1.8 viparyayo mithyanjananam atadrupa pratistham
Alpaca are bright eyed and cute as all get up. They are actually a domesticated species of camelid, that looks like a baby camel mixed with sheep. They are cute until you get spit on by one and let me tell you those suckers can get some distance. Fortunately I was standing just far enough back to only catch part of it on my forehead and miss the full face blast from the critter that was having a bit of a spat with his buddy near the fence. The idea that they would be super fun to nuzzle up against faded quickly. In my mind they had soft fur and big eyes like sheep so they would be just as cuddly. I discovered this was not really the case. I had perceived the alpaca to be like the sheep and it was far from it. ahhh sutra on incorrect knowledge and assumption, you got me first thing in the morning with a lesson of alpaca spit!
We had stopped off the side of the road to great the alpaca and get a few photos. The owner of the farm came out to meet us and invited us in to see his operation and told us all about these furry friends. 1. Do not stick your hand over the fence. They may eat grass but still have sharp front teeth. Instead you can put you face down and they will sniff you and press their nose against you. (This made me hesitate. What was going to keep it from biting my nose instead of pressing against it?) 2. Alpaca have an 11 month gestation period and we were luck enough to see a two week old baby. They only have one at a time. Twins are extremely rare. 3. They sheer the Alpaca once a year. The fiber from them is super soft. To make even softer blends it is sometimes mixed with silk.
The farmer was very talkative. We get the full tour of the tiny shop where the wool would be carded, spun and woven or knitted into various items. I think the gentleman would've chatted us up all day, but we politely made our way back to our journey towards Rotorua.
Rotorua is home to the Maori villages The Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand. The tribesmen and women are known for their Haka (vigorous chants with movements) and extreme facial tattoos. The area also draws in tourist to see the geysers and geothermal activity of the land.
Our hotel, Pohutu Lodge is backed up to a geyser that goes off every 35 minutes. It is quite a sight (and distinctive odor). The town has commercialized everything so it is hard to get to any space without spending a bit of money. The owner of the lodge, gave us access off the back of the property to go see all the geysers and views of the villages with out being charged. He also clued us into a local space called Kerosene Creek. The creek runs at about 105 degrees and is a short drive out of town. It was easy enough to get to and secluded enough to not be crowded. The water was clear and its heat felt amazing to my body after all of the time spent driving to get to Rotorua. It was amazing to me how the creek looked like any other and you could not tell that it was heated until you actually got into the water. A passer by might assume that it was cold and clear. I pondered how we filter the world through the lens we already know and how often we can make assumptions about a place, person or state of being that might not really be in line with what is actually occurring.
We we lucky enough with time to get back, clean up and have a short nap before the bus picked us up for the evening activities. We had booked a tour of the Mitai Maori Village. Our driver, John, was one of the Maori tribesmen and our guide for the evening. He was a sweet and gentle soul with an amazing ability with language. He greeted each group we picked up with a phrase from their native tongue. During the course of the evening he talked to the larger visiting group and called us the tribe of many nations. There were 23 different nations represented and he spoke to all of them with humor and special insight into their people. I was moved by the fact that this small tribe would make such and effort to connect with cultures and languages from all over while most of the people visiting could barely say Maori.
The remainder of the evening was a mix of Maori history, culture, performance and of course food. You will certainly not go hungry on these tours. The meals were prepared in a giant in ground hole with hot stones. Lamb, chicken, potatoes and sweet potatoes had been cooking in a traditional fashion for the better part of the day. Brian and I suspended our vegetarian methods and agreed to graciously eat what ever was provided by the tribe. The food was delightfully tasty. Unfortunately, I eat meat so rarely that it sat a bit heavy in my belly and I got full really fast. After dinner we were taken for an evening walk into the forest and at a certain point asked to turn off our lanterns. The edges of the cold water spring glowed a soft neon green. We had just experienced the glow worms. I have always been fascinated by species that exhibit bio-luminescence.
The face tattoos are really amazing. There are four birds represented in the tattoos and each marking is earned by the warrior for duty, and education. The right side of the face will exhibit the story of the father's side of the family and the left side, the mother's family history. Women are only given one bird on the chin and a women's tattoo may progress down towards her throat if she has provided the tribe with many children. If a warrior has provided many children he receives ink also on his private region. The art of ink for the tribe was a very painful method of piercing the skin deeply with a chisel and using an ink made of a certain tree gum and dog feces that forces the wound to heal open and scar along with maintaining the deep green markings. Today more modern methods are used. The Maori believed if you could not take the pain, you id not deserve the markings. Ink is an honor and a right of passage.
The culture is filled with contrast between aggressive and sharp practices and tender moments of loving expressions. The Maori greeting is to gently touch noses two times. One touch symbolizes the families before them and the other bounds you in friendship. There are clear an specific gender roles, but the women are cherished and deeply protected. Song, dance and play are abundant. Wooden carvings now hang where the heads of the enemies used to around the camp.
The facial expressions of the people were very different and I realized how it would take time for me to be able to read the emotional state of this culture. I thought again about the lens with which we view the world and wonder how many times we get it wrong when it comes to what another person may be thinking. A stern look from someone might not have anything to do with us at all. Perhaps they were deep in thought. Maybe a person has a nervous laughter and smirks when you talk to them. I thought about a recent disagreement with a young women I know. I felt her expression gave me no indication of caring at all, what does she really feel. I can not assume to truly know her inner thoughts. How do I navigate future conversations with her to avoid any misconceptions on either part. I supposed it first begins with trying to cultivate the ability to ask more questions than assume we know what the other person is feeling based on a random glance or tone that might not fully express what we mean. Add into the mix the less than emotionally telling or easy to read into sensibility of email and we are in a whole new world of potential mistaken knowledge.
Awareness- willingness to look deeper- open to shifting patterns
We will be spending the day in Rotorua and then back to Auckland
Boundless Yoga Staff & Students
We are continuously interested on how our reactions and responses to our personal journeys, albeit travel, adventure, new job, etc. mirror and reflect our social, emotional and spiritual ups and downs. We try every day to apply what we learn about ourselves on the yoga mat to our personal lives. Thank you for tuning in as we share some of those aspects with you.