The morning after, when my friend JetLag came to visit…

After managing to stay awake to 8pm I fell into a wonderful deep sleep, until my body woke me up at 4am, ping! It was all good, checked emails, spoke to people on Skype, maybe I am a morning person… I took my first adventure on the train to buy a New Zealand (NZ) mobile phone. 5000 free texts later and only 1 phone number I was set. A walk along the beach and I began to droop, again I stayed awake until 8pm, this travelling lifestyle is very ‘rock’n roll’.

The following days were good, settling in, going to bed early, waking up early, not 4am again, thank goodness. The second day I felt good went into Wellington to visit Te Papa to find out about all things Kiwi. I learnt about earthquakes, the only colossal squid on display in the world and NZ Vouge, bringing fashion to NZ rather than people having to import, then JetLag came to visit. Sitting down in the café, with my much need cup of earl grey, my head began to loll, I day dreamed about being in an airport again, where it was acceptable to sleep in public, but I beat the urge and didn’t nap! Penny picked me up and we started to talk about New Zealand and Maori culture, the Marae (meeting house of the tribe) “you would have learnt about that in Te Papa…” the waka (type of boat a bit like a canoe) “you would have learnt about that in Te Papa…” It was as if I had forgotten the most important part of New Zealand culture, a second trip was needed. On the way back to the house Penny showed me to where the Haka (war cry) originated, which as a rugby fan I thought was pretty cool, but we weren’t allowed to go to close as the area belongs to a tribe, a bit like a private road.

By Monday 17th September I was feeling really good, no more near falling asleep experiences and I was excited to see my Australian friends who were flying our today. I hadn’t seen Sasha in over a year and Ash just under, so excited! A few minutes after meeting them in the airport it was already like old times, it was so good to be in the same place. Penny had planned an exciting road trip and party girl Sasha, had not slept from the night before, so it was another early night.

We drove to Rotorua, which is a place of natural hot springs, but what people had forgotten to tell me was it stinks!! Of rotten eggs, which is the sulpher, which makes the water so good for you.

It was a 5 hour drive from Wellington and with a few tea stops on the way it was dinner time, we pulled up at our motel, 1 of about a million in Rotorua. We were greeted by a not so friendly lady who moaned at us for not booking in all the extra people correctly, however this was not our fault, it was hers, so no tears shed from our end, well maybe tears of joy we had been saved $80 which is about 40 pounds. Fairy Springs Motel was fine, it offered us a full kitchen, tv, shower and 4 beds, what more did we need. We went to the local pub for dinner, drank wine and chatted. We got chatting to another group, who were firefighters from all over NZ on training, Penny started chatting to a guy from Wellington who knew her childhood neighbour, it’s a small place NZ, feels like home.

The next day we were up early out of the motel by 8.30am, I thought I was reading my watch wrong. We went to an excellent café ‘The Fat Dog’, yummy breakfast muffins, I hope I can go back and sample more of their menu. Then we went in search of some natural hot springs that our firefighter friends recommended- Kerosene Creek, it was beautiful to swim outside in WARM natural flowing water. Ash and I looked excellent in our Tesco special one piece swim suits, while Penny rocked the bikini of aged 16 with board shorts and Sasha as usual looked the coolest, the reason for our unfashionable clothing was because the water stinks! Your costume stinks even after it has been washed! My beach friendlier costumes are kept pristine for the beaches that have yet to come.

The road trip took us on a tour of the North Island, through Taupo, Rotorua, Hawkes Bay, wine country- Napier, very cool Art Deco town and the Rimutaka mountains, a winding, misty road that led back to windy Welly as it is affectionately known.

At the weekend it was my first ever birthday properly away from home and it was special. Penny and her family took me out for high-tea at Martha’s Pantry in Wellington- Penny’s mum is celiac so is always on the hunt of good gluten free food, ‘Martha’s Pantry, hit the nail on the head. After we had a walk in the Botanic Gardens and saw the amazing view from the top, we went for a milkshake by the beach in Scorching Bay and home for yummy fish and chips. It was a lovely birthday and the warmest birthday I think I’ve ever had!

On Tuesday 25th September I met with Emma’s (my sister in law) dad, Martin for dinner in Wellington. I went back to Te Papa and learned much more about Maori culture and relaxed with tea and delicious pecan and bourbon pie in ‘Sweet Mother’s Kitchen’ recommended by a friend. Dinner with Martin was really good, I didn’t know him that well, we only first met at the rehearsal before the wedding, but he made chat and so did I, I think we got on well. We talked about travelling, about NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) a little bit, I am interested in it, Martin actually knows about it. We ate, we drank, surprisingly nice red wine (only because I don’t normally drink red) and chatted, another good travelling experience. I am going to stay with Martin and family near Auckland before I fly to Australia mid-November.

One of the things I really love about Wellington is the café culture, so many quirky, interesting, fun and not manufactured to look interesting cafes. One of my favourites has been a surf club where I had the best toastie ever! Beetroot, pear, stilton cheese and walnuts with avocado on the side, yum.

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