Week Forty - South Island

Trip Start Aug 26, 2003
Trip End Aug 24, 2004

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Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Week Forty - Rotorua

Day 259 - Tuesday 25 May

As a treat for my birthday, Phil has kindly offered to take me down to Wairakei Golf Club. He is also treating a young player from his Club, Ben Gifford? who is 18 and plays off scratch. On the way to the course we drive down to Lake Taupo where there is a 'hole-in-one' float out on the lake. There are three holes on the pontoon. A hole-in-one on the nearest, smallest hole gets you $5000 and the other two win you a golf bag. I ask the girl looking after the tee how many times they have paid out. In eight years they have paid out three jackpots and 518 lesser prizes. We each have a go but with no success. It costs $12 for 20 balls. Phil and Ben hit the pontoon a couple of times which gets them a free ball. The setting is glorious with the mountains in the distance. Back up at the course Phil gets the green fees and we are set. We play off the blue (tiger) tees. The course is 6444 metres long. I don't know what that is in yards but it is bloody long. Each of the par threes require a three wood and I don't manage to hit a single one. I don't play too badly though and tie Phil on 27 points by the end of the round. It is possibly the best course I have ever played. On the way home we call into Hukka Falla and watch the jet boat whizzing up to the roaring waters. Back home we drop young Ben off home and go back for dinner. Phil and myself then nip down to The Colonial Pub where there is a night of strip pool. I won't go into details but the image is firmly lasered onto my brain.

Day 260 - Wednesday 26 May

Phil plays with a crowd of boys at Rotorua GC on a Wednesday at noon and I am allowed to join them. I play dreadfully and blame the exertions at Wairakei. I manage to accumulate 24 points. Not good. Phil once again shoots around 74. During the prize giving I am welcomed by Brian Smythe to the club. My playing partner, Pat Neville, offers to take me out in his boat. They are all very friendly. Afterwards we go for dinner into town with Donna who has been to her wine club in the Novatel with friend Heather from NI and her husband Mark Lavery comes with us. I choose not to join them for dinner but meet up afterwards for a drink in The Fuse Bar. Mark is a coaching golf pro who lived for some time with Heather in NI.

Day 261 - Thursday 27 May

We spend a golf free day today slobbing about the house. If we did anything else, I have forgotten.

Day 262 - Friday 28 May

Phil and myself head into town and watch '21 Grams' in the cinema which was good. Afterwards we go to a bar and play pool against a couple of Maori lads then meet Ian Burrell and his mates, Will and Rowe, in the Rotorua Club. Next we pick up Donna from her badminton match at the CT Club. From there we go into town and have dinner in a nice restaurant then home.

Day 263 - Saturday 29 May

Its golf again today. It is the Captain versus Vice Captain and I have been invited to join them. I played crap again and was nearly the lowest score in the clubhouse. After dinner we all go into town to an Irish bar where Phil meets up with about 10 backpackers and invites them back to his place for a party. I retire to bed early but the revelry goes on until 6am.

Day 264 - Sunday 30 May

We have another lazy day around the house. Probably played some pool at the CT Club.

Day 265 - Monday 31 May

Phil takes me on a tour of the lakes surrounding Rotorua. The green and blue lakes are stunning and we drive on to Lake Tarawera for coffee by the water. Back in town I get a number two hair cut, buy some flowers for Donna then we have a couple of frames at the CT Club before Phil drops me off at Ian and Elspeth's. Ian and I drive down to The Rtotrua Club to meet Will and Rowe for a few beers. As Will's wife is in hospital Ian invites him back for dinner. We have another lovely lamb dinner courtesy of Elspeth and then browse through her photos of Canada. Ian drops me back off at Phil's.

Day 266 - Tuesday 1 June

Phil drops me off at the airport for the flight to Auckland at half past eight. The flight leaves on time and takes 25 minutes. The plane is tiny, just like the one in Mozambique. I have booked into an airport hotel (The Centra) for the night. This is where I am sitting typing the last month's Travelpod up. I have been sitting here for 7.5 hours and am ready for bed. Tomorrow it will take about 25 hours from leaving the Auckland hotel to arriving at the hotel in Vancouver. Goodnight.

Addendum - These last four entries have been uploaded almost two months since the events therein. Having read over them it sounds very dark and depressing. I am currently in Vancouver having a ball and it all seems very long ago. Nicola is doing well and is now back to work. I will endeavor to upload the Canada story soon. Sorry to all my friends and family for not being in touch for a while but things have been hectic here with Geoff being over etc. Don't miss the next installment, it should be a goody. Cheers for now - Peter
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