Third week

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 Again, a very Kia Ora to everyone!

 Last time we left off at the point where we wanted to visit the Samoa – Namibia game in Rotorua, but unfortunately the available technology left us sitting in the computer room of our hostel, trying to have our photos uploaded, map-points created and back-ground images set correctly. We had to keep on topping up our internet credits, that eventually it was cheaper to buy a day-pass (hell, it was probably cheaper to buy tickets for the game!!).

As we missed the start of the game, we went to the nearest pub – Pig & Whistles, where we were the other day as well – to have some dinner and watch the game on the Telly. It got quite crowded that evening, and met some “interesting” people (everyone interesting in their own way); a student lawyer-to-be and boyfriend (or was it her father? We’re still in doubt…) who were completely nuts (or was it drunk? No, no, we‘re sure on this one: a combination of both!); and travelling friends from the U.S. (actually one from Hawaii and the other from South Africa) with which we were able to kill some more time, before we went on to the Lava Bar where apparently jelly wrestling (and we were reassured that it was women only) matches were going on…. Meeeeooooow!!

Once there we noticed some big fellas; some patched up, others still bruised and butchered. It was obviously the National XV of Namibia, who played Samoa earlier that day (needless to say, the Samoans (without “The Chiropractor”, “The Terminator” and what other nick named players they had) literally smashed the Namibians with 49 to 12). As they had a game earlier that day, and have been drinking probably directly after the game till the time we were in the Lava Bar (almost midnight) Hasan thought that the timing was right to challenge the captain of the team Jacques – known by Africans as Sjaakie – for an arm wrestling game (without jelly… come on…). What actually happened was that Hasan wanted to have a look at the jelly wrestling of the girls, and needed to push aside – which is usually not a problem – some people. This time it was apparently Sjaakie who stood in his way… You may guess who won.

The next morning, Bassie woke Hasan – now with a nice set of blue eyes and some dried blood stains around his nose and upper lip – up to go to Hamilton where the AllBlacks were going to play against Japan. On the way to Hamilton, we took a de-tour towards Matamata where the “Hobbiton” can be found. This is the place where shots were taken for the Lord of the Rings films, and where soon shots were going to be taken for two new films of “The Hobbit” (in cinema around 2013). It was quite an interesting setting, and the amount of effort they did put in was amazing, especially if you think of all the small details. Even stuff you can’t see in the film at all has been placed there, as “that stuff” did appear in the book.

After a tour through the Hobbit village that took about an hour and a half, we were brought into a barn where we got a demo – apparently as part of the tour through Hobitton – how to shear/shave a sheep. The chap providing us the demonstration did it skillfull, but it took him a couple of minutes to let the sheep loose. What is unbelievable is that the world record is almost 850 sheep in a single working day of 9 hours… You do the math.

After the visit to the Hobbit village, we moved on towards Hamilton. We checked in our hostel and went into town to have some dinner and watched three games in a row on the Telly, with of course the necessary refreshments (de-hydration can be horrible: must prevent at all times!!). During the sessions of watching games and fighting de-hydration, we were accompanied by the Japanese Television Crew (the battle against de-hydration took its toll: forgot the name of the channel) who were in Hamilton to do live reporting of the game against the AllBlacks on Friday evening. Hasan was in no-time able to say to a Japanese lady who was with the crew as well: “Konichiwa!! Uatachi no nameaha Hasan. Ishoni gohan doudeska?”. We were told that Hasan is introducing himself and asking her to go out for lunch. If anyone can confirm this, then we would be very pleased, as the cheat sheet with this written text was used a lot for the remainder of the night…

The night did not end at the restaurant where we had dinner, fought de-hydration, learned Japanese and decided who would be on the top-three of the barmaids (yes Tammie, Bas had his top three as well!). We moved on to a bar called Rodeo(Rodeo) with enough “ooohh” and “aaahh” moments on the screens. Good for a laugh or two, but after a while a 800KG bull smashing a cowboy over and over again becomes boring, so we moved to our last stop. This Irish Pub had everything except dwarfs that we would be able to throw away (damn you Tindall!! Why you, and not us!?): live band performing, drunk firewomen, people who partially know the lyrics (most of the time that would include us as well), people standing on tables who got kicked out immediately. It was a good night, so we decided to head back to our hostel. On the way back we passed one more club where we just had to take a look. By the time the lights went on inside and the doorbitch (read: a 2m tall, 1m wide, pumped-up, mohawked Maori fella) gently asked us to leave the premises, we finally went back home.

Upon arrival at our hostel, we found that the two other beds – which were empty when we left our hostel – were now filled. We knew, but forgot, that we were sharing rooms with others. The next morning, or just a couple of hours later, we heard some stumbling: our roommates were awake and were probably taking revenge of last night (or, just a couple of hours earlier). As polite as Hasan was (actually letting them know that he woke up from their stumbling), he talked to the roomies, who appeared to be girls from the UK. After a short talk they went off and we got our precious couple of hours of sleep.

Finally it was Friday, the day of the game between Japan and the AllBlacks. By the time we were all showered, cleaned and freshened up, we went into town to get some breakfast/lunch. We found an excellent spot in a restaurant and sat practically there the entire day, till it was time to go to another place to have some food before the game starts. We decided to hop into a Thai restaurant; where we did our magic with chopsticks (it must’ve been an entertaining sight… for others… at least the personnel… who already warned Hasan that “hot” was “HOT”…).

Then it became time to enter the Waikato Stadium. It was obviously not as impressive as Eden Park in Auckland, but the atmosphere was terrific. We had no roof above us, but luckily there was no rain, and we were even more blessed with the amount of tries that were scored by the AllBlacks. It was, however, very impressive to see how everyone applauded the Japanese when they scored their try.

After the game, we decided to go back to our hostel, because we already misbehaved the night earlier and we had to take a solid couple of hours of driving the next morning.

On Saturday morning we decided to move to Gisborne, which is on the East Side of the country. On the way, we first visited the Hell’s Gate – a smelly, burstling, blubber, touristic site that displays numerous sceneries where the earth crust appears to be very (read: VERY) thin. The best thing you can do is to check the photos to understand what it is.

After Hell’s Gate, we followed te Waioeka Journey (“Te Awa Tamatea” for the intimae); a beautiful trail passing several “Pa’s” (Maori villages/carvings). Not that we actually stopped to look at the carvings, but the road itself was quite amazing: through hills and valleys, soft and sharp corners, and of course typical but unique sceneries.

After a couple of hours of driving, we finally arrived late afternoon in Gisborne. We checked into our hostel and moved out again to a restaurant with screens to fill our tummies and watch the upset Ireland caused in Rugby world by beating the Aussies. Hasan did receive a message from his Australian director, indicating that the Kiwis support two teams: the AllBlacks and anyone playing against Australia. Hasan disagreed: Kiwis support also teams playing the French…

Once the game was finished, everyone left the bar and we were left with the some personnel who intended to close their bar on a Saturday night around 11PM. Quite unusual, but we were allowed by the lovely lady to watch the opening ceremony on the Telly, as we were in the stadium and did not have the chance to see it on TV (it was a lot different than we experienced it!). After the opening ceremony, and a shot we got from the barlady, we moved on to the bar called The Flying Dutchman. Unfortunately a private function was going on, so we had to move on to a bar called “Sessions”. Since the both of us did not have much feeling for a night of Hip-Hop, we moved on to our last option: the Kingfisher. Luckily for us, this was quite a good place to be: a big enough dance floor, enough space to sit and talk, and a good turnover speed at the bar (get your drink, give money). After some discussions about football versus rugby with a Romanian – and a Kiwi who used to play league on a higher level – we called it a day and went back to our hostel.

The next morning – keep up guys… It is Sunday morning now – we had breakfast in Soho (yep, Gisborne has a Soho!). After breakfast we wanted to arrange our accommodation in Napier. There we did find out that the game between Canada and France was going to take place, which meant that approximately 15 to 20,000 tourists were in town. This was an unexpected and somewhat unpleasant surprise, as the first two hostels we called told us that they had no rooms available. Fortunately, our third call was a strike and we booked our accommodations. With that done, we moved to the Winery of Matawhero to taste some wine; accompanied with delicious cheese. The winery was small and cosy, and the weather on the Sunday afternoon was perfect, so we wanted to stay for longer. Unfortunately we still had to drive, so it was a wise idea to thank our host and move on.

After a couple of hours of driving, we arrived in Napier, where we dropped our stuff in the hostel and moved on to the bar – the Irish Pub called the Rose – to have some food and watch the game. We were talking to some Kiwis dressed in Red (as Kiwis support anyone playing France), who convinced us to go to the game as well. Easier done than said…. We found ourselves two tickets and marched towards the stadium. Unfortunately it was raining, but standing with a group of (drunk) Canadians was worth it. The game itself was pretty impressive, but as expected, the French went home with a victory.

As the amount of pubs were limited in Napier, we quickly moved to our hostels after the game to get changed and moved back to the Rose bar, before the huge crowd would come. The door-policy was pretty stricked and because of Bassie’s red eyes (and nose), he was asked if he was pissed already. After a convincing “no”, we went in. We had some drinks, talked to some people – including a Dutch guy from Roosendaal who was moving around by himself – and finally headed home.

The next morning we had breakfast in a restaurant, visited the New Zealand National Aquarium, walked from the Aquarium all the way up to Bluff Hill Lookout to have a beautiful view over Hawke’s Bay (Napier). While walking, we also enjoyed the typical Art Deco architechtured buildings and houses. Luckily we were able to lift together with a couple of gents from Zurich, so we did not have to walk again. It was already getting dark and cold, so that felt pleasant. We went back to Rose Bar for a drink together with some of the Canadian players. As we did not want to have dinner in that same bar, we moved on for another place and ended up at the Chambers Restaurant, where we finally had excellent food. Well deserved, as we would say!!

The next morning (Tuesday, right?) we had breakfast at a bakery, where next door outside a Haka performance was going on. That will always wake you up! After breakfast we visited the Mission winery, which was a little south of Napier. We tasted some wine, listened to some stories of this NZ oldest winery, and took some photos.

Then it was time to move out again; this time to Taupo. Arrived at the hostel, we finally had some time to do our laundry (and believe me; it was about time!). It took us more than 3 hours – including the drying. When we had our clothes back, we moved into town to have dinner and watch the rugby game on the Telly. Again, this happened into one of the two Irish pubs. We did not stay much longer after the game, but did manage to kill some time finding our way back to the hostel… Shit happens, and sometimes that’s OK.

This morning we did a trip over Lake Taupo with a sailboat. The weather was excellent: sun, clear sky, a little breeze (which actually got stronger to the end of the two and a half hours of sailing). Check the photos for the stone carvings; as they are quite impressive!

After sailing, we had some lunch and moved back to our hostel to write this story…

Tonight: go into town, have some dinner, watch the Japan – Tonga game and take it easy. For tomorrow, something big is coming up. Check our Tweets (top menu), as we’re not going to tell you yet what is going to happen!!



Posted: September 23, 2011

Author: Has

Category: Blog

+1 Comment
  1. Kim & Edith from Forty Winks says:

    I LOVE your style of writing! It is so amusing and fun and I can picture what you are saying. Thanks.

    Thank you for your message from Pierre. Yes, I was also sad not to see you when you stayed at Forty Winks (love the pictures!). I had ‘flu and I did not want to chance that I spread it to the customers. I know from travelling myself, one is susceptible to picking up germs against which one has not built up immunities. I did not want you all getting sick on such an exciting trip.

    I am pleased, however, that you enjoyed the match and you have had fun.
    Thanks for sharing the excitement and travels with us.

    Kim and Edith

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