Late last year I travelled to New Zealand with my son, the Lawyer of these pages. I was reminded of one particular post from that trip by Helen Jones’ piece that referenced a man made surfing lake in North Wales. Helen is a little like me and prefers watching these sort of exploits from the shore. That’s why this post was headed ‘A day of rest’. That turned out to be optimistic. Intrigued? Please read on.
Hmm, would someone tell the Lawyer please?
I know I know. I’m lucky to be his companion. I’m only too aware that he asked all 917 ‘friends’ on facebook if they’d go with him. He even put a card in the newsagent before he saw that spotty geeky moon-faced boy with no teeth and glasses waving at the back ‘Take me, take me!!! Please!!’
Of course the chance of better hotels than the youth hostels he’d experienced on his travels so far was a plus – I’m of an age when it is a must to have (and fortunate to be able to afford) a flushing toilet that is not shared with more than two others.
Thus it was we left Hobbiton for Rotorua. Rotorua is the NZ centre of the hot springs, thermal pools with a tangy farty atmosphere than draws people from all over. We have a Maori experience booked – that’s tonight and will feature in the next post. So I anticipated a walk maybe, a visit to somewhere bubbling and deeply embedded in nature. I may have even said as much.
So what happens? He twists my words. Bubbling, embedded in nature…
Yep, white water rafting.
‘You need to challenge your fears’ they say. I have no idea who this self selecting ‘they’ might be but they should mind their own business frankly.
Of course I could say no. I know the word. I’ve used it many times. I could have pleaded (pled?):
1. I’m 58 and I creak
2. I hate swimming and have an almost phobia about being out of my depth in water
3. I’m one of life’s pratfall artists so if a boat is going to tip over and empty its crew in a torrent, I’ll be in it. Like this.
And when the boat gets to this point…
… you’re sure it’s going over. I didn’t say no. The Lawyer is NOT getting bragging rights that easily. Ha! And I survived. Clearly. Who would be writing this post if I didn’t. My ghost? Mwah ha HA!
Rotorua Rafting Co did an awesome – and I mean that in its truest sense – job of taking us down the river. At no stage did I feel scared…
I was putting on the scary face…
Of course once or twice I overcame my natural shyness
We were meant to be paddling but I think I was trying to crown our driver. Anyway, we made up.
Of course one should know best. These people always have fun at one’s expense
We had one more rapid and then it was home. Sam, the driver, not the Lawyer, said ‘Boys, sit in the front.’ We should have argued. We should have questioned.
We knew it couldn’t last
And then this
At the end the crew of the two boats that went down the river were brought together for a ‘team photo’ by the irritatingly cheery camera man with an outrageous French accent. ‘Make ze silly moves, cheris’
You would naturally assume a quiet afternoon to follow, maybe a sauna or some hot rocks, something to loosen up tired joints, to ease us back to reality?
Mountain biking anyone?
I know, a glutton. But I love mountain biking not that I get any chances to experience it in London. And I don’t do the cycling miles that I used to in order to have the legs and the lungs to make the most of it. However Rotorua is one of the three tops places in the world, after Whistler and France to mountain bike. The mountain here is pretty much given over to them so no hiker or horse interferes with crazy descents or stops tricky ascents. I came off four times, into heather, against tree roots, on stones and down steps and loved every stupid second of it.
And I’ve yet to see a hot spring or a thermal pool. Tomorrow. Maybe. You’ll just have to wait and see.
Now for the Maoris. Hope I don’t doze off…