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9.8.09 13:46


Seismic Auckland

Oh ye living beaudy, oh ye country of fluctuation!

In New Zealand seismic movements can be geological or cultural: As different tectonic plates form the country’s natural scenery, various ethnic groups (sometimes also colliding) shape the country’s cultural landscape.

Auckland is the perfect place to observe these two creational forces. New Zealand’s biggest city (population: 1.2 million) is the country’s most multicultural city. Besides Maoris and Pakehas it has a big Asian community and the largest Polynesian population of any city worldwide. Furthermore, it is built on 50 (!) volcanoes of which some are still active (the last eruption was 600 years ago).

Flo and I arrived in the city on Friday evening with a hole in our stomachs. At a food-hall I ate a spicy Indian curry chicken; Flo had something even spicier which made it impossible to taste the seafood and vegetables. We had to choose between Malaysian, Indian, Chinese, Turkish, Indonesian, and plenty of other cuisines.

Auckland has a harbor on both the west and the east coast. The land’s east-west range is very small in Auckland; to the north and the south it gets wider. By the waterfront we drank some coffee (to wake up) and I ate some licorice ice cream (to be daring).

At a pub we got to know some Aussies working for a circus, Magdalena from Chile, and Linda with a Russian-German background. Oh yeah, and we got to know some Irish pints of Guinness.

On Saturday Flo and I headed through a park to the Auckland Museum which is located in an awesome neo-classicistic building. On the ground-floor there is a comprehensive exhibition of Maori artifacts. I would advise anybody going to Auckland to check it out.

Welcome to the Volcano Gallery on the Museum’s first floor! One room looked like a living room of a private house in Auckland. Through the window I could see the city and the sea. The TV went on. News: A volcanic eruption warning; motorways blocked because everybody tried to leave the city. Then the TV went off; power cut. Through the window I could see steam emerging from the sea, lava followed. The floor started shaking. A gigantic powerful black cloud came racing towards the house…

The bus back to Hamilton left from the Sky Tower (the futuristic looking highest building in the southern hemisphere). In contrast to Auckland, Hamilton appeared a bit monotonous - less seismic friction?

9.8.09 13:49

9.8.09 13:52

How I Failed as a Ring-baerer in Rotorua

Oh, what grief! I have lost you; lost you truly… my PRECIOUS!

One ring to bind us, yet this ring had a will of its own - it abandoned me. And it took a part of me with it. How long must it now lie in the blur water of Kerosine Creek where it slipped from my finger?

Rotorua is about 120 km east of Hamilton - halfway to Rotorua lies Hobbiton. Here the ring-bearer started on his quest through Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of the Lord of the Rings. Ben, who joined us this weekend, reckoned that it is no wonder that the trilogy was filmed in New Zealand; where else could all the landscapes be found which encompass a whole (fantastic) world?

Water seemed to be the central theme of our weekend: In water my ring slipped off; Rotorua is surrounded by lakes; and it rained most of the time during our visit.

It was raining as we arrived in the Maori village of Ohinemutu on the banks of Lake Rotorua. What a blend of Maori and European influences! Look at the top right picture: At the front right there is a wooden Maori carving; behind it is a statue of an angel; and in the background there is an Anglican church, built in a similar way as Maoris would build their Maraes. One window inside the church displays a portrait of Jesus Christ wearing a Maori cloak.

South of Rotorua we hiked in the Whakarewarewa Forest between the Blue Lake and the Green Lake. Scenic beaches stretched along the shore and fern grew everywhere.

Rotorua is very special. If one can get anywhere a sense of how alive and restless the world must be underneath its crust - especially underneath New Zealand - , then it is here: Geysers, steam emerging from the ground, bubbling lakes, and the sulfur smell of rotten eggs give proof. On Sunday we went to look at a mud pool. Not only did the mud bubble, at times it firmly exploded into bits and pieces, as can be seen on the bottom center picture. Soft ‘plop’-sounds surrounded us, a weird experience.

Eventually, we went to the Kerosine Creek to swim in body temperature water. There it happened: the ring which helped binding me to my sweetheart in Germany slipped off. I tried to feel it; the water was to muddy to see the bottom and probably the current carried it further downstream. After half an hour I gave up, it was hopeless. I lost it, and it did not feel good. I lost it,… my PRECIOUS! 
19.8.09 13:00

19.8.09 13:05

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