Burnt Crust, Glow worms, and Sawing Logs

Trip Start Nov 30, 2005
Trip End May 13, 2006

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Hello everybody- strange title for today- but we will get to that later!

I made it to New Zealand! After a long day of travel yesterday, I arrived to Auckland and checked into my hostel. I got in just in time to make my arrangements for the rest of the week. I booked a "tour" of sorts but its very open ended. I go to 3 different destinations for the night over the course of how ever many days I want to and they stop at all sorts of places along the way and it includes a bus driver who is pretty much a guide and tells us stuff as we go through. I think its a great deal. They also book our hostels and whatever activities for us. After I decided what I was doing, I took a walk around Auckland and then pretty much settled in for the night for my early departure the next morning.

So when I went to bed, there was nobody else in the room. Before I drifted into sleep, somebody came in and went to bed. In a few minutes- this guy was snoring so loudly! It felt as if there were screams coming out of his nose! How could I sleep with this going on? I tried to rustle around and make noise because sometimes that works with snorers but it didn't help. I tried sleeping under my pillow with my fingers in my ears- but I could still hear him! Before I knew it, I was practically yelling at the guy: "DUDE! HEY! You gotta turn over or something man, you are making a lot of noise." Still nothing, no response...he was that far gone! Eventually I think he must have heard something and he quieted down for long enough that with a big blanket over my head I drifted off. Oh, the adventures of hostels....

Today we stopped at the Waitomo Caves along the way to our destination. I signed up to do some "Black Water Rafting." It was pretty cool- we went into a really massive cave in our inner tubes. The caves were covered with these glow worms that lit it up. It was incredible. There were no rapids in the river- but we all latched up and we were sort of dragged slowly along and when you just put your head back and drifted, it really felt like a night sky above. And there are these silk strands hanging off each glow worm to try to trap food. So not only are there thousands of silk worms- but each one produces about 20 silk strands. It was really cool. We went about 1 and a half kilometers through the cave. We got to do some slides and jumps too. It was a lot of fun.

I'm having another mellow evening now that we arrived to Rotorua. The town is pretty much completely dead and its only 8 oclock at night. There is virtually nothing open. The cool thing about the town is that it is smoking. Literally...as I walked down here you look around at parks and other places and there is smoke coming out of the ground. Apparently the earth's crust is only about 1 or 2 kilometers wide in this spot-- so smoke comes out of the ground. Its pretty crazy. It also smells bad because apparently, this crust is burnt. Interesting...

Tomorrow I am going "Sledging." I will tell you more about it after I know. But basically it is similar to taking a board that is somewhere between the sizes of a kickboard and a boogie board and putting on lots of safety equipment and going down a roaring river. It should be fun! This is one of those native to New Zealand kind of crazy adventure things, so I figure I've got to do it! Skydiving is also on the agenda for the next few days... as well as surfing and digging up sand on a beach where hot water pools will appear. Yeah! New Zealand!
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