I’ll post details that I’ve written later when I can get Internet access on my laptop. I just wanted to let you all know that we’re having a fantastic time here and have absolutely fallen in love with the area and the people. We toured a Maori village yesterday and then saw the boys perform with a local high school choirs.
Today we’re out doing touristy things again.
Details that I had written, now posting (on June 22 at 8:45 PM):
We went back to yesterday’s lunch restaurant for breakfast. The place is called Relish, and it’s fantastic. Good food, good wine, and good service. If you’re ever in Rotorua, look it up and go there.
After breakfast, we walked to a yarn shop in town so I could get some knitting needles to replace some that broke and then walked back to the hotel to get the car so we could drive to Whakarewarewa, the Thermal Village. This is a Maori village where about 30 families live, and they have guided tours and performances and shops and nature walks all around there. We spent about two hours taking the guided tour and then browsing in shops and taking the nature walk. It’s pretty awesome to think that the people in that village can still live the way their ancestors did, living off the land and using the natural resources. They still cook their meals in steam pits in the ground (Maori crockpot, I called it) and take baths in the super-soft mineral water in the center of the village.
We had quite a bit of downtime at the hotel before heading out for dinner and the boys’ performance at St. Luke’s. We stopped at a little corner “hamburger shack” for dinner–which was really delicious and cheap–and met a young man from Germany who is backpacking–by himself–through New Zealand. He started in Brisbane (I think), Australia, and has been to Sydney then through South Island and now working his way up the North Island. Really nice, super polite, very interesting to talk to.
The performance at St. Luke’s was the best ever. Our boys performed several numbers first, and then the girls choir from Western Heights High School girls choir did three numbers. Our boys performed again, including several solos (Joseph and Forrest). Next, the Western Heights girls and boys did another three. Those kids are so great, and their town should be proud of them. The evening’s performance ended with the GGBC “California Medley,” which got lots of laughs and applause.
Mom and I walked back to the hotel in something like 5- or 6-degree weather. Boy, are we walking a lot!