Weekend in Rotorua

Last weekend I drove down to Rotorua to stay with friends I haven’t seen for a really long time. I saw Heather for dinner after work one night back in 2013 – maybe later I’m not sure, but I sure haven’t seen Heather and Cameron at the same time since 2005.

The drive down was easy, and I got to drive through the Fitzgerald Glade which is probably one of my most favourite things to do on a drive.

Fitzgerald Glade

Shortly after driving through the glade, you turn a corner and there is a stunning view of Lake Rotorua in the distance, and I always start to get excited. Soon I arrived at my friends very large home with a choice of guest rooms and my very own ensuite bathroom. After chilling out for a while I was persuaded to go jetboating – this was nothing like I imagined. I have gone jetboating before back in the 80s in Rotorua so I imagined it would be the same – on a big boat with about 20 other people travelling along a river very fast and way too close to the rocks. This was nothing like that.

Check out the Velocity Valley website to see what I mean. That’s not me in the pic below, it’s just a pic I found on the web.

The weather forecast for the whole weekend was supposed to be very heavy rain – thank goodness they got that wrong. Velocity Valley also had pigs and an ostrich which was cool for an Auckland City guy like me to see.

Next we stopped at Kuirau Park in the city so I could try and take some photos of the thermal activity. It wasn’t easy as all the steam just looked like mist, but there was an area where you could take your shoes off and dunk your feet in the wonderful warm water – so relaxing.

After dragging ourselves away from there we drove to the lakeside to check out a very spiritual and special place – Ohinemutu Church where an Anzac Day dawn service is held every year, which would be amazing to attend.

Back home after that for some relaxation with some beers and pizza. Once it got dark Heather drove me to the Redwood forest where they have a treetop walk you can do at night. We weren’t going to do the walk although I HAVE to go back one day to do that, we went so I could see the forest lit up at night – it was awesome.

Back home for some more beers and an occasional sound of the six60 concert in the distance.

I’ve only just realised something!

The castle that proudly sits at the centre of Disneyland in California is NOT the same as the one that is in Walt Disney World in Florida or Tokyo Disneyland. It’s also not the same one as Lego used to create their model that I built at Xmas time.

The original castle in Disneyland California is known as the Sleeping Beauty Castle, here is a photo I took of it when I went there in 2012.

When Walt Disney World was built they used the Cinderella Castle which is much taller and more spectacular and it is this castle which features in the Disney Logo and at the start of the Disney movies. When Tokyo Disneyland was built they copied the more spectacular Cinderella Castle as its centrepiece. Here’s a photo I took of it way back in 1985.

The Lego Disney Castle I built this Xmas is the Cinderella Castle.

disneyland2

Apparently Walt Disney was inspired by the Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany while on holiday there before construction began of Disneyland and based the Sleeping Beauty Castle on it, it is also rumoured that the German castle was his inspiration for the Cinderella movie castle. They both have turrets with blue tops but to me the Sleeping Beauty castle has a closer resemblance to the German one.

There is also an urban myth that Disney have to pay Germany (or the owner of the castle) royalties – but I think it’s just that… an urban myth.

tdl2

I Swallowed a Fly

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she’ll die.                         Lyrics from:
http://bussongs.com/

I know why she swallowed the fly… she was gardening!!!

After having brunch with a friend this morning in a cafe that is part of a garden centre, I made the most of the visit and bought some new plants for the garden, hoping to inspire me to get stuck in and tidy up my very neglected courtyard.

It worked.  I got busy and did a major number on everything.  However this very annoying fly wouldn’t leave me alone, so I spun round to whack it away and it flew into my mouth!!!  There was much coughing and spluttering in a feeble attempt to get rid of it before I swallowed it.  I ran inside and rinsed with gallons of water then had a big glass of coke (coz coke can dissolve coins if you leave them soaking in it long enough I’ve been told, so it’s bound to kill flies and any germs it carried with it).

After 5 minutes I could still feel it in my mouth, but knew I was imagining things, so I went back outside to carry on in the garden.  Suddenly I felt a tickling in my mouth again so I ran back to the sink to have another big cough and a drink, that’s when the fly flew out of my mouth and landed in the sink looking very crushed but STILL ALIVE.

I picked it up and fed it to my Venus Fly Trap but even that didn’t want it, I wonder why, but eventually it closed its jaws on the still wriggling thing that had set up camp in MY MOUTH.