|North Island, New Zealand - icy fire breathing|
We had almost a month in NZ and soon we realized we wanted to cut it down even to one week, enough to see a bit of the South Island. It was freezing and still expensive and we had the feeling that apart from beautiful scenery NZ didn't have much for us. We tried to bring forward our next flight to Hawaii but the second leg - Sydney-Honolulu- was fully booked. We'd keep trying. The goal -at least my goal- was to get to Mexico as soon as possible. Warm, cheap and Latin.
We crossed to the South Island on a three hours' ferry with beautiful views of the coasts. In Picton, there was nothing. Nothing except the Jugglers' Rest where we spent a couple of days. Great place. It had only about 4 or 5 rooms, a kitchen and a huge living room with a fireplace and sofas. Everyone was hanging around and chatting or reading or...juggling! There was every possible juggling game there. Balls, sticks, bowls, diabolos,... and we played.
guy who run the place was a professional juggler and there were pictures
of him and another two French guys in action in Festivals and other events
all over the place. In the evenings, he came to play with us and teach
us new tricks. On the last night he taught us how to eat fire!
We had messed up our ticketing schedule for our next flight (Wellington - Sydney - Honolulu) because of the upcoming Olympics and and therefore were going to be in New Zealand longer than we had anticipated. Oh Well. Sunny beaches would have to wait, it was fast approaching midwinter in the southern hemisphere and New Zealand was bitterly cold at the time.
We crossed over to the South Island by ferry, the crossing was pretty calm, it can be a bit rough sometimes and stayed in the rather un-happening town of Picton. The best thing about Picton (in fact the only thing about Picton) was the small lodge we were recommended called the Jugglers Rest - run by a few professional performing jugglers. There were only half a dozen people staying but everyone congregated in the main common room (which was warm) and basically juggled. All manner of juggling props were available and everyone was friendly and wanted you to juggle, and learn and have fun. I instantly picked out a diabolo as set about learning new tricks with it (I can't juggle too well but I'm pretty good with a diabolo). One of the highlights was when we were taught how to eat fire, check it out...