Waitomo CavesAuckland, Fall 2009
Greetings world readers! I am fully settled into Auckland, New Zealand, and have already had quite a few adventures. Not to mention my first weekend in New Zealand, when IES gathered round the gang and got us in touch with out Maori heritage (er, appreciation), I've been both tramping and caving. But first, the IES trip. The IES trip, as I mentioned before, represented a chance to get to know ourselves and the native culture of New Zealand. But it was also a chance to sleep in a Marae, which is the traditional meeting spot of the culture (and where you can't where shoes), go ocean kayaking and weave flowers out of living plant material! Indeed, sleeping in the Marae, learning their creation stories, their customs, their songs and their introductions was pleasure enough, but when they let us into our wetsuits and the chilly New Zealand waters...well I knew I was in the right place. Out on the water, our wonderful guide Carmilla had us play a number of cooperation games, including lining our kayaks in a row and switching bodies! It required a lot of team work and coordination, buy no nasty spills! After that, we returned to the Marae to weave flowers out of native flax, a plant that the Maori have been using for eons (or, something more chronologically precise), which actually holds up quite well, and can be used to make rafts, hats and well, everything! Oops, have to go get my rain gear on for a wintry slosh through town! Ta ta and more updates to come!
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