Okay, so the Maori concert in Rotorua is where I left you dangling in suspense.
It almost left me that way when I arrived and they didn't seem to have my booking. However, they were very kind and fitted me in anyway. But then when I got on the bus they told to get on, I was told it was the wrong bus and my name wasn't on that bus's list. but they were very kind and took me to the concert anyway. I saw lots of Maori dancing around, ate lots of Maori food and generally had a jolly time. As is the small world of the backpacker I ended up sitting next to two girls I'd shared a hostel room with in Auckland. On my return to the buses, I found the correct bus and was promptly asked "are you Marie from Ireland?"
Then all the earlier confusion became clear. Clearly when the receptionist from my hostel phoned to book me she made a slight mistake and of course when I arrived they didn't have a booking for Morag from Scotland.... And so continues the seemly never ending confusion around my name. I am sure I have mentioned the Christie Morag's I've been getting, oh say. constantly. The constant 'oh Christie's your SURNAME' and the occasional 'oh I thought that was a man's name'. Who would have thought when my parents were looking down at my tiny frame just after my birth deciding to name me a slightly old fashioned, but not unusual name, that 25 years later it would dog my entire traveling career.
Anyway, that was the end of Rotorua and I got the bus the next day to Taupo. I don't think I mentioned that when I first arrived in Rotorua I didn't like it for no real reason, well the opposite was true about Taupo a mere hour away by road. A delightful little town in which I instantly found a second hand bookshop which I always take as a good sign. It also helped that my hostel compared the slightly odourous one before was marvellous and clean! I arranged then to do the Tongariro Alpine crossing, a 20km hike between two mountains, one of them being Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings. You can guess now why I was so keen to do it.
I was very fortunate as from the morning of the hike it was clear it was going to be a nice day. A cloudless sky and a warm sun. The two mountains standing proud almost side to side, parting slightly to let us pass to gaze up at the wonderous volanic rock that they were created from.
Yes, it was quite a romantic setting and I got quite carried away. I took about 80 pictures of Mount Doom. I also met a nice Australian lady police detective and we had a great chat about the recent bikie (not biker) war occuring in Sydney presently involving an airport murder.
After 7 hours of hiking I finally arrived at the other end feelign very self satisfied and seemed some how poetic that on my arrival back at the hostel that a couple of people were in the TV room watching The Fellowship of the Ring. I had a wee smile to myself. That evening I had a shower and felt incredibly healthy and fit.
I had already decided not to spent too long in any small town so I would time to see everything on my bus ticket (I'm not sure how long that enthusiasm will last) and that day I was due to go to Napier. However, I had a few hours to kill before my bus left so I wandered around Taupo. I walked along the lake and throught the parks. I sat on a bench and ate lunch. I watched a bird sitting on a tree trunk looking very happy with itself some men planting trees. It was all very picturesque, I didn't want to leave. Now imagine my delught when I arrived in Napier to find it was a small town just as fantastic, except I was later to discover it had 2 second hand bookshops!
Napier is famous for being struck in 1931 by a very nasty earthquake that leveled the town and as such it was rebuilt, but as the fashion of the time was art deco, all the buildings are art deco and any new builds have been been made in that style too. It's a very beautiful cute wee town and as all the buildings are in the same style it feels like it has been lost in time somehow, untouched by modern archiecture. However, there is one place that remained standing after the quake. The decomissioned prison that has been turned into a museum/backpackers. So of course, that is where I decided to stay.
Unfortunately, my time on this computer is almost up and I've ran out of dollar coins. This means I must leave you now hanging in suspense, just make sure you tune in next week for the completion of this fantastic installment of 'Marie and the Napier Prison Blues'!