Just some happy photos of my little one at apparently the best Vietnamese restaurant in Auckland – we found it driving by and judged it by the number of cars in the lot.
Today I kicked off the morning with a Bungy jump! I totally didn’t realize that New Zealand is the home of where this all first started. Initially I had signed up with second doubts, but I figured since David and I were jumping separately, Keira would at least still have one living parent to blame for the rest of her life 😉
The anticipation was really killing me waiting for my turn, getting strapped in with the harness, the operator taunting me about setting me up for a river dip at the bottom and that sort of thing.
As I stepped onto the platform, I really focused on calming my fear, trusting the team of people harnessing me in, and embracing the challenge. I imagined myself to be a bird and swan dived off the platform after a short count of 1-2-3.
It made it alive and well, David did his jump later in the evening and actually got dunked in the river water at the bottom.
So after all the excitement of the morning, what’s one to do? A mommy’s work is never done, so I made a quick vegetable meal for Keira and looks like she enjoyed it.
Baby food receipe for travel:
1 “borrowed” butter sachet from hotel buffet
Mince onions and zucchinis first – even better if your accommodations has a grater, otherwise a simple chopping knife will do.
1) Sauté minced onions med-high heat with butter in pan until slightly browned
2) add minced zucchini and stir fry until cooked and soft
Tip: this recipe works for any quick cooking vegetable really, such as minced spinach or broccoli. Bring 4-6 sets of your own small tupperware containers to make portioning and saving food easy. This saves you from scouring the city you’re in and buying too many quantities you won’t need.
Bungy and baby food making. All in a days work.
The next morning, after we saw one side of what Auckland had to offer (ewww), we were taking a flight out to Queenstown, NZ. Queenstown is famous for it’s adventure sports, skiing and gorgeous scenery. Some might say it’s the most beautiful town in the Southern hemisphere. Definitely a bold statement and has surprisingly lived up to expectations to be pretty impressive!
The morning started with a nice breakfast in the VIP Koru lounge – even Keira loved the children’s playroom there! We boarded the private chartered flight on the All Blacks plane, which is a BIG deal because the rugby athletes are superstars in New Zealand.
(sorry for the dark photo. At this point Keira needs a nap badly)
It was a party plane all the way to Queenstown, and Keira slept the whole way there until the flight attendant made me wake her up to buckle her in.
The flight was kinda a scary bumpy ride from flying through the mountain range surrounding the the airport. But me made it!
For a memorable welcome, EO university arranged for us to get kick started with an adventure sport right at landing. *Que the anxious music
We get on the bus, and they tell us we’re going straight to the dock to go jet boating. I wasn’t really sure what this was, but I started to realize this wasn’t just a ferry cruise when we started putting on splash gear and lifejackets. In fact, the boat guy came up to me and made sure my lifejacket was nice and tight. Ignorance was bliss in this case. See how happy and relaxed I am with Casey here.
Before the boat was under way.
When the boat starts up, he then explains (when you can’t get off) what jet boating is – which is basically going at high speed and having the thrill of looking like you’re going to crash into land or a pillar and then turning at the last minute while going under bridges. As well, he does 360 turns at breakneck speed so it feels like the boat is about to tip over. Fantastic.
Anyhow, we survived and unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the aftermath and the dumbfounded look on my face. Now that the adrenaline is pumping, it was onto the next adventure sport!
In the evening we took a gondola up to the top of the mountain where they had luging and eating. I chose eating because I was adventured out for the day, and the memories of David bum-rushing me on the waterslide in Turkey was still fresh in my mind.
Here’s an aerial photo of me safe on land while David goes up the luge run.
All the events for today and the next few days were organized by Entrepreneur Organization University New Zealand. Lots of great learnings and once in a lifetime experiences!
The ice blocks say “100% Kiwi Adventure”
A complete 180 from where we stayed the other night, the Chamency is a 5 minute walk uphill from the conference hotel. Our view from the balcony.
My favorite part was the newly renovated shower with brand spanking new Italian fixtures. The photos really don’t do this place justice.
Thanking my lucky stars we’re not in that airport hotel hell hole anymore!!
I can’t believe they let drivers like me into the country to drive on the opposite side of the road! (anyone who knows me, knows about my special driving skillz) But anyhow, we all made it to our next stop, and here I am still blogging away!
After 3 hours of driving, we finally get to the airport hotel, and all I can say about it is O-M-G. Note the creepy looking lady… She was actually quite rude in real life.
From the moment we drove up to the Oakwood Manor, my skin started to crawl. This was where people who were down on their luck stayed and there was bad fend shui written all over it. David at first tried to pretend like nothing was wrong with it, hoping I wouldn’t notice to avoid me b*tching at him. But uhhh… I think it was pretty obvious.
It was the worst sleep I’ve had in many years. I didn’t even bother Taking a shower and a day later David asked me if I saw the mold. I didn’t even set Keira on the ground and inspected the sheets very carefully.
Even funnier was the soap holder in the shower had broken off and David was left to hold onto his soap the whole time while showering.
Thankfully it was only a 12 hour stay at this godforsaken place. So we went from rags to riches in 12 hours as you’ll see in my next blog post… A good reality check nonetheless less!
Chartered flight All Blacks plane we took to Queenstown!
David and I lamented on whether te option to go to a Maori dinner event was going to be a tourist trap of death. But we figured we weren’t going to be back to Rotorua anytime soon, so it was just something we had to do.
The Maori performance started with the Maori canoe paddling up in a Disneyland-esq stream. We also wondered what a white guy was doing in the canoe… Yes, they’re obviously performers, but it deviated a bit from the authenticity of it all.
The dances went on for over an hour, so by the time we were ready to eat – all said and done 3 hours later, the dinner buffet tasted spectacular.
Here’s the Hangi in a very non-traditional layout (probably cooked in a Viking oven, but we’ll never know).
We also did a special Kiwi bird and glow worm viewing after dinner. I can’t believe how by 9pm I’m ready for bedtime! But I had a coffee, sprayed a bunch of deet, and pushed on. Viewing the glow worms at night was truly a once in a lifetime experience. As was seeing the nocturnal kiwi bird up close and personal. It was basically a small group night tour at the zoo, but different and fun all the same.
To end the night, David decides to take a swig of the spring water coming out of the wall. I’m dubious of drinking or eating things I can’t see, but here goes:
This morning it was pouring, but we had faith and continued on with our desire to check out the famous Waitopu geothermal park during or last day in Rotorua.
The geyser at Waitopu park was “scheduled” to erupt at 1030, so we made sure we had plenty of time to get there before the crowds. I was a bit skeptical about how one could schedule a geyser. So we are all eagerly waiting for the geyser to erupt with video cameras in hand, stadium seating and all, and then his park ranger comes out of nowhere to drop a block of washing detergent into the geyser to get it started.
Apparently the block of detergent is used to break the surface tension of cool water which is a layer atop of the hot water, and they’re just instigating the natural geyser to erupt. Either way, it was anti-climatic (if u know what i mean). Here’s Keira rolling her eyes at the lame tourist trap. 😉
Tourist trap aside, the rest of the park had some pretty cool natural wonders.
We opted to drive another half hour further south to Huka Falls to avoid the mob of tourists at Waitopu and return later.
Aside from the best thing about Huka being free (yay! We finally caught a break!) it was actually truly impressive. The amount of water gushing out per second is apparently enough to fill 4 Olympic sized swimming pools!
After Huka Falls we went back to Waitopu.
Here’s Keira and I in front of a sign telling u not to trip and fall into big hole with +100 degree water. (As a side note, David personally tested the water earlier with his finger and confirms the water is indeed hot from shrieking at the near burn.)
An evening stroll to Kuirau park to see where the locals view geothermal wonders was one of the few free attractions. It seemed like every other time you even moved they would charge you at least $30 per person 😛
Keira doesn’t look so happy in these photos because it’s so hot even though it was 6pm!
Who knew sheep could be so fun and interesting?! We went to the Agrodome, which sounds way bigger than it actually is. It’s more like an Agro-chalet, but none-the-less there’s lots of sheep and random other animals on the farm.
The first thing Keira did when she saw the sheep up close was reach out to touch its nose. Then she retracted her arm cause she got a little skurred of the big moving animal.
There are no photos of me petting the sheep because I thought they were a bit stinky and slightly greasy. Apparently the wool has lanolin in it…
Oh, and here’s a pic of Keira warming up to the sheep and tugging on the horn. I thought maybe it was gonna get pissed off at her so I was a bit hesitant, but I guess they don’t mind after seeing thousands of kids come through.
After the sheep show, we were off on a trolley pulled by a tractor to see the rest of the farm. The farmer gave us some food to feed the sheep and alpacas, but I chucked my handful of food on the ground to avoid the animals coming after me and licking my hand. Gross…
David got kicked by a sheep because he was too slow to give the sheep his food. Here he is being harassed by an aggressive sheep. (Note all the Asian people in the background – we found Asian people everywhere in NZ!)
After a week of finally settling in Auckland, we’re off again to Rotorua – famous for New Zealand’s geothermal sites and sheep! We saw lots of cows on the road as well, and they were grazing on grass – apparently grass fed beef is the default here in NZ can’t wait to try a rib eye!
Packing took longer than expected, so it was a bumpy morning. Can you spot Keira in this picture?! (I caught a photo of her falling over. Happy to report she recovered just fine)
We finally got out of the room packed up the car, and got on our way. It was a bit tricky driving cause they drive on the left side of the road. David was pretty good at it, but once in a while he would set off the windshield wipers when he meant to signal, and when prior to getting out of PARK, he would step on the accelerator instead of the brake…scary. Hehe *nervous chuckle* but anyhow, we got there safe!