The Bay of Islands, Paihia, New Zealand. We arrived around 5 pm or so, after a scenic drive north. Rain was predicted for the following day and the skies looked like they would be sticking to that forecast. Paihia is a resort town full of hotels. Wendy didn't feel that she needed to make a reservation ahead of time, for a Monday night after the official end of the season - but she was wrong. Every sign said No Vacancy, but she wasn't worried, so neither did I. We finally found one off the beaten track, quite lovely in fact and newly renovated. (The Nautilus in case you're traveling.) We dined on crayfish in a waterfront restaurant (35 Degrees South) and went back to the hotel where Lea offered to read and balance our chakras. All this and healing as well. No wonder we were having such a spiritual experience in New Zealand.
The next morning we rode a ferry across the bay to Russell, originally named Kokorareka. Around the late 1830s, it was an early harbour and capital of NZ and also known as the "Hell Hole of the Pacific." Home to Maori, sailors, and missionaries, it saw it's share of the seamier side of life. It is now picturesque, peaceful and quiet. And no rain! The sun peeked from behind the clouds and the threat of rain disappeared. After a big breakfast (brekkie) we headed out to see the sights. First stop, Pompallier, New Zealand's first Catholic mission, which still operates as a tanning and printing factory. We were armed with our cameras and I was ready to shoot when, after nina took a shot of a beautiful Virgin Mary statue, she asked the Maori tour guide if it was OK (usually we ask first, but we were just so excited).
"No pictures, please," he said, so you'll just have to use your imagin-ation or click on the link. It was an informative and interesting tour. Pompallier's mission was to print Maori language books for the Roman Catholic Mission. As bookmakers, we were eager to learn about early bookmaking and even had a couple of "aha" moments about the process. Nina had feared the guide was upset with her, but after his demo of the printing press and bookbinding, he offered her the print he pulled from the antique printing press. "No worries." From there it was a stroll around town and then down to the beach for natural treasures - this time stones.
(The following is a public service announcement. We will return to our regularly scheduled program in just a moment.) There are many reasons why this trip was one of the best times of my life. Of course I was away from the pressures and stresses of my daily existance, but I was also outside so much of the time, and near water. I read just yesterday that fresh air is full of negative ions, and city air (where I live) is full of positive ions. "High concentrations of negative ions can be found in nature in mountain forests, waterfalls, and beaches where people feel energized and invigorated, which helps relieve stress, alleviate depression, boost energy."
"The electric field caused by the positive static charge that appears on a CRT (computer monitor) in normal operation sweeps the nearby air of negative charges, thereby depleting the negative-ion concentration in the immediate vicinity." So here I am, wanting you to read my blog, yet telling you to get outside and breathe some fresh air. All I know is that being outdoors everyday contributed to our well-being. When I mentioned this to Wendy, she said "New Zealanders do spent alot of time outdoors and near the water, thats where we find it most relaxing." That's proof enough for me, ions or not. Another healing thing Lea told us to do was to walk barefoot in the grass. We did that there in New Zealand and again in Australia. We are wondering now, how we can continue here at home when the ground is covered with snow and the temperatures hover in the 30s. Spring officially starts on Wednesday. I'm ready.