((This is our 100th post!))
Updates from Taupo – quick bites
1. Weekly Rates RULE. We are at a slightly rundown, but friendly, backpacker called Go Global. It’s about a block from the lake, which incidentally is the largest lake in Australasia. It was created when a volcano went boom, apparently. Missed that, thankfully. Weekly rates do, in fact, rule – we negotiated a NZD $50 rate the first night (less than any of our other rooms so far), but asked them to check with the manager on if they could offer a weekly rate. The next day, they did – NZD $120/wk. So, NZD $70 later, we are paid up through next Tuesday. To put that into perspective, that’s NZD $18/night, which equates to about USD $10/night. That. Is. Awesome.
2. Tongariro/MORDOR – Well, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (1 day version, the full walk is the Tongariro Northern Circuit) is sooooo close right now. We can see Nguruhoe (sp?) over the lake when it’s clear – that is Mt. Doom. UNFORTUNATELY, I don’t think we’re going to be able to get much closer (*cry*), because a. It’s unseasonably cold and rainy in Taupo this week, and last week, which means b. It’s unseasonably freezing and snowy on the mountain crossing. And c. it’s listed as a “challenging” tramp, which is code for “Don’t try this, you stupid, fat Americans.” Hopefully we can swing back through here someday in the summer season, or even winter when we’re better geared (and in better shape). I don’t want to die in the snow. And I would. *>_<*
3. 16 Miles (25 Kilometres)!! What is this, you ask? This is how far Rhys and I walked today. SIXTEEN MILES. We kind of didn’t mean to – the destination was considerably farther off than we thought, thanks to a not-to-scale map. Oops. Anyway, we made it, and we both feel accomplished. That is a long way, and it wasn’t all straight – much was hilly! We got moo’d at by a hellion of cattle (yes, I know it’s a herd, but you didn’t meet THESE cattle) who stood guard at the fence as we passed. It was like that scene from Braveheart – but with cows. They were seriously intense. Most of the sheep we passed were scurred and ran away, but one brown ram bleeped at us and paced us until we were out of distance. He was adorable. I shall call him Maury.
4. Cola. Much like Japan, it is nigh-impossible to find free refills on cola here. Even fast food joints (inc. McD’s) charge, keeping their spigots of delicious, potable sugar safe behind the counter, out of reach of me. 😦 There is hope, though! We have discovered, thanks to a tip from a bartendress at Breakers here, that Burger King is pretty much the only place (perhaps THE only place) in the entire country that proffers it’s sugar-water in multitudes, free of charge. JOY.
5. Pak N’ Save. Mom, this is just like Food 4 Less was back in Bakersfield! Except full of strange, slightly different things. But self-catering, as mentioned in a previous post, is the way to go. We went on a grocery shopping binge tonight since we are going to be here with a full kitchen for an entire week – woo! I got salad fixin’s – something I have been craving since we landed. Rhys has discovered a latent love of ramen – I am ecstatic that he finally has found something cheap that he will happily eat. Our shopping trip brings me to…
6. Milky Bar. We noticed this tucked amongst all of the other candybars (on sale!) at the PnS, so I got one out of curiosity. I figured it to be white chocolate. IT IS NOT. It is sweetened condensed milk, in a candy bar. That’s all it is. Solid, sweetened, condensed milk. IT IS HEAVEN. It is now my all-time favorite candybar. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. Seriously. MM.
Oh! Heard “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves” and thought of Karaoke back home, since Karma sung that sometimes. *waves at Karma!* I miss everyone.