Monday, August 21, 2006

snow and lakes

Just had a fabulous weekend skiing/snowboarding on Mt Ruapehu, clubbing in Ohakune and lazing by Lake Taupo. I kept seeing great snow reports all week and so decided that with Friday still looking good I would sneak in a weekday on the slopes. Headed up there on Thursday evening and struggled to find somewhere to stay on arrival since the good weather and mid season rush meant Ohakune was fit to burst. Still, got a good old dorm bed at Ohakune YHA and sweated the night away in the superheated room - luckily no snorers, which was a small mercy. After a very sluggish start, mainly due to dehydration I think, I got up the car park. A small dilemma was presented since I had imagined getting in a second day's snowboarding, but with conditions so good the attractions of a whole day on the learner slopes were somewhat outshone by the seductive upper reaches of the snow clad mountain - which won out after a brief tussle with my conscience. As it happened Saturday turned out to be the day for snowboarding as by then I was at Whakapapa on the other side of the mountain. Thus Friday ended up as an almost faultless day of skiing. Blue skies, plenty of space on the slopes, beautiful snow and loads of really friendly people - having compared the two stations now I can say that Turoa definitely has a better vibe - much more fun to be had! Maybe it's because of the fact that there are fewer Aucklanders and more Wellingtonians.

After that I headed over to Pukawa Ba y on the southern shores of the Lake to meet up at a friend's batch where a few of us stayed. Lake views from the kitchen/dining room and lots of Tuis with their lovely morning song in the surrounding trees. Very Kiwi.

Saturday was snowboarding at Whakapapa, very busy and not such an appealing ski field. Having said that, by about midday I did start to feel like I was getting the hang of boarding which was pretty satisfying - still a little awkward turning onto the back edge but even this would probably get ironed out after a 3rd day so looks like I have nearly, unexpectedly, learned to snowboard this winter! Everyone else had a good day too. In the evening we had a roast at the bach then I headed over to Ohakune again, with S who was the only other person who wanted to go clubbing, to check out the dance party for which I had seen a flyer the other week. We had a lot of fun but the music wasn't really up to scratch. Made me realise how much I want to go and get into that stuff again. Will it win out in India I wonder at some point?....perhaps!

Sunday was another good day - a little bit stiff from a couple of jarring bales on Saturday but nothing serious. Having got to bed at 3am I slept in until 1030 then munched some toast, had a bit of yarn with everyone and then went to the hot pools at Tokaanu where we lounged for 20 mins in the very hot water - it was actually my first visit to thermal pools in NZ and I've been here nearly 4 years. We had a private pool to ourselves. You could easily seat 8 people in one of them. In fact it reminded me of the big communal baths you have after playing rugby - but in a good way. Feeling somewhat soothed and refreshed we headed back to the bach and had a spot of lunch then chatted and read by the fire. I started to feel like I was really enjoying a proper life in NZ perhaps for the first time ever. Don't know why that came up, but it did.

One thing I forgot to mention was that on Wednesday evening I went to a gig by the Black Seeds that turned out to be a really great night of funky reggae. They are superb live - just great to dance to and a really good crowd to. They are touring Europe in September.

Stiff shoulders today made me think that practice might hurt but it was fine, an much appreciated as for some reason had actually felt pretty flat all day. Amazing what ashtanga and Thai food can do for one's state of mind!

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