Thursday, 1/6- All Seasons Holiday Park, Taupo
This is it, the first last of the trip. Our last night in Captain Slow, last camping night. Tomorrow we push back to Auckland, return the Captain, and stay in a motel. I think/hope we are going to bus in to the city tomorrow night for one last night and to find a tattoo shop. No tattoo parlors in Taupo! Denied. An adult shop, but no ink slingers. This, by the way, is my sole complaint about Taupo. Could have done three or four days here, easy.
We walked to town, only 1.5km or so from camp, and hit the isite for info and postcards. I noticed the Taupo museum had a photo exhibit of the All Blacks called Hard on the Heels so we headed that way. $5NZ entry per person but the lady gave Angela the student rate of $3 and I begged, wheedled, and flirted my way to a $3 entry as well because I have 29 students.
The All Blacks gallery was very cool. No, I don't know much about rugby, but I did read an excellent book called Muddied Oafs about the sport over the last week AND I plan on caring about the World Cup. So I'm a poseur, but with good intentions. The rest of the museum was ok. Their fancy garden was underwhelming. But we did another museum. We are cultural, damnit!
After that we explored the lake's edge. Our guidebook claimed thermal springs in the area made the water warm. Angela would walk some meters along the shore, go to the water and dip a toe, and report the guidebook lied. We didn't understand.
The light bulb was supplied by a very friendly (is there any other kind?) Kiwi family who explained you have to get at least ankle deep in the water then dig your toes under the sand. Ohhh! Wow, what a cool feeling. That sand, only inches below the bottom's top, was hot! Like, only keep your piggies in there for a few seconds hot. By following the family we also found a spot where a hot spring actually did run into the lake . We could see steam coming off the water. The sand above the water line was hot. Crazy cool. Err, hot. I blew the husband's mind by walking on the hot sand.
Then it rained, but only for a bit.
We ate at LK's Fish and Chips and had, I think, the best fish of the trip. Perfectly crumbled. I told the lady so. Yum.
While there Angela and I discussed America's money and how here they always round to the ten cent. They have to, they have no nickel or penny. Why do we need pennies? Why should something cost $1.99? Make it $2, you aren't fooling anyone. We have worthless money. This is silly and should be abolished. Beware my coronation to Grand Emperor. Changes shall be made.
I found a good deal on a New Zealand bike jersey. The guy at the shop said it was kind of “touristy” but that's ok, I'm a tourist. Plus, it only looks touristy here. Back home it'll look cool because its a New Zealand cycle top.
We took a short hike which would have led us to a waterfall had we gone all the way, but it was getting late and we stopped instead at a natural hot spa off a river which feeds in to the lake. Again, this water was hot. Too hot, in fact, for the wife's toeses. I got in a cooked for a while surrounded by accents and various languages. *Soapbox Moment: Dear American Educational System, English is not the only language in the world. We should be encouraging bilingualism from early elementary school. Everyone else does. We look dumb all alone on our high horse, That is all.*
Once we got back to the holiday park we paid $5 and relaxed in their spa, which was a nice soak after a good day of walking. I feel I should note I wore my TrekSport VFFs until the hot sand lake until the friendly (is there any other kind?) Kiwi family, and then went barefoot from there on. I like this.
We (I) made friends with the nice Dutch couple camping next to us and offered them our unused foodstuffs. They took it gladly. Its nice to pay it forward. We also talked about our experiences and let them know the fun and interesting things we've found. Dutch people are very nice. They now have our spaghetti and produce in their Tigger and Piglet-painted campervan.
We aren't ready to be done. I'm pretty sure if we had three months we wouldn't be ready to be done. Guess a return trip is needed. Darn.