From Upover to Downunder and Back Again...

August-September 2007 From time to time some of us are let out from under our dank, stone bridges and let fly about the mundane planes. Sometimes we stop and linger here and there to smell beverages, taste the air or even buy souvenirs like plush toys, placemats or fudge. Although, fudge makes a poor souvenir since it never seems to make it home. The original plan was to go to Leeds in what used to be called Yorkshire. We didn't go so far astray because they reorganised the British counties (although it certainly didn't help... I'm pretty old fashioned in some ways). A trip downunder to New Zealand and Australia may have been our second choice (well third choice actually) but it could never be something to regret. I am reasonably convinced that people are pretty much the same, kind, helpful, wonderfully eccentric, generous and hospitable just about everywhere, but damn... some of them certainly do talk funny!

Tiny Mud Volcanoes (Rotorua)

Te Puia is the Maori part of Rotorua. It is famous for its boiling mud. They even sell it here. Here is a little drama playing out. I could not help imagining a little village on the slope with tiny villages fleeing for their lives...

Photo: S.MacLeod ©2007

Capital Punishment is for the Birds (Rotorua)

Te Puia. Apparently this nice little boat was filled with sugar water and nooses. The birds came to drink the delicious water and got their little necks stuck.... awwww.

Photo: S.MacLeod ©2007

Big Dolly Family (Rotorua)

It can be hard to get a good photograph of maori who are dancing in very complicated ways. No matter, the wonderful Te Puia gift shop had a family of big, sedate dollies by the exit...

Photo: S.MacLeod ©2007

Mitai Sacred Spring (Rotorua)

We spend an evening with the Mitai clan. Where they scare us with hakas, show us their scantily clad warriors canoeing up the stream and feed us a feast. Much jocularity.

They let us photograph their sacred spring with trout in the water.

Our 'guide' explained that once it was possible to walk from the sacred spring to the lake without seing anyone, but now they have a 'beautiful highway' running through the middle.

Just below the centre of the picture, you can see the reflection in the water of Luna which is partially eclipsed at this point.

Photo: S.MacLeod ©2007

Mitai Sacred Trout... (Rotorua)

The Mitai tribe let us take as many pictures as we wanted of their sacred springs. The water is warm but the clever trout manage to avoid getting cooked. One can actually see the water bubbling up into the pool.
Photo: S.MacLeod ©2007

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