Greetings from an Asian hobbit
Day 3: 26 May 2014
Status: I am going on an adventure!! – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, 2012
Yet another interesting start in the morning. The bus was due to depart at 8:30am but 2 boys slept in – our bus driver drove off to drop us at the Ruakuri Reserved Walk for yet another morning walk.
The walk was alright – served as a beginner morning workout regime. It might have been a sweet as walk and sight, should I have not done the Labyrinth tour in an actual underground tunnel with glow worms shine bright like a diamond. Moreover, it is an early morning I have the least interest in getting out of the bed to start with.
It was getting colder each passing day, and the south would be much much colder; I was contemplating about getting the hideous puffer jacket that would keep one warm and sane.
The bus went back to pick up the two boys, and headed down to Matamata or rather famously known as the Hobbiton.
Note to self – never, never EVER miss a toilet stop.
Needless to say, I missed one and had to hold it for about 2 hours or maybe more (it sure did feel like decades!). There were no toilet stops on the way to Hobbiton apparently, and Bridget did get a bit grumpy when I asked if she could make a quick stop 😦
That said, it still didn’t beat my records 3 years ago where I had to hold it for 5 hours(!!!) while sailing on a small catamaran from Deception Bay to Fraser Island. Jackie had a good laugh on that.
The second that bus door opened up, I made my dash to the bloody toilet. Ahhhhhhhhh…… It was the utmost relieving sensation.
Got my admission ticket and loitered around for a bit while waiting for the next bus. Time for touristy photos and selfie of course, as well as some souvenir shopping. The souvenir shops have your usual LOTR and The Hobbit’s movie posters and merchandise, but what I liked most was the Elven Cloak!!! Such unworldly elegance.
I bought some LOTR stamps, thought that my youngest sister might liked it. And a leather made bookmark, it would make my current reading – The Minds of Billy Milligan – much better. Oh, the materialistic nerd in me.
Our group were lucky to have a funny guide named Tobias, or Toby, who could also passed off as one of the hobbits along with Caitlin and I.
The movie set was amazing, and Peter Jackson is as good of a creator as the divine one can be.
Because of the location, your sunset scenes was shot during sunrise and your sunrise scene was shot during sunset. The old oak tree in LOTR is real, transferred from another farm; however the young oak tree in The Hobbit sequels is artificial! Yet, even with the tree in front of my very own eyes – it looked as real as an oak tree can be.
The vegetables and plants grow from the ground, oh they are real. I personally verified it after Toby commented. They may look huge and fake, but they are real. The Hobbiton Movie Set have their very own hobbits. Not one but two, according to Toby – a gardener and a carpenter. The vegetables are harvested and brought to the Green Dragon Inn to make meals.
Some might be disappointed that behind those hobbit houses and doors, it is empty. Or maybe filled with woods and rocks, and smelt musky. Disgustingly musky.
Inside goss: Toby’s mom was an extra in the set – the lady buying things in the market (which I cannot remember) and the lady hanging laundry when Bilbo Baggins ran off shouting “I’m going on an adventure!”.
At the end of the tour, we all received a free drink at the Green Dragon. I had a small lunch in the Green Dragon too, just sayin’ 😉
Everyone was saving up for tonight’s buffet dinner. #truebackpackers
The thought of getting a good, comfy and not-so-hideous puffer jacket disappeared as soon as I saw the price tag.
Why o why is everything in New Zealand so bloody expensive?
It was a Monday yet the streets were empty. This I do not understand. I knew that New Zealand is laid back but I had not expected it to be THIS bare.
Rotorua is a quaint little town. Some called it “Rotten-rua”, mainly because the town’s beauty comes with the pungent smell that reminds travellers of rotten eggs due to the hydrogen sulphide emissions.
Be careful when walking along the streets as steams emit from the sidewalks, manholes and etc.
Rotorua is famous for its geothermal activities such as hot thermal springs and mud pools. Further out to the Agrodome, in which unfortunately I did not have time for, visitors could do other adventurous activities such as luging and zorbing. Highly recommended. For the animal lovers out there, you could also visit the farm and enjoy some traditional New Zealand farm animal show (I think).
5:45pm – Tamaki Village
And we are ‘cordially invited’ to one of the Maori village, Award-Winning Tamaki Village (a Harley Davidson vision to increase understanding to the local indigenous culture). One of the Maori tradition is that one’s presence would be deemed unwelcoming and anything else apart from in peace, should he shows up uninvited or unannounced.
Upon arriving, the ‘chief’ of the arriving tribe (we were the tribe Huia for the night) would accept the challenges from three warriors of the village, each comes with individual tasks.
After the tasks, the visiting ‘chief’ then each did a hongi (pressing nose to nose, twice) as a friendly greeting and bonding.
On the way we’ve learned some Maori words *I tried to jot as many as I could* –
- Kia Ora – well/ good health/ welcome/ good day etc : You see this printed almost everywhere in New Zealand; used in the beginning of the greeting and ending of a sentence.
- Ia (pronounced as eye-aye) – yes
- Waka – canoe
- Yi – paddle
- Paki Paki – applaud/ claps
- Puku – tummy
- Mana – pride
- Kuta – guilty
- Pa-kia-ha – other people
The village was set up with small little huts in a loop, with volunteered Maori performers. Visitors learned about the Maori traditions, customs, songs and dances. Of course, the famous Haka warrior dance too.
Interesting fact: Each Maori tattoo represents the tribe’s histories, knowledge, legends and etc. Men and women have tattoos on the body and face too.
A walking, talking book huh?
In the olden days (I believe), they used the traditional – and excruciating, I believe – tattooing method. There were people who died during the process. Yet, it was an honour to die at the tattoo table that to not get one at all.
Comes the buffet time, out came the Hangi – roasted meat (chicken, lamb and beef) from underground. Mamamiaaaaaaaaaa
I miss meat and proper meal, instead of soup and pies 😦
A startled Asian hobbit 😉