Our 5:30 am wake up call got us up and out the door to make a 10am flight at Nadi Airport. our flight was delayed an hour so we has time to walk around and shop to use the rest of our Fijian Dollars. In my opinion, a useful investment was the ukulele I bought…but we’ll see how quickly I can pick up a new instrument when I’m home. It was a bit of an impulse buy, but only time will tell how useful it is. Afterwards, we sat in the waiting rooms and I calculated how much money I had spent. If all my conversions were right…yikes.
After our lengthy flight to Auckland, New Zealand, we raced to a bus to endure a three hour ride to Rotorua. No stops. No chances to eat. No bathroom breaks. It was then we were introduced to Maori culture, via the movie “Whale Rider.” “Whale Rider” tells the story of a Maori girl growing up in her tribe, facing the trial and tribulations of being a girl destined to be chief (which is typically a man’s position.) And like all other culturally enriching movies, it was awful.
Kia Ora! Arrival: Rotorua smells like rotten eggs and methane. Really it’s sulfur from the geothermal hot spots. But even now it’s impossible to get over the stench. (Later on we sprayed perfume all over the room to get rid of the smell.)
We dropped our bags in our rooms when we arrived at 6:10pm. At 6:30 pm,we had to go to a Maori Hangi Feast. Hangi means a meal cooked underground- very cool! Despite the quick turn around we made in Auckland, we made it. The food was good, some common like lamb, others rare. We tried sweet potatoes that came highly recommended called Kumara. Then we tucked into desserts. All gross.
Then the entertainment began. Four women, five men dancing in their tribal costumes, and singing in their native tongues. It was all well and good, til the songs became easily recognizable and the lyrics mysteriously changed to a different language. it went from a cultural experience to a Disney show in no time. Cheesy as anything. Afterwards, Matt reviewed our itinerary for the next day and we went to bed, exhausted from a long day of travel.