Went to a place that everyone calls Whaka - Wh is pronounced as a "f" sound so if I was a few years younger or more like my brother or my friend John I would be giggling everytime I heard people mention it (though I have to admit that I still giggle when the weather lady says Whakatane on the telly, it sounds completely rude! On another tangent Ed's friend Edmund tells me that all TV folk in New Zealand have been trained to pronounce words properly in the Maori style - it sounds all the more exotic. Shame they can't get rid of that dreary name "New Zealand" "Aoteoroa" is that much prettier) But whoa I digress quite violently.
Today we visited Whaka as I mentioned which is a real Maori village, all cute little wooden houses and the villagers (once they have booted out the tourists each day at 5) take themselves down to the boiling pools of water to cook their food and have baths. It was a really delightful place and nice to see the tourist money and the management of the place go straight to the Maori that live there.
After that, a place nicknamed Thermal Wonderland which had me and Ed signing Boogie Wonderland all arvo. This was quite amazing, lime green fluro pond, mud hopping out of the ground, a wedgewood blue opaque lake topped with a dormant volcano in the background had me half expecting to see a couple of hobbits and an elf sailing accross pointy ears and all. The marshlands with the sulphur gas floating accross them made me want to hiss "don't follow the lights" Gollum style - even harder was the temptation to poke my fingers into a few things, I consoled myself to chucking a few rocks into things which was also verboten but I couldn't resist.
Tonight Ed and I are stooping to new lows in a our efforts to find cheap filling food. Ed has found a Sizzler or a Suzzlier as my Kiwi friends would say. We're are off to load up at the salad bar, have a become the kind of backpacker I despise in less than 6 days?