Expedition to New Zealand - By The Intrepids
Hail from the Chief! Big warm hello to all of you. After the tour I booked a helicopter ride over Milford, and it was, of course, beautiful!. Chopper puts down on a mountain top glacier for a while. One of my sons said this looked like a James Bond shot. The other said just one word: Badass.
Ours was an expedition, an adventure. It was so much more than a “sight-seeing” trip. You want to see the wonderful statue of David in Florence? Well, you walk into the Academia Galleria, and there he stands. The Mona Lisa – she’s there in the Louvre, hanging on a wall. Those are sight-seeing trips and worthy in their own right.
But I feel like we earned the sights we saw. The wind never quite blew us over, the rain never daunted us, (the hail, either!) and if getting somewhere took some doing, well, we did it. Very soon, our group became a “We." You people who gathered for this expedition were gracious, fun and easy to travel with, without one exception out of 21 souls!
I came wanting to stand face to face with all the stunning beauty I had seen in pictures – and the realities were even more amazing than I dreamed.
I came, also, to be face-to-face with the Maori culture and history, which I’ve studied, and this, too, went beyond my hopes. Face to face with a Maori warrior (with a spear!) sending me his power in his Haka. (What a moment of travel! Like a time machine, and a great privilege for which I thank Lee and Karen and all of you.) And I thank, again, the dear Karen for taking us inside the settlement, the holy room, and inside her culture with love and grace.
Lee was our perfect guide/mother/friend – who always knew where we should be and when and the best way to get there, available for any question, and sharing her Kiwi life with us, a major, major(!) plus on the trip.
David Scott Silverberg was a surprise to me, not only for his depth of knowledge, but for that wonderful exuberance that had him explaining things with his whole body (!) because the facts are so exciting to him, and, so, he made them exciting to us. (Well, okay, some of us napped in the planetarium, but, hey we were tired that day, and I’m old). And then David would spoil us on the bus rides by reading (and very well) short stories by New Zealand authors, so that we gained yet another level in the study of a country and its people.
So I came away with many treasures: the day of the Haka, (sounds like my next film!) The wild ride through beautiful and dramatic Doubtful Sound, the amazing moments in that cave! (Just hearing our guide singing toward the roof of that great, ancient “cathedral,” let alone the dazzling glow worms (glimmer, glimmer). The wonderful land of the geysers and hot pools, and the use of that seemingly magic inner-earth to heat the Maori’s homes and cook their food. And the fine times and talks with all of you.
Let me now press noses and foreheads with each one of you. My wife enjoys sharing that lovely way of greeting with me, but, no, she doesn’t refer to me as Chief. Sigh.
Wishing you all splendid days.