I realize this probably will be posted right after the Day 1 report, but you'll just have to bear with me.
Awoke at 7am, decided it wasn't worth getting out of bed for and slept again till 8:15. At that point decided it really was time to get moving, so I started my morning, and on my way out the door woke my roommate Jay and reminded him we started loading at 8:45. Proceeded to have a nice but very light continental breakfast, still in my morning daze, and then again did a fair share (say 2/5ths) of the loading of the busses with luggage. Then we drove to the Bombay Hills, stopped at a fruit stand and then rode on to Hobbiton. (Other name will be found when I review my photos). Had a mince pie for lunch and talked a fair amount with Vanessa, who seems to be one of the cooler young ladies on this trip. Others have brought me to far less respect for them.
After this, we went to the Farm Show, where we saw an amazing sheep herding demonstration by two dogs, one of whom was able to corral them, and the other of whom could lead them into doing tricks like crossing a bridge and chasing them into a pen. Absolutely amazing. We were told the former dog breed could handle 1000 sheep on its own, and could obey a great number of whistle commands from up to a km away!
From here we walked to an ajoining wildlife center, where we saw rainbow trout, several impressive trees including the silverleaf fern and redwood, some native birds, a reptile, the last of its order, which predates the dinosaurs and stopped evolving 90 million years ago (I though, "so this is a Vogon") and finally the kiwi birds. From here we drove to Rotorua, where we were installed in our hotel (with somewhat less luggage unloading by me) and put at our on disposal for supper. I got in with a group of 5 or so young ladies, and we along with several other knots of students went looking for the "Fat Dog" restaurant. It took us quite a while, several wrong turns (we didn't know quite where it was) and "They look like they know where they're going, let's follow" directed at us before we arrived. Despite probably 25 college students descending upon them in short order, they coped admirably, and we got our orders in and went out back to sit. There was some delay and straggling in the delivery of our food, and Tessa (from Atlanta) made a great deal of this, (in a moderate and fun way) but I got served my chicken and bacon lasagna second and had a not so good Steinlager to go along. [$15 total:-( ] Service was very kind and helpful, though, and all went well.
After dinner most of us repaired to an Internet cafe ($2 for 20 minutes, which was 3x what they cost in Auckland) and I checked my credit card bills, paid the MC and Visa, caught up on LJ (skimming, admittedly) and read several pages of email. Actually, I looked at two messages to see if they were urgent, and deleted 4 or so pages of clear spam. Also checked Ars to see it was still around. It is, and seems to be doing well.
At 20 minutes time most of us hurried away (Jess and Vanessa I saw coming back later) and we got back to the hotel ~7:30. At around 8 a number of us met up to go to the ajoining hot springs, where we soaked in sulphurous waters and had a good time. I am cursed with not being able recall who some of my companions were (at the time, unfortunately) and so I can't name out who were the nice ones and who wasn't. At 9 I decided I'd been in enough, and it looked like most of the others who hadn't already left were doing so then, so I joined them. After returning, I considered going out with the others, but the fact I'd probably be going with my new roommates (names even now misremembered) just after they'd had quite a homophobic conversationg wasn't encouraging, and so I decided to put off more drinking till Otago, or at least tomorrow. Thus I read Bob Jones' A Christmas Carol script and sorted some music, and have now written this. I'll probably take out my contacts and go to bed in short order, it being now 10:56 pm.
I don't get this drinking obsession of my comrades, perhaps they're being semi-responsible by getting at it before classes start. However, the most enthusiastic ones seem also to be the ones I like least, so I'm not inclined to join in. If (Mora (sp?), Amy, Vanessa, Jill or several I know only by sight were ringleaders, I'd be far more inclined to accompany them).
Strange fact I learned yesterday: Pink is a very straight color in South Carolina, and our two SC boys Richardson and Dave (Davidson and somewhere else) had a conversation on all their pink clothes and which they'd brought. Very curious.
Another weird note: Why are all the light switches upside down? I get the whole "have a switch for every outlet" idea, but why does turning the switch down turn it on? Is this some sort of antipodean thing? It's just weird. Of course, so is Australia & NZ having different electrical outlet formats than both the US and UK, but it seems even more basic.