After my spouse left for the airport, I got ready and then got on the bus with the students for the drive down to Rotorua. It was fun; nice bus ride. That afternoon, 2 more orientation sessions. My colleague A learned the All Blacks haka with one group of students while B and I observed an orientation session with another group, then we all went down to Blue Lake for a barbeque. It was chilly, but some students went in the water. Yikes! Then we had dinner, drinks at the hostel, and tried to rationalize not going to the volunteer day on Saturday.
We didn’t go to the volunteer day. B and A (colleagues from my university) and M and S (colleagues from our partner organization) went to a spa to soak in the hot springs and have massages. I didn’t want to soak in the hot springs because it was possible that I was pregnant (I’ve since found out that I’m not), so I just wandered around all morning and explored the town.
Later, S and M had meetings and A was doing his own thing, so B and I tried to do something. Actually, we tried to do several things, and struck out every time! First we wanted to go to the Kapa Haka competition which was happening right by our hotel, but we went there and it was sold out. Then we went to see about the Rotorua Museum and it cost too much. Then we decided to go to Te Puia and the lady at the hotel desk told us it was a pleasant, 20-30 minute walk. Um, no. It was a 45 minute walk along one long, boring road. Ha! We laughed about it When we got there, entry was $46, and I had to be back at the hotel in about 2 hours to call my spouse, so I took a bus back and B went in.
That night we all (read: staff and students) went to Tamaki Maori Village (basically a simulation/show of a Maori village). My favorite part was the welcome ceremony (not my video)! They warned us not to laugh, but I wouldn’t have wanted to laugh anyway– it was fierce and beautiful, but definitely not funny! The village and the show and the food were pretty good, too, but not as cool as the welcoming ceremony. The bus ride back, however, was hilarious! B and I sat together and joked about this thing that looked like a button to turn on purple lights. The party bus button! He’s like, “Go ahead, push it! No one will know!” I’m like, “Yeah, until the disco ball comes down!” Also, the bus driver was trying to get people to lead songs. We (all) sang parts of “All You Need is Love,” “The Wheels on the Bus” (to which the driver provided a real ‘honk honk honk’), “All Star,” “You Are My Sunshine,” and “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain” (while the bus driver drove round-and-round a roundabout). Hilarious!