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Kiwi vs. Bald Eagle

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I have always been the stereotypical city girl. I love buildings and someday wish to live in the great city of New York. However, I recently took a trip to New Zealand and Australia with about twenty members of my class, and the experience has significantly altered my perspective of the world. We visited societies that embodied the rudimentary habits of the natives in Australia such as the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village. We surveyed extensive landscape that blew my mind away with awe. I had never seen so many beautiful tumbling hills that seemed to deepen the distance and connect the sky with the ground. In addition, we visited the great city of Sydney, and it gave me the chance to live my dream as a metropolitan expert. Along the way, I grew closer to classmates I had never considered exceptional friends and learned which companions should become a part of my past. The entire trip was a journey filled with excitement, adventure, and dare I say – education.

The very beginning of the trip was something of a phenomenon in itself. We took a flight out of Los Angeles and touched down in New Zealand about twelve hours later. Not only was that the absolute longest flight of my life, it was provided by a plane twice the size of any I had ridden before. I personally do not see the logic in a science that tells me such a massive object can float through the clouds with considerable ease. When we touched down and finally exited the plane, an excitement filled me that I had not anticipated. The words on the walls were eerily similar, but only because of movies and TV shows such as Harry Potter. “Toilets,” “rubbish bins,” and “lifts” were not words I often came across back at home in good ole Baton Rouge. The words thrilled me so much that I felt inclined to take pictures of the signs throughout the airport!

We finally escaped the busy atmosphere of the INTERNATIONAL airport and walked our way across the grounds to board a massive blue charter bus that would carry us over the magnificent terrain to our exotic hotel. We passed gobs of green hills that seemed so vivid they just might have come from a coloring book, and the numerous sheep we passed ignited a curiosity for this foreign country that had only been a vague sentiment from the day I signed up for the trip to that very moment. I snapped picture after picture, trying to capture a sight I hoped would last forever inside my little instamatic camera. (Unfortunately, the pictures are incomparable to beholding the sight of New Zealand’s wilderness in person.)

On our long way to the hotel, we stopped at “The Big Apple,” a restaurant off to the right of our route, and took our first sample of New Zealand’s food. I tried pumpkin soup, which was surprisingly smooth, and ate a sandwich to instill that normalcy I still found so dear. Many of my peers ordered “fish and chips,” which I later found out is an often-ordered delicacy in that region. I sat with our guide, and he answered our curious questions with that charming accent that was extremely pleasing to my American ear. Eventually, we left and arrived at the hotel. A hotel on the near outskirts of a boiling-hot, all-natural spring – exotic, no? The only downside was the potent stench of the sulfur, which resembles the odor of rotten eggs.

Within the next few days I soaked in naturally heated hot tubs, shopped in the town nearby, and enjoyed an interesting display of culture, otherwise known as an enactment of a native ritual that included music chanting and dancing, that the hotel provided with a delicious buffet. Later on we visited a thermal village, and I toured the cultural community filled with steam from every direction. You see, this place was built around a cluster of boiling springs, and they used this to their advantage. I even ate a cob of corn boiled in the depths of a particularly hot one. Let me tell you, this was one of the best cobs I had even bitten into. Of course, it may have been due to the extreme hunger that overwhelmed me as a result of the constant walking and touring around New Zealand.

In addition, we celebrated the exotic animals of the land by attending a sort of sheep show, in which we enjoyed the display of over twenty different sheep that could be seen roaming the meadows. Although this show was extremely entertaining, the most spectacular aspect of the whole thing was the audience. Yes, the boring people who sat on the benches staring up at the stage waiting for something interesting to happen. You see, this audience was not an ordinary audience. Before the show started, the host running the program asked us to raise our hands according to the country from which we came. “America!” We raised our hands. “China!” About thirty to our right raised their hands. “Germany!” Fifteen or so made themselves known. “Poland!” Again, a group put their hands in the air. And the list when on and on, and yet hands hit the air nearly every time. The diversity of the crowd amazed me and sat in the back of my mind (okay maybe a little more to the front) the entire show. It absolutely boggled me.

After a few days, we moved on and once again walked the insides of the airport, ready to head on. But, I would never forget that trip. We did amazing things that most would never be able to experience, and I will never take that trip for granted. The pictures will help me keep that promise. But my memories will instill that awe, and so now I’ll come to a close saying just this. Traveling the world is more than an opportunity; if one has the chance to do so, it is imperative. You only are able to define yourself once you face the world and every perspective it can offer.





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This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

chas said...
May 22, 2010 at 11:11 pm
Put me right there.  vivid turns with soul. thanks
 
missy said...
May 21, 2010 at 5:37 pm
Outstanding article, you descriptions made it come to life...
 
ddjandy replied...
May 21, 2010 at 9:00 pm
Thank you, the landscape was absolutely amazing!
 
ella07 said...
May 18, 2010 at 10:52 am
I come from New Zealand and right now im in America on an exchange year. i loved this piece it reminded me so much of where I live and your desciptions are very memory triggering!
 
ddjandy replied...
May 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it!
 
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