Not a lot has happened in the last few days, but it’s been a while since we updated, so here goes my attempt at bringing you up to speed.
As you may know, we found a FANTASTIC weekly rate at this hostel, which averaged out to less than USD $10 per day if we stayed a week. Our week is up Tuesday morning. Taupo is lovely, but it has been rainy, so we’ve done fewer walks than we wanted to. There are three (THREE) Irish pubs here, Finn McCuhal’s, Mulligan’s, and some other Irish name. Considering the town has a little over 10k residents, that’s a lot of Irish pubs for one place – all of NZ seems to be inundated with Irish pubs. Perhaps the world. We’ll keep you apprised.
Friday night featured an apparently-well-known reggae band called 1814 at Finn’s. We walked down there (not a long walk, it’s directly underneath our hostel) for dinner – they have THE BEST fish n’ chips I have ever, ever had. It’s served with some sort of garlic mayo instead of tartar sauce. IT IS AMAZING. The band had a cover charge of $22/person, but somehow they missed us, so we got to see them for free (which is good, because Rhys is not a fan of reggae music). I loved it – it seemed most local Oklahoma bands had turned reggae before I left, and I didn’t care much for their sound; 1814 got right everything those bands got wrong though. The music was fabulous, the harmonies (four singers) were phenomenal, and the sax player was out of this world. The vibe was great. And, as an added bonus, we saw the most amazing mullet/rat-tail combination the world has ever seen:
Bask in its glory. I’ll wait.
Ok, I’ll wait.
Saturday night, Finn’s had a “Corona beach party,” and since there was precious little happening in the rest of the town, we hit the place again. There was sand, some spa pool was brought in (no one touched it), and instead of the ubiquitous Oklahoma mechanical bull, there was a mechanical surfboard. The person who rode it the longest won some Corona surfboard. Unfortunately, neither Rhys nor I have fantastic balance, and I am a notorious klutz. We didn’t win.
The beach party did boast free food (which made it inevitable that we would show up – no cover charge and free food? Perfect for penny-pinching travelers!) in the form of an advertised “pig-on-a-spit.” I approached the giant steel grill, and the friendly kiwi asked where I was from. “America,” I said. “Heyyyy!” he announced. “Osama bin Laden!!!!” Immediately he recognized his error and his eyes got all wide, and he sputtered an apology – “Aw, jeez, I’m so sorry mate, I meant Obama, Obama, not… awww…” But I was laughing. It was a moment Fox News would surely have cherished. Anyway, he rushed to get me my sandwich, advising me to grab a bun (delicious) and hold it so he could get me meat. He lifted the grill lid. *WARNING – GRUESOME IMAGE!!!!!!!*
*NO REALLY, I MEAN IT*
*OK, BUT I WARNED YOU*
It was not a pig. It was a sheep. And I could see teeth. Now, keep in mind, I was a vegan for about six months or so, for exactly these kinds of reasons – but he was really wanting to give me a “great cut of meat,” for having gotten the name of our president quite, quite wrong, so I let him cut off a section of rib and place heaping, burned flesh on the bread. Smiling, I thanked him and ran back inside. Rhys, Matt, and Sophie (two other travelers we were conversing with) ran to get their own, all saying things like “Mmmm, mutton” but I couldn’t eat it, sadly. Not after I saw the poor little head. 😦
Absolutely nothing on the agenda today, as it’s raining, and we’re conserving cash. Just chatting with locals, a quick jog to the grocery store, and enjoying being here. It hit me earlier – I am in New Zealand. Crazy!