The end of our time in Taupo

Trip Start Dec 14, 2004
Trip End May 25, 2005

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Sunday, December 26, 2004

The time has (finally?) come... we're leaving Taupo tomorrow, after having made it our first 'longer-than-2-days' stop. All in all, a good stop, if for no other reason than I think it helped us slow down, and get into a more relaxed pace. We've been staying at Burkes' Backpackers, and the cast of characters has begun to wear on our nerves a bit- Yesterday was Christmas Day, and most of the people there were looking pretty sad about being far from home. Ah- being Jewish does have it's benefits, doesn't it :) The hostel staff put together a big Kiwi Xmas BBQ--- it felt more like July 4th- with the sun shining, the smell of meat grilling, etc. We joined in the festivities, for lack of better activity options, though neither of us had the stomach for bbq'ed venison. It was just a quiet, relaxing day- reading, lazing in the sun.
A few things-
1. books are like gold here. for some reason, they are SO expensive! And at the rate that we both go through books, we truly cannot afford our reading habits. we're hoping the next place we stay has a better 'take one/leave one bookshelf'.
2. turns out that the dynamics between girlfriends really does surpass cultural barriers. we've become friendly with a trio of English girls at the hostel. the three of them grew up together in Northern England, and made an effort to be friendly with us from the beginning. We went out with them on Xmas Eve to this club that was overrun with every backpacker in all of Taupo (it was awful)... and over the course of these few days, we've managed to get an earful of the drama that inevitably arises between friends. somehow the quiet one, a girl also named Rachel, has taken a liking to us, and we like her too... anyway- she has had enough of her friends- they like to go out and party often, she doesn't... and now there is a possibility that she will join us at River Valley for the next week. We think that maybe the time away from her friends will be a nice healthy change for her. In any case, we'll keep you updated.
3. in a brilliant stroke of karmic luck, we were joined on Xmas Eve by an Israeli guy at the hostel- Yuval. we had a few good laughs wishing each other "Chag Sameach" and "Shabbat Shalom" throughout the Xmas weekend.

Anyhow... that is all for now. We've already shifted the dates of our time in NZ around to allow for a little more time on the South Island--- now, we'll be heading for Australia on 1/25.
One more thing: write us emails! Tell us the inane and funny things that happened today on the subway, or in class, or at work, or how you made spaghetti for dinner. we don't care- we want to hear from you! :)
J & R
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