Rotorua Day 3/Auckland Day 1

There’s a difference between chloroform and chlorophyll. If you took ninth grade biology, you’d know that chlorophyll is the green pigment found in plants. Chloroform, however, is the “knock out drug” associated with heinous crimes.

This morning we listened to our tour guide, a Maori native, as she weaved a traditional grass skirt, boiling the grass to remove what she referred to as chloroform. Hm.

The village we toured was called Whaka Village, although the natives pronounce “Wh” with an “F.” You sound it out. This village is a natural hot spot, full of geothermal activity, with geysers and hot springs everywhere. As the 40 degree wind bit into my jacket, we sought refuge near the hot opaque steam and Hangi boxes (where the food is cooked underground.) We saw the bathing pools, yes, communal, but warm.

Off to Auckland. We finished watching “Whale Rider” which made more sense once we’d seen true Maori culture and traditions in Rotorua.

We’re racing past lush pastures filled with sheep and cows and valleys and hills. Sound picturesque? Well maybe, but it seems more characteristic of Ireland. They’re playing Kiwi Radio (Kiwi is a term for a New Zealander.) 80s and 90s pop, and it brings us back to Michelle Branch, Sugar Ray, and all things Kidz Bop. How can anyone sleep through Dave the Maniac Bus Driver’s speedy driving?

We stopped in Matamata, more commonly known as “Hobbiton.”

We took pictures with a statue of Gollum in the Hobbit Hole, then raced to the bus. No one wants to be the unlucky soul who has to sing, per Matt’s directions. A short game of Matt’s trivia, and once again I’m left to my own thoughts.


When you’re alone, it’s funny how the mind can be the scariest demon of all. Left to your own devices, it can be a dark abyss of loneliness. And while I’m homesick for my family in the worst way, I’m quite enjoying the freedom my mind has when not restricted by my day-to-day. Flashback: Venice. And I think: How much alone time have I missed out on in an effort to surround myself with people who seem to eliminate my sorrows?

I’ll give you a “for instance.” I’ve never eaten a meal alone. Never gone out to eat, that is. I don’t count eating PB&J in the comfort of my own home. I know exactly why I haven’t too: A long time ago my friend advised me that people are more likely  to over gorge on their own. Well if getting fat is my main concern, then I’m going to have some bigger issues later on in life.

As the song goes, “Like a Drifter I Was Born to Walk Alone.” I’m happiest when I’m able to think, think clearly, then share my thoughts in the blogosphere. Less Facebook, reduce the texting, more “me” time. How can I be the best sister/friend/daughter/niece/granddaughter I can be  if I’m not the best person I can be?


We finished our drive to Auckland and visited a volcano which hasn’t been active in 700 years. We got to the hotel at 3, and had free roam of the city until 9. We walked around, shopped, got out Starbucks fix, and went to the hotel to rest around 6:30. All the stores closed down at 6:00, so we saw no point in staying out to roam the concrete jungle.


One response to “Rotorua Day 3/Auckland Day 1

  1. great blogs Mandi! funny how that same chlorophyll-chloroform confusion was in the news in a completely different context while you were away. and I have to agree – a dinner alone can be as rewarding as the one with good friends – just neither exclusive of the other! :~D

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