After nearly getting killed on the yacht, (just kidding) we arrived safe and sound in Rotorua. Unfortunately New Zealand didn’t fare as well, and thanks to me, the North Island has one less road post along the Coromandel highway and one less bird on Route 5. Fortunately, once we got to Rotorua, in order to wind down from the incredibly stressful driving situation I was able to get into our awesome hostel’s incredibly hot hot tub and relax. If you ever find yourself in Rotorua – Crash Palace, do it.
Following the hot tub I pretty much crawled into bed and woke up in direct defiance of my Polish sister’s orders in her going away letter to me, “No staying with random guys.” When I woke up and absorbed my surroundings I realized I had slept in a 10 bed dorm room packed with 8 dudes and 1 chick – all of whom were seemingly speaking German. In accordance with my German friend’s assessment – this is also never a good thing.
I was on my own for the day, but thankfully there were plenty of free walks I could take around the sulfur geyers – aka the things that made the whole town smell oppressively of rotting eggs. Fortunately, I ended up making friends with one of the Germans in the room and he agreed to let me tag along on his walk through the park – even though in typical Risa fashion I ran late and sort of made him wait for me. Yeah I suck.
Anyway if there’s one thing I can say about Rotorua it’s that it helped me bring one of my favorite childhood movies to life. No it wasn’t a trip to Hobbittown for the Lord of the Rings (which is where Mark & Aracely went), it was something much more classic. I had found the Bog of Eternal Stench and after taking one whiff of the place, I immediately hoped Hoggle, Ludo and Sir Didymus would appear. And while there’s something cool about walking on land caked with mud that had boiled out of steaming pools and geysers, holy shit….that smell. At first I was able to manage it but once we started hopping the safety barriers to get a closer look at the pools I nearly passed out from the odor. Other than that it was actually pretty awesome, and the steam rising from the ground sort of made me feel like I was walking on a volcano.
We also got to see a bird preserve and the elusive black swan – it looked nothing like Natalie Portman.
We also walked through one of the parks where they had a little pool you could stick your feet which was pretty nice, and we had a great conversation about how American’s have this really stupid, annoying habit of saying “it was like…” and then just trailing off. Guilty. I was also informed that apparently our government took a vote back in the day and had it gone differently, American’s would be speaking German. Can someone please verify this for me? I know Germans are set on world domination and this would be one big score for the USA over the evil Germans. Just kidding, I love Germans. No seriously, you can’t say otherwise when you’re traveling – Germans are literally everywhere. And I don’t want to be threatened with the Bog of Eternal Stench.