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A Twofer - Houdini and The Glo-worms

Weds. & Thurs. all in one

Ok, it's Thursday, May 10th at about 10:15 p.m. and I'm now in Wellington, which is the most southerly city on the north island. Met up with Marge at the airport here and we'll be together for the weekend. We're taking the ferry in the morning to the south island, where we'll spend the next couple of days. Here's a recap of the last two days.

Yesterday was spent primarily on the back of Houdini, a large black stallion living in Waitanga in the Bay of Islands. Today was spent cringing and whining with every step and movement as a result. Ouch. So much for being in great shape. Apparently walking a horse on a dude ranch for 2 hours in Florida is completely different than trotting a horse up and down a couple of mountains in the bay of islands in New Zealand. I can't move! Well, I can move but it causes certain expletives to be uttered pretty much all the time. Tomorrow will be better, right? Not. The one thing I learned from boot camp is that the second day "after" is always worse than the day after. Great. :) Oh well, it was worth it. It was amazing. I got friendly with a few of the locals and managed a "sack" lunch from Hanson's Cafe and free picture downloading at the Internet Cafe. Paihia was friendly, charming and beautiful. One of my faves so far. After the great Houdini ride, I got back in the car and rode all around the islands, stopping in Kerikeri for a mocha latte and chatting with yet more locals. I enjoyed that alot, even though the solitary travel sometimes feels . . . well, a bit solitary.

As indicated by the lack of blog last night, I was asleep by 9:00 and didn't groan again until this morning at 8:00 a.m. Ugh. Packed up the car, and headed back towards Dorkland (i.e., Auckland -- I can't even take credit for that, apparently the Kiwis themselves call Auckland and a few of the other big cities that - while I"m sorry that I didn't create it, I plan on borrowing it from this time forward). The Kiwis also have a little acronym for Aucklanders that I also plan on referencing from this moment on . . . JAFA. Just a Fucking Aucklander. I like it.

I headed out this morning with the intention of crossing northland and coming down on the west coast. Ah, that would have been great if I could have found the damn road! Anyone out there good at geography? The Kiwis need a good map maker! So, down Hwy 1 I came again, but this time I made some stops that I didn't have the time or inclination to do on the way up. One of those was the Glow Worm caves of Kawaiti (or something like that - I don't have the map with me and I can't remember). :) I got there and when I found it that it was a 20-30 minute tour into the bowels of the mountain with little wormy things hanging down from the ceiling, I initially decided not to do it. But, as I went to get back into my car feeling like a sissy, I made myself turn around and be a big girl. It was still almost as icky as I thought it would be, but it was also really interesting to see how the stalagmites form and how old the formations were. Fascinating. Of course I could have done without the 8 foot eels in the water below, which the guide took great pride in pointing out. Eek. There were easily a couple of million glow worms on the ceiling of that cave, which wasn't as freaky as I thought it would be. It helped that they were about 30 feet up. Much better than directly over my head.

I also stumbled on yet another amazing waterfall and got a bunch of great pics. They better have come out stunning, cause I had to walk down a narrow precipice to get the shot and then walk back up with Houdini legs and butt. Ouch. I think they'll be worth it. Amazing. Dorkland was as fun navigating back as it was in, with one teeny little sign for the airport that I noticed as i passed it doing 100 km. I hate Dorkland, I really do.

Ok, more tomorrow. The hour comes early to catch a ferry in the rain for Picton. Miss you all.

Posted by FD Shepherd 03:37 Archived in New Zealand

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Is Houdini a horse or did you hook up with a local? LOL.

by Margaret

OMG.... after 15 years, I have finally inspired my habitual "tea drinking" coffee loathing girlfriend to indulge in a Latte! Yum... good stuff, huh? :) Your blogs are too cute. New Zealand looks beautiful. Can't wait to hear more about your trip and CouGAR stories! P.S. Have you found that strapping young man yet? I know you were anxious to meet him. :) Stay safe.

by Frankie

Yes, I've actually gotten quite fond of the Cappacino and the Latte since I've been in Kiwi land. But that's probably attributable to the cold and the tact that there seems to be a coffee shop on every corner. :)

by FD Shepherd

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