MaoriMay 8 in New Zealand
A note on language. All the words here are Maori language. And however you might consider pronouncing them, it's wrong. Incredibly wrong. It reminds me of Iceland, and reminds Nate of Hawaii. What is it about the native languages of volcanic islands? In fact, as you read this, you're probably reading the word Maori wrong. Go ahead, say it in your head.
If you're like me, you're saying some variant that sounds like may-OH-ree. Saying that here will get you an instant correction. It's pronounced something more like MOW (rhymes with wow) - ree.
Yesterday we hiked to Haruru falls. Pronounced Ha-doo-doo. I don't KNOW why!
When Nate and I vacation together, one of the most common questions is Why? Why the Isle of Man? Why Arran? Why the Isle of Islay (which, by the way, is pronounced EYE-la)? Why New Zealand? I'm never prepared for these questions, and the answer is rarely something short and chit chatty. But I'm working on my chit chat game. And for New Zeland, I've come up with geologic activity. For Nate, being a Geologist and all, he loves to look at it. For me, I love to sit in it.
Yesterday two locals on separate occasions recommended the same nearby hot spring to us, so we figured we had to try it. But to do that, I had to know how to spell it. It made me feel a bit better that it took about 3 employees at the grocery to come up with the proper spelling. Because what it sounded like they were saying was Naffa.
Such a simple, straight forward word. I felt certain I could type it into google and get there. But luckily, I thought I'd just double check the spelling. Turns out to be Ngawha.
They said it's run by the Maori, in the Maori style of smearing mud on. I had no idea what that was, but was open to the idea. Sixteen different pools of different temperatures. Differrent colors. We found two I considered real Goldilocks pools, and spent most of our time in those. They were blacker than black. They were black like being in a cave. Just a few inches below the surface you could see nothing at all. All body parts disappeared in the black volcanic mud water.
I had a vision of some kind of horror movie where a face floats up from the unknown blackness. So I asked Nate to get my phone for a video. He's so kind and sweet and obliging. I'm totally facing a weird way and the effect was not creepy at all. But you can definately see me emerge from dark black water.
Nate got a black ring around his chest. Similar to a ring around a tub, from his seated level. I scooped out the volcanic mud and smeared it around my face to make a beard and moustache. It was highly amusing to myself. When I rinsed it off, I only had a 5 o'clock shadow.
The real kicker - there were no showers to shower off afterward. And my hair still smells strongly of sulfur. Ah well, at $4 NZD, I'd say well worth it.
From there, we began our journey back south. Camping at Waipu tonight. Beachside again, the sound of the crashing waves is incredible. There's a massive dune separating us from the water.Read more