Sunday, December 9, 2007

Maori Dinner; Grumpy Mole

A few "facts" about the Maori people that I picked from various sources.
- Like the American Indian, the Eskimo, and the Australian Aboriginie, the Maori are an oppressed, depressed indigineous group displaced by ambitious aggressive white folks
- They have a higher than average rate of obesity, poverty, and alcoholism.
- They are of Polynesian descent, like the Tongans, Hawaiians, and Samoans
- the movie "Whale Rider" was about Maori people.
- a hangi is a special barabeque native to the Maori (food is cooked in an open pit that is covered with dirt.)
- Haka is a Maori war cry, a variation is used by the New Zealand rugby team.

The Maori Dinner

This was a dinner show with a Maori master of ceremonies who told jokes and led a tradional Maori dance ceremony. As I entered the event, I gave my ticket to the hostess and ask for a table with attractive single women in there late 30's and 40's. She gave me a sadistic laugh and seated me at a table with a bunch of couples, including one that was celebrating their anniversary. Neither the bride nor groom looked old enough to shave. The show wasn't bad but I felt bad for the performers, who once owned New Zealand and who were now reduced to doing goofy shows for white tourists. Still, it could have been worse and the food and company was good.

Nature Walk

After dinner, those of us who paid for the VIP treatment got a tour of the nature preserve. The highlight was the kiwis, a distant cousin of the ostrich. The birds are nocturnal and are the silliest looking animal I've ever seen. A kiwi looks like a large chicken with a Beatles' haircut. The birds weigh about 20 pounds and were scurrying around in their pens doing the things that captive kiwis do in their spare time: poking the ground, looking for bugs, hiding from tourists. The flightless, virtually defenseless, birds are endangered, so we were not allowed to touch or shoot at any of them.

When I got back to my hotel it was 11:30 and I was in the mood for one last beer.
I went down the street to a place called the Grumpy Mole. The place was virtualy empty except a few kids dancing and a huge Maori bouncer who was about the size of a grand piano.

I bought a beer and stood at the bar taking everything in. A 49-year old drunken woman came into the bar and ordered a drink. She started a conversation. She was from New Zealand, worked as a security guard, and had grown children. She told me her age. I told her mine. We toasted. She invited me to dinner the next day. I told I would be leaving town but thanked her for her offer. She kept talking. I smiled politely. She said she was from New Zealand. She said she had grown children and worked as a security guard. She asked me if I wanted to have dinner the next day. This was all starting to sound familiar. I told her I was leaving town and thanked her. She kept talking. She said she was from New Zealand... I excused myself to go to the bathroom.

I got back to my room at 1:00 am. I put on my headlamp and read. I was asleep by 2:00 and had to get up at 7:00 am to catch the bus to my next destination a town called Taupo.