Chief, chief, chief.
After our second day on the bus, this gang-ridden hotspot for geothermal activity was always going to present us with our first big night out. Most of us signed up for a Maori evening which would involve being transported in a waka (war canoe - in reality a minibus!) to a replica Maori village complete with traditional activities and grass skirted Maori warriors. There was promise of a buffet feast after but having been warned of the consequences of disrespecting (smiling/laughing) a traditional haka most of us were just focused on the welcoming ceremony.
Josh was nominated chief of our tribe after he had told us much earlier that he really didn't want to (of course he adopted his role voluntarily/through peer pressure). This meant that the chief of the tribe would lay a leaf at his feet and the Chief would have to pick it up, and pace backwards with it while not breaking eye contact (more room for disrespect here - please tread carefully!) After this, the chief lady of the Maori tribe sung a traditional song which competed out welcome before we were invited into the village. We were given an insight into the Maori weapons training with a quick game that involved 4 players and 4 tall wooden sticks. Set out in a square, with someone behind each stick, the Maori leading our game would shout left or right in his native tongue, and we would have to move to the said direction and catch the stick before it hit the ground! If you dropped it you were out. It was great fun. We were then treated to more traditional song and dance from the Maori warriors before our buffet dinner.
International sing songs on the way home, with the sad absence of an Irish contribution (our lone Paddy got a little shy) and some drinks in our hostel dorms put us in a great mood for a huge night out. It was our first proper night out and it brought the group together through typical drunken antics. It was supposed to be a pyjama party (I was one of the very few who followed suit!) and in my full-on spirit for the PJ element of the night, i soon had my top off to make my pyjama image more complete. Some standard drunken dancing- with my signature sleep dancing (involving extreme tiredness and sitting down slouched over but with my hands doing all the dancing!) ensued and it was a great night. My efforts didn't go unrecognised and gained me the nickname Naked Dan when I got onto the bus the next day. What a great first impression!
Only my ill-advised chat with the Maori bouncer which saw me suggest that he should spend more time in the gym so he could become the next Jonah Lomu or Joe Rockocokokokokokokoko could have caused any trouble but luckily he saw the funny side of things!
Dan / Burge