Another day, another location. Today we’re in the town of Rotorua, known for their Maori culture and geothermic hot springs. Actually, right now, I’m sitting in a Mcdonald’s, with a happy meal in the belly – the things we do for free wifi…
Auckland was really beautiful, and the interesting thing I noticed was that there were a ton of Asians there! From the barista at the coffee shop, to the students at the university, to the driver of our bus, to the meandering tourists (like myself) – Asians were everywhere! I think the percentage was even higher than San Francisco, if that’s even possible. At certain points, I almost felt like I should be speaking Chinese and in fact, I did strike up a baby Mandarin convo with a Chinese couple from Shenzhen.
My other impression of Auckland is that it’s truly a beautiful city, with plenty of hills, greenery, and water reminiscent of San Francisco. As a treat, we were able to visit the Bethel branch as one of our last stops in Auckland. There’s a small family there of 54, working primarily in translation of the indigenous languages of the area, as well as the New Zealand sign language, which is very different from ASL, as I learned. The branch was situated on a hill, overlooking the waters – honestly one of the most beautifully located branches that I’ve ever visited. Absolutely gorgeous!
After a 3 hour drive through the rolling green hills filled with cows and sheep, we are here in Rotorua. It’s a little stinky due to the sulphur from the geothermic hot springs, but, according to Fanny, the good thing about that is that no one can ever tell if you’re farting. 😉 Tonight, we’re off to a traditional Maori feast (definitely NOT McDonald’s) followed by a walk through the glowworm caves and a saunter through a kiwi habitat. Should be fun (I hope)!