And I am officially back from New Zealand! Celebrate. Lolx. Ok just kidding. I shall use this time to dump super long entries...
Date: 5th December Time: 1.51pm NZ time Mood: Nutty
Dear diary, I missed one night of writing, and yes, I do have my reasons. Allow me to start from what happened yesterday. Our first move - Auckland to Bay of Islands. Who can be a tourist and travel to a different country without going to lookout points to view the land's beautiful scenery? David brought us to North Head, a hill which used to be a Naval Defence post, something about being prepared in case Russia came to attack long ago, with pill boxes and guns. There were caves, underground tunnels, guns and even a cannon (both sealed) for tourists to look at and about. The view from the hill was pretty amazing too! I managed to shoot a picture of the reflection of the sun in the sea. We headed for a long drive to a small town where we ate at a cool cafe just above an art gallery. Eggs Benedict - Yummy. We went to view art gallery downstairs. The two-hour drive to Bay of Islands was pretty horrible. I got a little carsick one and a half hours down the road. There was one point where there had been a fatal accident, thus all vehicles were diverted. Our truck was forced to go down a really dusty road. When I say dusty, I don't mean a few specks here and there, I mean giant dust clouds. Everytime a car drove along the road, its wheels would kick up clouds of dust onto the car behind it. By the time we got into Waitangi in Bay of Islands, the entire truck was nicely covered... in brown dust and dirt. We checked in and rested in our hotel rooms. Here's the thing: The rooms come with heaters, they do not come with air-conditioning, not even fans. The windows do not come with bug nets; only the balcony door of my parents' suite does, thank goodness the windows have shutters and shades at least. We spent the afternoon at the beach. Stopped at some shops to buy slippers and shorts while David and Richard bought our lunch of Fish & Chips. The beach was icky, well some of it at least. The part where the sand is moist was pretty littered with all sorts of junk. The area where the tide came to was so muddy, gooey, and had algae on it. The muddy and gooey part was cool though; I got myself a mud pack to the feet, not that anyone will actually look at them. =) Intially, we planned to go kayaking, but due to harsh and cold winds and the strong currents, dad decided it wasn't safe. Thus, Chris, Vannie and I started to splash about in the cold, muddy algae-ish sea water. Richard and David brought out something for us to play with, a kite. I assumed that they saw that Kor was getting a little bored. It was really fun. The kite is not the kind you would have seen in kindergarden shows where - you have to run just to get the kite to fly or the kind with a reel of string to roll back and forth just to wind the strings, or the kind that is diamond-shape with a cross spread out in the middle. It has a pretty cool deisgn, and you manuoevre it like you are water-skiing. We took turns to try flying the kite; I dive-bombed my first two tries, but on the third I managed to keep it up in the sky. For the dinner, David and Richard were going to take us across the sea to the island of Russell. We stopped at a bar at a place called "Swordfish Club" so thatn the adults could have drinks. Once again, underage. The Swordfish club is really cool. They actually preserve and hang up the "historical" and "biggest" catches around the bar. They even displayed shark teeth! After dinner, we took the 9pm passenger ferry back to Waitangi. The wind was wonderful. We actually took a vehicle ferry to Russell. When we came back, we realised we forgot to shut the windows. The rooms had lots of moths. Disgusting with a capital 'D'. Vannie and I were simply freaked, while the boys were catching and killing the bugs, and mum was shouting at them to hurry up with their killing. This morning, we got up real early to prepare for the dolphin trip. We took quite a long time to find a pod of dolphins after we got onto the boat. When we found them, they were so cute!!!!!! It was great fun watching them swim and 'show off'. When we finally got to a swimming area, our boat guard announced that the waters were choppy and cold. The boys went. I didn't go for three reasons: 1) Not a strong swimmer 2) Small size VS strong currents = BAD!!! 3) Didn't know how to use a snorkel.
Dad actually struggled and seeing the state he was in made me glad that I didn't go in. After my dad's traumatic experience, we decided to go back to let him nap while we ate lunch. At 3, we went for a tour at the National Trust, and learnt some history about the Maori tribes of New Zealand. It was pretty interesting, although I'll admit that at one point I was more interested in a flower garden that the history the tour guide was talking about. After the tour, we stopped at some souvenir and gift stores for some shopping. Mum and I were about to go cold turkey. Dinner was at a restraunt inside a ship (yes, an actual ship, modified obviously), called the Sugar Boat. We then had to walk back to the hotel which was basically on the other side of the bridge, which was right outside the restraunt anyway. The night sky was so beautiful, we could see the starsin the darkness quite clearly. Well, I better go sleep. We have another early start and a long drive to Rotorua.
Date: 6th December 2005 Time: 11.18 pm NZ time Mood: In pain... Help me!
Dear diary, Thank goodness half the day was spent on the road or I would be spending this entry screeching my head off. My reason - I either pulled the muscles in my wrist, sprained my wrist, or have a hairline fracture in my wrist. Like I mentioned in my previous entry, we had yet another early start. We literally ate breakfast at 11.30am in a town somewhere outside Rotorua. We were supposed to get somewhere for a tour of a site used for the Hobbit Town in LOTR, but since mum shopped after breakfast (brunch, actually), and sicne we all desperataly needed a toliet break, we missed the tour. David tried requesting a private family tour for us, but the organisers were going to charge us $400! For a one-hour tour! Rip-off! Thank goodness we didn't go. Thus, we decided to go tryout the Zorb. My brothers and I went for a 3-in-1 Hydro Zord. I was so fun. We went inside the plastic ball that contained a bit of warm water, and tried to walk off the top of the hill, before we all crashed and tumbled around as the Zorb rolled the hill. We then went for the Freefall Extreme which is a skydiving stimulator. It was quite fun but a bit scary too, since there was a possibility that I could fly off. Unfortunately, I took a nasty tumble and landed on my hand during my second try. Thus the state I'm in now. I can't do the luge tomorrow, but I don't really mind. My wrist is nicely bandaged and has been treated with Deep heat cream. Our last thing was a Maori Experience, which was a re-acting of a tribe long time ago. We experienced the welcoming, a few acts of Maori life, a concert, we even had a dinner cooked Maori style! Our bus driver had hilarious, he made us sing a country song, thus my family, the Singpaoreans, sand Majulah Singapura. We finally have internet at this hotel! =P I feel weird with my wrist in this state, it is restricting me from doing a lot of things. I usually help my mum dry Vannie's hair after her shower, but I can't now. Now I know what it is like to be amputated, hadicapped, or realistically, bandaged.
Dear diary, I missed another night of writing dur to exhaustion and mum's go-to-sleep-now order. First thing, because Chris was desperate for it, was the luge. We had breakfast at this awesome artistic cafe called "Fat Dog". People should put this place on their list of Places to see before you die or at least when you visit Rotorua, NZ. It is so cool! So, onto the luge. Obviously, due to my fracture, I wasn't allowed to ride. Then, sad to say, it started to rain... heavily. David suggested we try the Rotorua Maori Museum first, and Dad agreed. The museum is huge. It used to be a public bath house way back when. I was not really paying attention to the exhibits =P (Guilty as charged!) We saw this short film about the colcano in Rotorua. That was pretty cool. The rain finally died down and we headed to the luge. As we rode up in the gondola (huge cable car), a group of goirls had split into a few gondolas, and as they were going down, they waved to us. We must have passed at least four gondolas with people waving to us. While Richard, David, mum, kor, chris and Vannie rode the luge, Dad and I stayed behind to take pictures. As we were going down the gondola, this time, a group of boys had split into several gondolas and were going up to the luge. Everytime a gondola went up, the boys inside would wave! Talk about Deja Vu. Some of them were pretty cute. Haha. We had our picnic in the park near lake Rotorua. Another delicious lunch. The playground in the park is huge! It has at least six sections all connected together. Mum and I wanted to go shopping after lunch, but it began to pour cats and dogs. We were once again late on the wake-up call today, approximately 20 to 30 min. Along with the few stops we made, the trip from Rotorua to Martinborough was our longest and most gruesome yet. I think once we return to Singapore, I'll go into 'brat mode' and refuse to sit in a car for days, maybe even weeks! I'm starting to get slightly claustrophobic and car-sick on these rides. Our first stop was the "Thermal Centre" outside Rotorua. It's like a outdoor museum of Volcanic Craters, sulphur pools and stuff like that and they are huge Our second stop was the Huka Jet. It is similar to the shotover jet in Queenstown. My family felt that it was better though; For one thing, it was smaller, a bit more gentle, and the distrubution of water was definitely good during each 360 degree turn. The driver took us to the Huka Falls. I know I've been saying this very often but... BEAUTIFUL. Nature at its best. The water that flows down these falls is a clear sky-blue - Too good to be true. It's reare to find any source of water that blue. Besides toliet stops at a petrol station and a war musuem, the rest of it was more or less driving. Oh we did see something interesting though. We driving along a hill/mountain, and on the side of the moutain across us was a train track. On the side of the train track, some people had painted words. I really salute those people who climbed up the mountain or jumped off the train and climbed down to paint. Anyway, shoutout to my dear twin sister, someone painted the name "Stacey". Another interesting one was "__ + Tim".... I can't remember what was the other name, but shoutout to Timothy and the lady he was matched with. Haha! The cottage in Martinborough is real peaceful, a bit lonely too but not so bad. Cute.
Date: 9th December 2005 Time: 6 smth... Mood: Thirsty... I'm going to get smth to drink after this.
Dear diary, Mum and I were in desperate need of retail therapy, so David brought us to GreyTown for some shopping. Sadly, there is nothing much to buy there. Then, my brother and dad went for claybird shooting. That was really loud. All the time, I sat in the truck reading a magazine. After that was entirely vineyards, just for my dad. It gave me the chance to get started on my book "Second Summer of the Sisterhood" Richard and David decided to come over for dinner after David saw the cooking mechanism on the backporch. a BBQ pit. They cooked a wonderful BBQ dinner. I forgot to mention earlier that I've taken off my bandage. The only problem left is that I cannot twist my left arm fully and I cannot lean or put pressure on it.
Date: 10th December 2005 Time: 9.47pm NZ Mood: Exhausted, Freaked
Dear diary, AHHHHH!!!!! I gained weight! How not to anyway? If we weren't on the road or at a stop, we were probably eating. I just did 50 crunches. I just have to remember to shave off my fats before the school year begins. 11 hours - 9 hours on the road and 2 hours for stops. After all that, my leg was cramping, my butt was aching and my head was spinning. Thank goodness David is a steady driver. Basically, today's highlight was the Waitomo caves, 'Wai' meaining water and 'tomo' meaning hole. The cave is really cool. The entire cave is of limestone rock and goes to approximately 35m deep or so. The stars of the show were the cave's glowormsn, which are larvae, the worm stage of a certain insect. Since caves are dark, the gloworm has an advantage to catching food. It strings a "web" in the dark and the tail of each worm would glow. When other insects see the light, they would be attracted to it and fly towards it, and thus, get caught in the web and become "dinner" for the gloworm. Cool, huh?
Date: 13th December 2005 Time: Who cares... Mood: Sleepy
Dear diary, I cannot believe I actually watched "Dukes of Hazzard"; They literally used Jessica Simpson for her face, body and sexuality. So 11th Dec - Mum's retail therapy day. David took us to this awesome mall, and amazingly, the boys spent more than us. Wow. Three shirts - That's all I bought. The myth about shopping being only for women - definitely not true. We went to this other district in Auckland and found this really cool art and design shop, the artist's name is Sally Clough, and her stuff is really beautiful. 12 Dec- More shopping in the morning. Afternoon was for Quad Bikes. We actually lied to the guides there. Technically, the minimum age for the bikes is 16 yrs old, but this particular company allowed the 14 yr olds to ride on their own. We wrote in the forms that both Chris and I were 14! Haha. Thank goodness they didn't check the forms. So I rode around the practice track on my own, and realised I had a small problem with gears and acceleration. I got used to the acceleration after a few rounds. The guide helped me a bit and did ask if I wanted to ride with him because I was pretty small, and there was a possibility that I may not be able to handle the bike in the woods, I did consider this. In the end, I went on my own. THe guide told me that if I wanted, I could jump off any time in the woods and just abandon the bike. He said he could "come back for it later" So we all got on some gear (goggles and helmets, the track is really dusty), and headed off. So for the entire hour, I only had two near-crashes. I did pretty well. I even managed to do well in the steep slope, where the guide had to help us individually. It was really awesome. So right now I'm sitting at home. The moment we stepped out of the airport, we could immediately feel the rush of heat. Even though the cold winds of NZ were really enjoyable, nothing beats Singapre's climate. It's good to be home.