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World March Blog
29 September 2009

A new experience…

Although yesterday I said New Zealand is stunning, I didn’t really say why.  There is an incredible landscape.  Everything is so green and the mountains, canyons and rivers are all dramatic.  I could talk about it but the images speak better than words.  It’s very easy to see why the British wanted to colonise this place over 200 years ago.  It rains like in Britain and everything grows like in Britain!

Tourism New Zealand is one of the local sponsors for the World March events so part of the base team yesterday went to visit tourist sites including “Gravity Canyon” where our intrepid Belgian, Pierre did a bungee jump!!  The rest of the base team had to get some work done.  Our schedule has been so tight that there’s been virtually no time to write anything or edit any video and today most of the base team is flying off to Chatham Island (Rekohu) where the World March will be blessed by the local islanders at sunrise on the 30th September.  We are all expecting this to be a very spiritual and moving experience.

We are starting to count on a number of incidents which make life more “interesting”.  Yesterday Marco left all his money and passport in a KFC (fast-food restaurant) in Taupo which lead to an interesting half an hour as we all speculated what to do in the event that we couldn’t find it again, but as we are in New Zealand and not Italy the bag with everything was on the back of the chair he’d been sitting in, so no drama.  Then in the evening we had our first experience which really took the team out of their comfort zone….

…In order to get the real Maori experience we had been booked to stay in a Marae.  We were due to be greeted officially by the residents and share a meal and then stay the night.  Of course we arrived late so we couldn’t get the full greeting but the amusement started when we were shown our sleeping accommodation – 1 room with mattresses and pillows for 30 people!  No distinction between men and women, no en-suite bathroom, no mini-bar and half a dozen blankets between everyone!  For sure on a journey like this after 93 days the team will know each other more intimately than the closest members of their own family, but of course none of us were expecting to be sleeping like this, and it’s not even the 2nd of October yet!

Fortunately most people seem to have slept well.

Now we’re off to Rekohu.  I must go and pack…

Big hug,

Tony

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