Monday, March 17, 2014

A Day in Rotorua

On Monday morning we went to the Polynesian Spa to bathe in the thermal waters. We signed up for the Adults Area and Priest Pools. The Priest Pools are acidic and benefit the aches and pains in muscles and joints. The others are alkaline and are said to be good for the skin. I only went in the latter for a brief time; the water felt very slippery, as if it were highly softened. The three Priest Pools had different temperatures -- 39, 41, and 42 C. Dan enjoyed the hottest, but I found the 39-degree one the best for me. There were low wooden benches built into each pool so you could sit around the edge. Below is a view of one of the Priest Pools, overlooking Lake Rotorua. It was wonderful to be in the warm water and I wish I could have stayed in it longer, but 30 minutes was all I could manage.

We found a nice bakery for lunch, were we both had a Paleo-sandwich, a grain and seed tortilla wrapped around sautéed veggies and chicken or pork.

We took a rest in the afternoon and I even napped. We had signed up for a Maori village dinner and program. It was very well organized. Multiple buses went around the city picking up attendees. When we arrived at the village, we were assigned to our dining tables (about 24 tables of 10 in a tent). After some introductory remarks, we proceeded outside to see the unveiling of our dinner -- a hangi. Lamb, chicken, potatoes, and sweet potatoes were steamed in a fire pit for four hours.

Then we took a walk into the woods to see the passing of a Maori canoe on the stream. The path was pretty good, although somewhat uneven, and had more steps than I expected. The woods were beautiful.

After we returned from the canoe tableau, we went into a performance arena, a large tent with an open stage set up like a Maori village. There were dances, songs, and speeches. It was all very well done, with one person describing what was going on.

Following the performance we headed back to the dining tent and to our assigned tables. The dinner also included a variety of salads, garlic bread, and desserts. While we ate, the master of ceremonies tried to find out how many countries were represented. It was over 20. The most unusual was a group from Reunion Island near Madagascar and Mauritius.

There was one more event -- a short hike to see the glowworms in the woods. As we had missed the glowworm caves, I was looking forward to that, but, unfortunately, neither Dan nor I was up to another walk in the woods. We went into our bus and waited for the others to return.

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