Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wined and Dined

Our last evening in Rotorua was spend riding the gondola up and back down with dinner in between at the Skyline restaurant just outside of town.  We were picked up by a van and whisked off in style.  Tony, Lisa, Clare, E and I had a nice meal from the buffett with wine all around.  The sights from the top of the restaurant were amazing over looking the lake.

 The lights were so pretty at night.  I can see why some people refer to this place as Roto Vegas!
It was up early the next morning to catch our bus back to Aukland.  I think the funniest thing about the whole bus trip was when we stopped briefly at a little town and 3 men got on.  Clare whispered to me that they were being released from the near by prison.  One of the men sat down next to a young man from Canada and proceeded to tell him how the NZ people liked the Canadians.  Then the newly released man asked the young guy if he was in NZ on business or pleasure.  When the young man replied he was on holiday, the paroled man said, "Well, I've been on a a bit of a holiday myself".  It took everything in my power not to break out in whooping laughter.

The evening we got home, we walked up the street to Moya and Tom's (Kathleen's parents) for dinner and it was lovely.  We had yummy lasagna and great conversation.  Tom (or Big T) is a Physical Education instructor and a rowing coach and we exchanged views about both our countries education systems.  It is reassuring to note that we (the US) are not the only country in the world whose teachers are doing their best despite overwhelming odds. 

The next day was packing day for E and me.  We managed to make the weight limit on our luggage with some space to spare (which is a good thing since Kathleen, Clare and I had a shop til  you drop date the next night.  E and I headed off to the market to pick up the fixings for his Spanish Chicken and Robyn joined us for dinner.  She had dropped off a package of New Zealand themed papers and embellishments for me.  Clare truly had wonderful friends.

The next day dawned and rested and ready, Kathleen, Clare and I headed out for a day of wild abandonment and retail therapy.  Kathleen took us to such fun places and we had a blast.
 Seedlings Warehouse sale was our first stop.  I got lots of fun things at great prices for the Grands. Clare and Kathleen also found some great bargains.

 Kathleen had not one but two of these in her trunk...loved them ! 

 Our next stop was the Scholastic book store where I found this perfect.  I have not clue why I did not buy it then.  Now I have to try and find it on line.  I got each of the Grands a NZ themed book and the woman managing the store gave me a handful of NZ book marks when I mentioned my daughter was a first grade teacher in the US.  How kind.

 Our next stops were at the mall and were Clare and Kathleen's favorites although the name of both escape me right now.  Clare, help, please.  We found this cute tea towel and tons of other fun items.  I got my daughter her Christmas present (ok, one of her presents) in one of the stores.

 The mall had a small Hobbit village for the kids and we had a coffee break at the Hot Bread Bakery.

 More 'finds' we did not buy.
 Sorry Janet Miller but I just had to get this book for Clare.  She says she is still waiting for her armadillo purse.
 That evening we dined at Leonie and Les' beautiful home.  They have a hilltop view clear out to the ocean.  We feel like we have known them, Robyn, Kathleen, and Lisa forever and ever.

 Saturday was our last full day in Aukland and, despite Nuru having just had some dental surgery, invited us to lunch.  Her husband, Gary, built their home and has created a paradise for them about a half hour or so out in the country.  Leonie, Clare, E and I enjoyed a wonderfully leisurely afternoon.
and that evening Robyn and Clare showed us around their city...but that is a tale for tomorrow.

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