Sunday, November 15th, At Sea between Australia and New Zealand
We started off our morning with a very informative lecture on New Zealand by Clive Raharuhi, a New Zealander. Although Maori, you surely could not discern that from his appearance or his perfectly pronounced English, which blew apart my "Maori" stereotype. Since New Zealand is inherently multi-cultural with Maoris, Europeans, and other Pacific Islanders all mixed together, Clive was the perfect person to present the information on Dunedin, Christchurch, and Wellington, our first three ports of call.
Clive's presentation mixed videoclips, beautiful Powerpoint slides, and fascinating tidbits of history in a kaleidoscopic portrait of a fascinating country. The physical beauty of many areas of New Zealand was simply stunning (think "Lord of The Rings" films), and attached to that are a wide variety of sports. Some sports such as hiking, white water rafting and mountain biking, appealed greatly to me while others such as bungee jumping, hang gliding, and sail boarding looked rather "over the top".
Afterwards we carefully discussed the information Clive had given us about the tours to decide what tour to choose, which turned out to be remarkably difficult. We finally settled on a "Nature's Wonders" ecotour in Dunedin because we thought that might be our only chance to see some of the antipode's flora and fauna in situ. However, we really regretted not being able to do the train excursion through the Talieri Gorge or go bush hiking or see the sights of Dunedin. Sigh.
In both Wellington and Christchurch we decided to walk on our own around the cities to get a feel for them. In Wellington we hoped to meet Michael, the son of our next door neighbor, and his wife Kim who had emigrated to New Zealand a little over a year back. I thought it would be interesting to get their impressions of the country based on actually living and working there rather than just traveling through like we were.
For lunch we experimented with going to the Regency dining room for a nice, relaxed meal. We chatted with two nice Australian couples during the meal and that made it very pleasant. Our thought was that since we were assigned to the late seating, which was clearly impossible for me, we would just have our large meal at noon and then just have a light snack at the buffet in the evening. The quality of the food and service was excellent and I ate heartily. The desert was, of course, beautifully presented and quite yummy.
After lunch I tried to work out some of those calories by taking a Rumba class taught by Jerry and Ginger Halligan. They were great teachers and it was so nice to have both the male and female moves shown together. In the span of an hour they taught us the basic Rumba box step, the rotating box step, the cucaracha (cockroach) side step, the underarm turn, and the open-out-to-the side step sequence. Most folks were making good progress by the end of the lesson, and even I could get my feet in the correct places most of the time. At the end I declared a moral victory over the Rumba and we returned to our cabin, where I promptly took a nap.
Monika did some shopping, finding a nice yellow and gray polyester sweat suit for $17 and then settled in to read until I awoke shortly before dinner time, when we found a note outside our door that we had finally been assigned to table 127 in the Regency dinning room for the early dinner seating. We had a fine time dining there, but I ended up having another hearty meal, and two of those in one day was simply too much. I might have been OK if we had stayed up late and we had been able to walk on the deck, but the promenade deck was completely closed off due to the rough seas. We returned to our cabin and I tried to stay awake by doing a crossword puzzle but my eyes closed of their own accord and that was that for the night.
Copyright 2010 by R. W. Holt and E. M. Holt
|Prolog||Map of Cruise around New Zealand||Map of Drive through Victoria||Epilog|