November 3, 2004
It comes to something when you are forced to go to a McDonald’s in order to obtain an ice-cream!!!!!!
We have reached Tauranga a “thriving commercial and business centre, busy port and rich horticultural farmland” that with its “combination of location, climate, attractive beaches and many associated activities … has much to offer both the native and the visitor”.
What they fail to tell you is that you need a car to reach any of these attractions! And unless you are a serious shopaholic, all that’s in town of any general interest is the cinema.
Oh, and the man in the clown-like outfit and the unfittingly high voice which made you wonder whether he had suffered some kind of childhood accident involving his testicles being squeezed too tightly for an unseemly extended period of time.
So today, we took the bus out to ‘Mount Maunganui‘ and decided to do the trek round and enjoy this lovely seaside town.
Well it started well. We found the Mount – enjoying the bay, the white sand and the crystal clear waters that escorted us from the Visitor’s Centre to its base. We looked at the map – see the pretty colours distinguishing the different ways up? … And then we started on up.
It is lovely, pretty, gorgeous – your camera just can’t capture this, but you try your hardest anyway; otherwise why did you spend the money? After a time, we come across a crossway in the path – we had been expecting this as we were then gonna follow the hot pink track up.
But what we found was a VERY STEEP track that promised to have us at the summit in 25 minutes. This wasn’t what we’d been expecting, but we thought “We are young, and fairly fit … and 25 minutes isn’t that long so up we go”. Plus, whilst we were deciding what to do, this older Italian couple were coming down the path and you know how you start to want to prove yourself when people twice your age are putting you to shame??….. OK, so up we actually go…
On reflection, we should have paid closer attention to the sign. After all, when was the last time you saw a sign that included the word ‘very’ before describing its information?
So anyway, by the 3rd step up this path I was basically kissing my knees with each step and having to hold onto rocks and the sparsely growing vegetation to drag my fat arse upwards.
After 25 minutes of hyperventilating like a biyatch, we reach a plateau, only to realise that this is not in fact the summit. We know this because we met the lovely Yorkshire couple who were staying at our hostel – they had taken the easy, meandering path up from the other side of the Mount. That one probably passed through numerous, wonderfully large and soothing fields of bloody dandelions no doubt. ‘Scuse the tone but … they were at the same height on the Mount as us, but they were smiling. Whereas I was trying desperately not to throw up the contents of my own LUNGS as I had a vague recollection that it was supposed to be helpful to my continued existence.
All I knew was that at this point, I had NO INTENTION of climbing back down the same way. I’d sooner roll my officially obese carcass off the side of the mountain and pray to hit the water that surrounded us; or at least pray to land on something soft – like a sheep.
Our couple happily informed us that there was still a ways to go. Something about up a bit and then it turns into a track for 4x4s… blah, blah, blah (I couldn’t waste precious oxygen listening for the details). And oh, did we know that we had chosen the hardest route to come up the mountain? (Didn’t say that on the info board WE read, oh no. B!stards!!!) … But you are young, so it’s to be expected…enjoy the view, we are on our way down – and with a cheery wave, they were gone. (Probably skipping down the lavender-scented escalator that THEIR info board had told them about).
Anyway, from where we were, the only way was up. We had come so far already and so we decided that we needed to finish this. After all, we had done the hard bit and survived.
So we started walking again and anyway, by the 3rd step up this path I was basically kissing my knees with each step and having to hold onto rocks and the sparsely growing vegetation to drag my fat arse upwards…
Sound familiar? B!stards had built a mountain that duplicated its pain, I swear. Some 20 minutes later, we are enjoying a stunning surround presentation of Caribbean-standard golden beach-lapped islands floating in the cleanest, bluest water you would only normally be able to perceive with the help of costly computer-generated graphics – and probably some high grade illegal substances.
I use the view to appease my soul; I use the stone plinth as emergency stretcher for my wearied, hot, sweaty and complaining body and I use all my will not to throw up every meal I have eaten over the last week because I cannot get enough air into my body.
When my legs have stopped shaking, I prop myself up long enough to sup water like a dehydrated camel and to take some photos – am bloody gonna prove that I made this. B!stards. But wait. What is this I see? Is this not the summit? No? Just up this last path you say? …. Auburn and I had a quick chat. So close… We had to finish this.
So we then proceed to crawl up this slope. This description is not literature. The angle of the slope required some serious body contortions and I had to use the weight of my arse to stop me slipping back. The poor people coming up behind us learnt more about me than they had bargained for, for sure.
But then, behold! There is a sign post… which proceeds to inform us – in the happy tones of one who has never had to climb this blasted mountain – that there is still yet FIFTEEN MINUTES to go and then they PROMISE that we would have reached the summit.
Well…… Auburn and I said two bad words….
OK…. We said more than two! A veritable dictionary of foul language flowed from our lips as we exhaled our frustration, anger, disbelief and pain beyond reasonable description at having been misled. How could we have suffered so dearly and still not have reached the top? We had been climbing for near on an hour God damn it!
It was at this point that we decided that [two bad words] we weren’t going to kill ourselves in the attempt to prove we could reach the top of a mountain which up until two days ago, we had never heard of. We had shown willingness and stupidity to have got this far despite me and my clinically obese, in-the-middle-of-migraine-season and convulsing self and Auburn and her first-day-of-“Women’s Problems” self.
So we quit.
I don’t care what anyone has to say about that: as far as I’m concerned, anyone who had anything contrary to say about our decision was welcome to kiss my rotund, black arse!
Having finally made it back down the mountain, we lunched by the bay and then proceeded to walk round the town – with its lovely/beautiful/stunning beach and coastline. We were tempted to get an ice-cream, but decided to finish walking round and then treat ourselves later.
Did I mention that this was not going to be our day?
As it turns out, the town only has ONE ice-cream parlour!!!????!!! This is supposed to be a seaside town. Tourists travel from all over the world – and a fair few of the natives make the journey too – to come hang out here by the sea and yet there is only one ice cream parlour.
But we didn’t know this when we were passing it so had to head all the way back into Tauranga thinking as it’s bigger, we’d find one. We were wrong. We know, because we walked all round town (You know how it is when you get a particular taste need in your mouth).
We even asked a local and the best she could come up with was the frozen yoghurt shop – and despite following her instructions to the letter, we were unable to locate this mystical place.
We were so desperate, we ended up at the McDonalds: Yea, see how the great American global giant delivers thee thy dreams on a plate?
Please Note: This only goes for the ice-cream. The rest of the stuff they sell in there is rubbish and the last animal who died for the creation of a McDonald’s meal was a close descendant of a prehistoric mammal – the remains of which they are using as the filling in their hot apple pies (or at least that’s what it tastes like).
If you can actually find any meat in a Micky D burger … it’s an accident. Please send all complaints in writing to their Head Office.
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AUTHOR: I am might war. I have a love of music, the written word, travel, Anime, polar bears, people and “sticking and colouring”.