November 25th, 2008 – by: Rubbertoe
Enough said in the title. A little black cloud followed me all the way from Tauranga to Rotorua. I donâ€™t know what I did to deserve the unwanted attention, maybe I was being punished for corrupting old John, but it rained the entire morning. In fact, apart from a short dry spell, when I managed to sneaked out of the car and reach the library, it poured London rain all day long. So I staid in the library and caught up with some writing.
The next day was just as bad, but I was determined to get out and walk around town.
The first thing you notice, partly because everyone mentions it before you get there, is the strong smell of rotten eggs in the air. Errrâ€¦ no, it wasnâ€™t me this time; the pungent odour comes from the sulphur of many geo-thermal activities in the area. It is true what they sayâ€¦ you sure can pop a stinker and no one would notice! That was me, outside MacDonald at 12:32 on Monday the 24! Hey, maybe they should put up signs, where the smell is pretty bad, saying â€˜Fart Free Areaâ€™. Iâ€™m not sure how that would improve anyoneâ€™s life, but it would certainly make me laugh, and laughter is a good therapy right? However bad, the smell was nowhere near to that of the back of my car, when I got up every morning, phew whew! Rotoruaâ€™s sulphur was a breath of fresh air in comparison!
My first geo-thermal sighting was at Kuirau Park, on the west side of the city.
It is a big public park with many hot bubbling mud pools enclosed by railings, to avoid any accidents. The sun was about to disappear, and the hot steam rising from the surface of these mucky waters combined with the intense smell of sulphur made me feel like I was walking through the film set of a horror movie. I could just visualize a hairy werewolf or Nosferatu jump out from behind the bushesâ€¦ Harrr! Yeah, scary stuff right? :-) I needed to relax, so I went for a soothing hot soak in the mineral pools of the Polynesian spa, which I spotted on my way in. It wasnâ€™t cheap, at a cost of $20, but it was bloody marvellous I tell you! There were 7 pools to choose from. One large and undercover, where you could have a proper swim; and 6 small ones of different temperature, overlooking the Lake. The setting was fantastic.
Rotorua - Polynesian spa
The spa is open till 11pm and the best time to go is at night, when itâ€™s quiet, less busy and you can admire a clear sky and stars reflected on the lake. Unfortunately I didnâ€™t bring my camera because I didnâ€™t think it would be allowed to take photos, with other customers walking around half naked. Itâ€™s not done right? Wrongâ€¦ everyone else there had a camera! Oh yes, hereâ€™s a story for the â€˜shocking momentsâ€™ folder. I was comfortably poaching in the hottest pool when an old Japanese dude asked me to take a photo of his group. They all squeezed into my pool and when he passed me the camera, he dropped it in the hot waterâ€¦ OHâ€¦ MYâ€¦ GOD!!! Iâ€™ve broken three cameras in my trip, so I know exactly what it feels like to realise that you â€˜might haveâ€™ damaged it. There was a brief and painful silence; I looked at him as if he had just chopped his finger with a meat cleaver, then they all burst out laughing! Eh? â€˜No warry No warryâ€™ he said, still pissing him self with laughter â€˜wata proof, wota proofâ€™â€¦ you little bugger! I didnâ€™t think Japanese had a sense of humour. I got him back though â€˜cos I took the photo and cut everyoneâ€™s head off! Just joking :-)
Hot steam in Kuirau Park