New Zealand – February 26, 2016

Good Morning, Rotorua. It’s a little fetid in our strange suite-like setup in the Sport of Kings Motel. Basically, it’s one bedroom suite, with a single bed in the kitchenette/living room, which also contains side-by-side La-Z-Boys. However, should someone wish to sleep with the fishes, through the bedroom is a hot tub room with a steamy, bubbly jacuzzi. Sulfuric dampness permeates all things. And not only that, but coffee situation is once again fucking unsatisfactory. A cup of bogus instant won’t do.

Soon, we’re on our way south to Orakei Korako, a geothermal zone accessible by launch across a man-made lake. An immense calcium and silica terrace appears to be sliding into the water. Pathways lead up through forest and fumaroles. The each level of the terrace has a grandiose name that bears no relation to its actual appearance. Walking through the vapors and the gurgling is very entertaining. So is observing our fellow tourists, also vaporous and gurgling. On the launch ride back, we are directed to an eel-viewing platform that adds an element of creepy nature to the trip.

Back at Rotorua, we deal with practical matters – breakfast foods, more gingernut biscuits, a full tank of gas, and the dreaded, absolutely necessary, laundry. It takes us three loads to restore spiffiness to our wardrobes.

Behind its hyper-touristy exterior, Rotorua has an admirable dining scene. Even the peculiarly named, Atticus Finch, in a block-long outdoor food court, serves up delicious light fare. And more people to watch. After dinner, we get ice cream cones and stroll to the lakeside through what billed itself as a ‘gypsy encampment’ and truly is. It’s a thrown-together carnival / community, with plenty of opportunity to spend (lose) money.

 

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