Lake Taupo, how I will remember thee every time I look in the mirror. The place where I broke my face but made some great friends and great memories.
We started on Brett’s mini bus from Rotovegas and took in the Huka falls en route to the little town by the lake. The Huka falls being a short passage downstream from the lake where thousands of tonnes of water per second are pushed through and down a final waterfall into an amazing blue river.
We’d return here the second day after signing up for jet boating along the falls, today’s activity however was a short booze cruise to see some modern Maori rock carvings and generally just take in the lake.
Our new mini-bus crew were a great bunch that included the Swedes Albin and Matilde, American Katie, plus Sophie, Sam, Tom and Verity from the UK, also on board were a few lads nicknamed the inbetweeners because of their shy and comical rapport. The format of things to come came when Katie suggested we all moon the big coach outside Taupo whilst we waited for them, which led to some hilarious pics and vids that may or may not see the light of day.
Finally in Taupo everyone on our mini bus had signed up for the Barbery booze cruise and headed down to the port, via the supermarket to stock up on beers and wine.
On board everyone was continuing the drinking game that had been in full force since hot water beach. Buffalo seemed to be my nemesis, where you could only consume your drink with your left hand, else you had to down the rest of it. Other pitfalls included using the words “mine”, “ten” or “down”, with incurred a ten (or 9+1) push-ups penalty.
After a few of us had fallen foul of the games and a strawpedo later it was time for most to dive into the freezing ocean before heading back to dry land.
There we recited the Tamaki Maori song in the port, and us boys attempted a drunken haka before it was time for a piggy back race. Now I’ve learnt this lesson I can pass it on. Do not attempt to race with someone on your back when you are in any way intoxicated. Rant over, now the gory details.
I gesticulated to Tom to jump on my back as I watched the others race off to an early lead. Once secure we headed off at haste, trying to cover lost ground. It was to be only a few steps until I truly connected with said ground, connected with my face that is, as I tripped over the first kerb, and in losing my balance realised I had no time to use my hands to break my fall.
My nose did that for me.
I heard a pop and as I raised up off the ground a fountain of blood poured out of my nose. Unsure whether it was coming out of the top of my nose or the just streaming out of my nostrils I remarked “yep it’s broken, it’s definitely broken, I think it’s broken, ow”.
Albin showed immediate coolness and ran to the nearest pub to secure a taxi to the hospital and ice to go with his towel for my face. I worried briefly about Tom who had hit the deck via his shoulder, but turned out to be only bruised but better off than me in any case.
Off to the hospital Kelly and I went and awaited what I assumed would be an all nighter. We saw the nurse surprisingly quick and by this time I knew my nose wasn’t broken. We had however to see the doctor for the official word.
Waiting, drunk and damaged in the hospital for probably only 45 minutes I spent my time trying to convince Kelly that it wasn’t broken so we should leave as to not over burden their resources. She didn’t agree and so we saw the doctor who provided me with a bandage and set me on my way. Efficient, pleasant and free, my opinion of the New Zealand health service is quite high.
Back to town and we swing by the bar to show off my war wounds and reassure those who had witnessed the horror that all was fine. It was to be a good night in the bar for all, and there is nothing quite like beer for painkilling.
The next day however it’s not quite so effective. Even more unfortunate when we’d signed up for a jet boat trip down the Huka falls.
I probably enjoyed our jet boat experience, we were sat at the front in the best seats, and the jet boat is awesomely powerful, sliding here and there, narrowly avoiding ducks, riverbanks and poles sticking out of the water. The main attraction with jet boats being the 360 spin, a whole lot of g-force and excitement… Normally.
Being thrown around at high speed isn’t the greatest activity when your hungover, and so I spent the 30 minutes hoping it would end. Plus it turned out we didn’t actually get to jet down the Huka falls, just to a closer viewing point.
The rest of the day a write-off we went back to the hostel. Tomorrow we’re driving to Napier to see Kelly’s cousin Sharon for the first time in 9 years.