19 March 2007 (New Zealand)

Because all the highlights of New Zealand are located far away from each other, every tiny collection of rusty old things or every better designed garden, immediately is touted as THE centerpiece of the day in the info-guides.
Sometimes these highlights can be somewhat disappointing for tourists who are used to a much higher degree of amusement. However a few go-getting entrepreneurs are trying to brush this up with Bungee jumping and Zorbas to adrenalinazing the face of New Zealand, you better stay away if you just love the polished perfection of Disney World.
I love Disney at times, but I also appreciate the New Zealander who tries to make something out of nothing, without being bothered by the expectations of the spoiled tourist. Or even don’t have a fainted idea of what those expectations may be.
Above all New Zealand is famous for its breathtaking scenery, but did you know that nature is also quite boring? Magical and incredibly beautiful, but if you are not susceptible to a lot of shades of green, you won’t survive the boredom. Just like that dreadful Lord of the Rings.
Frankly, I find New Zealand personally a great place to live, but for that fairy tale feeling I more need pictures of the Far East. But you better do not live in a fairy tale, because then where do you have to go on vacation?
Together with Frank’s parents we slowly have been driven to Wellington in our car. Wellington is located at the lower tip of the North Island. After 1 week Frank and I went back to Whakatane by plane and the parents booked the ferry to explore the South Island.
But now, what were the highlights of our little trip?

The first stop was the Waitomo Caves, or the glow-worm caves. You can see the glow worms hanging on the slimy ceilings of the caves, while you are sitting in a boat sailing through small waters. Frank and I already had seen them on our first trip in 2003, so we stayed in our hotel and let the parents do the event. That didn’t matter because that morning we had seen the most fantastic stalagmite in the world. A long time ago the concierge of the hotel had created a huge yellow/brown/grayish sculpture of silicone sealant, right in the corner of our bathroom! Over the years it had gotten a glossy patina of mucus and that had attracted a variety of pubic hairs.
I’m sorry I didn’t think to use my camera at that moment of discovering.

Mount Ruapehu is a high snowy volcano. At the foot, in the village of Ohakune they sell skis. There wasn’t much to do, but it was so quiet and peaceful. An atmosphere like in your childhood days on a warm autumn day when you played truant, and there was no one else on the street.
In Whanganui something happened to me of what every superficial woman is hoping for … a rival fellow woman recognized me wearing the only piece of designer clothing I own!!! Only sold in New York and Los Angeles (and Tauranga), for the price of a decent used moped. I was proud! I had bought it prior to the first art contest, at the time that I was still confident of winning. Anticipating the series of speeches I should have to do on stage. Haha.
Sad, isn’t it? But the contest attempts aren’t over yet.

Wellington itself was a city like so many other cities. The highlight was the botanical garden with a small fish pond in a greenhouse. I stuck my finger in the pond and left it there for a good ten minutes to let it be kissed by a few dozens of fish. That mentally excited me to such heights, that at night I ordered the second bottle of beer in my life. The first was in 1982.