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Miranda Rights

(Written by Travis)

My family in Texas has been complaining to me via Skype that the weather is hot as the devil’s armpits right now, but on my side of the equator it’s 3 months into winter. And since the roughneck architects who designed this country didn’t see the need to put pansy insulation in houses and my flatmates don’t believe in space heaters I’ve been fantasizing about 104 degree weather.

Texas winter’s are odd. Sometimes the weather will forget that it’s supposed to be winter and will lapse back into summer for a week of scalding heat and then drop back to freezing temperatures for a week, give you a day of 80 degree weather just to get your hopes up and then drop to 55 for a month. New Zealand will warm up a bit around lunch time, but other than that the weather is pretty monotonous, and since I work the night shift I don’t wake up in time to enjoy the 2-3 hours of semi-warm weather each day. So I decided to seek out alternative ways to beat the cold.

What New Zealand lacks in range of weather it more than makes up for in range of geography. One luxury offered up the earth here is an abundance of hot springs. There’s even a beach with hot springs bubbling out of the sand and flowing into the ocean, but that was 2 hours away. So we did a Google search for a closer hot spring and found one 50 minutes outside of Auckland in the almost nonexistent beach town of Miranda.

One of the things I’ve come to love most about New Zealand is that in addition to there being cool things to do everywhere, the drive to get those attractions is as enjoyable as the attractions themselves. You remember the cool scenery in Lord of the Rings? That wasn’t one little slice of New Zealand. The whole country looks like that. So everywhere you drive is like driving through a quaint picturesque fantasy world. Add to that the wide diversity of races and cultures here and you’re guaranteed to have a wide variety of delectable dining and snacking opportunities along your journey. Plus, people build a lot of weird shit here.

So on our 50 minute drive through Middle Earth we had Italian ice cream at an Asian farmer’s market, stopped at a beach made entirely of sea shells and found a giant metal bird.

The hot spring in Miranda used to be a hot swamp in the middle of nowhere, but the swamp was drained, a town was built over the swamp and named after a British warship that was used to oppress the Maoris, and a modern swimming pool was built over the spring.

The facilities were kind of run down by mainstream corporate American standards, but I rather like that about New Zealand. It doesn’t put on airs…or charge for them either. The hot spring was just a giant outdoor swimming pool that just happened to be steaming hot and smell faintly of sulfur. The people running the pool all wore jackets and toboggans while the visitors wore

swimsuits. Children ran from the water trailing steam to the trampoline you wouldn’t find at an American public swimming pool because the insurance rates and liability would be too high. And like everywhere in New Zealand, the radio blasted American music from 20 years ago.

Best Pizza in Auckland

It’s hard to put in words, but the best part of the trip was…nothing. We didn’t do anything. We had a lazy trip to a lazy hot pool where we loitered for about 4 hours before we hopped back to Auckland and picked up a hot pizza from Hell’s Pizza on our way back to our familiar electric blanket warmed bed (but of course, not before taking a long shower to get the faint smell of sulfur off our relaxed bodies).


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