulligans Quiz Night:

Every Tuesday night the local Irish pub Mulligans hosts a quiz and last Tuesday Amy, Cory, Larissa, Laura and I decided we'd head down and have a bit of fun. Now this particular pub quiz is aimed more at backpackers than anyone else and therefore has some, let's say, more interesting challenges to accompany the traditional quiz...

First of the challenges was limbo, one member from every team had to go up and strut their stuff. Being small and agile we chose Laura who held her own but unfortunately missed the bar, so to speak, when put against the other teams.

The second challenge was an easy one. We were asked to present a hat, a pair of boxers and 3 different coloured bras and a condom - I chucked my hat into the middle, Larissa had a condom in her purse, Cory darted outside to collect some boxers from his car (ahh the benefits of driving around with everything you own!) and the ladies, after some interesting wriggling, produced, quite by luck, 3 different coloured bras! We were the first to the top and got ourselves 2 free drink vouchers.

Next up the quiz master asked for 2 members from each team, after a little umming and arring Cory and I headed up but were just a little to late and got sent away ...this was probably a good thing as the next challenge was 'as many sexual positions in 30 seconds as possible'! After hearing what the challenge was most of the teams backed out and the quiz master was left with only one couple, as a result he re-opened and let anyone other couples who were willing join. It took a little convincing (and the slightly raise blood-alcohol level probably helped) but I managed to drag Amy up to the front. The other couple went first managing 7 positions before getting too embarrassed to carry on, "this'll be easy" I thought and sure enough after only 20 seconds we'd got to 8 and won the competition ...that'll be 5 more free drink vouchers, thank you very much!

And so it was time for the last challenge, the winners of which would earn themselves a tandem cliffhanger swing (click the link below for a demo). Each team had to send up a couple (1 male, 1 female) so after the nature of the last challenge Amy and I headed up. We all put our shoes and hats into the middle as we were told they weren't needed and then listened as the challenge was explained ..."The winning couple will be the first to swap all clothes bar one item"... A few couples dropped out and Amy was initially hesitant until I explained that she could put on my t-shirt before taking off her bra! When the guy shouted "GO!" I was rather surprised by a few things; One, how quickly I can strip to my boxers when needed. Two, how willing I am to strip to my boxers in front of a room full of people when there's prizes to be won. And three, the most surprising of all, hoe I actually fitted into Amy's top and skirt I know I'm a skinny bugger but wow! ...Just in case you hadn't guessed it we won this competition too, we're just waiting for a day off to go use the voucher.

Cliffhanger Swing -

So it came to the end of the quiz and we all handed our sheets in, they started announcing the scores and our team name didn't come up for a surprising amount of time - it turns out we were joint winners for that too! It was decided that to find out who the winners would be (who, incidentally, win a $50 bar tab) the 2 teams would have to nominate a girl to down a pint of beer, Larissa stepped up to the plate while the other team picked a lady who looked like she was the type to wake up in the morning and crack open a stubby. While Larissa did down her drink rather quickly the other lady beat her to it winning the bar tab for her team, never-mind we can't win them all!

We decided that, overall, we'd had a pretty successful evening but it was time to call it a night.


I'll finish up with a few interesting things that have happened at work over the past 6 weeks...

I've done a few now but I got to do my first 'sunset paddle', meaning we run a lake trip that's timed so you're paddling back while the sun is setting. I truly never get bored of the beauty of this lake and paddling with the sunset definitely has a magical feel to it.

One day we had a mass load of school kids on the river (3 groups of 50!) so we took them down in 5 of the white-water rafts. Needless to say they all had a blast jumping around getting wet and playing games, in fact it looked like so much fun that we (the staff) all decided that once they'd buggered off we'd all pile down the river in a couple of rafts too. On our way down the river we had a few beers, mucked about, swam in the hot-pools and some of us did the 25ft cliff jump that we've all been eyeing up all season.

One seemingly normal morning I headed out on a lake trip, I'd looked at the forecast which said that the winds would be picking up in the afternoon/evening but for the morning all was good. We got onto the water and paddled around the first 2 headlands no problem, however, as we were crossing the last big bay the tailwind really picked up. In the space of about 15 minutes the wind went from a very manageable 5 knots, gusting to 10, to about 15 knots gusting 20. Luckily enough this was the last bay and we could go see the carvings and stop on the beach for a break in relative shelter from the wind (I was optimistically telling myself "it's just a patch, it'll pass quickly")... As we sat on the beach we watched the wind pick up even more and the waves get bigger would surely be an interesting ride home! My optimism had disappeared but the people I was with were game for the challenge so we got back in the boats and poked around the headland. 5 minutes and 20 meters later I decided to call it, while the guys were still going strong I figured with the lack of progress it was only a matter of time before someone got tired and fell in. Luckily I could see the Cruise Cat (one of the charter boats that also comes out to the carvings) up ahead and it was on it's way to us. We ducked back behind the headland and waited for the Cruise Cat. The skip was very friendly and more than happy to give us a lift back to where we got on (after all he'd not expected it to be quite as big as it was too) so, rather gracefully, we hopped onto the boat from our kayaks and headed back to Jay Bay. Despite the interesting end to the trip the customers enjoyed themselves and later that day I took a bottle of wine around to the harbor as a thanks.

Congratulations, you've made it to the end!
Until next time, Ian :)
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grandad june on

to start . glad to hear you still clean your teeth and i am rivetted to your blog reading it out loud to john as i go. Live the live and love it.xxxxxxx

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