Rotorua and etc.

Today was a good day. We got up after a wonderful night of uninterrupted sleep (private room in this hostel, and it’s not freezing, and we have blankets!) and had breakfast. Apple + Granola Bar each. We set out this morning on our first walk, probably the easiest one in the country, around the lake here. It took us about three hours and we ventured around the lake, surrounding country, and some of the thermal sulphur pits. I got some good pictures of some wildlife and a few of the nearby steam vents. Even some boiling mud! We felt quite accomplished when we returned to our home away from home, so we had lunch, tried to understand a rugby game on TV, and then went to the Polynesian Spa a few blocks away.

The spa was amazing. We sat for a long while in the hot baths and relaxed our aching muscles. Neither of us are in great shape at this time, and our joints are not used to much travel. I talked to one of the workers there, who when I told him I was from Oklahoma he said, “Ah, the sooner state!” He’s from Indonesia originally and is planning a trip to the US sometime in the future, and has studied up on every state. He even knew what the term ‘Sooner’ meant and what Oklahoma stood for. Good on ya, mate. Oh, also, I saw a gent in one of the bars with a T-Shirt bearing an image of the famous Indian statue (slumped in defeat). When asked, I discovered he picked it up in a second hand shop in Canada. Still, it was odd to see such a familiar sight so far from home.

Tomorrow we’re planning a bit of a longer walk. We have also reached out to some folks via the Hospitality Club for lodging, as we’re still spending more money than we have budgeted. Tonight also marks our first attempt at paring down our gear; getting rid of some clothing. Every other backpacker we’ve seen has been living out of normal Jansport backpacks. The only exception is a pair of valley-girl types that had big packs like ours on back AND Jansport packs on front. That was ridiculous.

About rhysfunk

Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world. Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. In 2018 he published his first book, Lost Restaurants of Tulsa. Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
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