December 7

When we woke up this morning we continued our journey toward the Mount. We decided to hike around the base of the actual mountain and explore the town a bit. It was a beautiful area, but I was certainly right to move to Taupo, rather than Mount Maunganui. It was a very touristy town; it was similar to Paihia, but larger.

After our stop at the Mount, we decided to meet one of Zhoel’s friends, Joel. He is a chef so we visited his restaurant and invited him to spend the afternoon fishing with us. It was a lovely afternoon of visiting, despite the windy weather and lack of bites. Joel was very friendly and had a subtle sense of humor. He and Zhoel clearly got along very well. In the evening, the two chefs made us dinner. Dinner was delicious Asian style local mussels. NZ mussels are larger than Maine ones and the shells are different in appearance. I think that I actually prefer them. Joel’s wife Victoria joined us for dinner as well. She was hysterical and so much fun! I wish that we would’ve had more time with them.

After dinner, we headed back toward Taupo until we were too tired to carry on driving.

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