Sunday, 26 August 2012

Week 15 - Adrenalin Forest, full exposure massages & the long ride home...

Adrenalin Forest!

Hey Everybody,
After last week's reflections on the minefield that is cultural differences, I really wanted to have a relaxed week and weekend. I thought I'd do this by having another full body massage at my Chinese 'House of pain' and try and do something fun - so I did just that! 

Between Yoga & gym sessions (oops, I think that's the first time I mentioned I started yoga officially)... well anyway, between these activities I headed back to my Chinese Massage place, and found quite a full waiting room. I said I didn't mind waiting until someone was free. After 10 mins or so, I heard some chairs being scraped around, and a little Chinese woman popped her head around the corner, and said 'ok, we make a room for you'. The 'room' was not really a room, it was a space usually reserved for neck and back massages, which was basically open to anyone walking past... I assumed that they would put up a screen, but oh no, I was asked to 'take off my clothes' apart from my underwear, and lie on the table. Feeling rather exposed, I just did as I was told and tried to enjoy the massage. All was well for 15 minutes, until the middle-aged lady unfolded the towels covering my legs and bottom (remember I am lying in an open planned spec with no cover) and basically pulled down my boxer shorts a little... I was lying there thinking I was totally exposing my arse to the world! Every time I heard a floor board creek, I was getting nervous that someone else was going to get a view of my bottom cheeks! Fortunately my 'indecent exposure' lasted only briefly before being allowed to enjoy the rest of my massage!  
Adrenalin Forest
Work has been quite intense for me this week, having to deal with some quite high expressed emotions  and a number of difficult conversations with clients, so having a fun weekend was high on priority list. I had been told about a place called 'Adrenalin Forest' based in a nearby town of Porirua, (a 20 minute train ride away). It's the UK equivalent of 'Go Ape' - which is basically an adventure course with rope climbing, zip lines, and rope wire, all set above the ground between 5-50ft+ in the trees! It was just $38, (£19) for 3 hours! (See pictures)
Adrenalin Forest

Adrenalin Forest
Now this course had 7 levels, 1-6 (with a 3a), so we started on level 1, before moving to level 3, and then headed for level 5. There was a bit of a que so thought we'd be adventures and head to the top level - level 6! = MISTAKE.... I was knackered just climbing the 2 rope ladders to the first platform, before a quite nightmare 50ft long 'wire walking' task, made even more difficult by the fact the very trees we were walking between, were moving more than a plastic bag in a hurricane! I tried to keep a  brave face, but if I'm being totally honest, I was very scared and was close to quitting on more than one occasion (I mean you could almost smell the fear!), which would have resulted in being 'rescued' but the staff there - as embarrassing as that might have been, I was scared enough on one of the final obstacles to have considered this option, I just had no strength left in my arms... 

We managed to complete the course, by enjoying the final few zip wires back down to earth! I'm glad I did the course before suggesting it to others, so I don't send somebody up a tree to get stuck! Having said all that, there was a young teenage kiwi kid who did the top level with no fear, and put me to shame! 

One of the easier tasks!
After an afternoon of fear and high energy activity, what better way to end the day than with a local 'Winter Festival' - this being in a town called Petone. Arriving by bus, a quick stroll to the beach led us to the main action, where a number of previously made sculptures had been set on fire as part of the festival. Lots of people milled about the beach, with  few food stalls and small fair ground rides. People waited for the main event - the fire work display which lasted for about 25 mins. It was a pretty good show, made all the better being by the sea. 
At Petone Winter Festival
Burning Sculptures

Petone Fireworks
Petone Fireworks
Can you spot the man in a tie? 
My final story of the week, comes from today. I head a rumor... (always the way to know what's going on in these parts), that there was great sale on at a bicycle shop (Rocket Bikes) in Lyall Bay - on the other side of the hill. After getting a bus there, I found a great deal to pick up a Road/Moutain cross bike with helmet, lights, water bottle holds, pump, lock and lights for just $500 (£250), the bike alone was originally priced over $500! (Oh, and it's a legal thing to wear a helmet here!) They even gave me a free water bottle! Anyway, when I asked if they could deliver the bike to my place, they smiled, laughed (in a nice way) and said no! I was left with no other choice than to ride the bloody think home... the only problem was that I was over the other side of the hill/mountain, and was wearing jeans and a thick hooded top... it was going to be a long and sweaty ride home. 

It was a long and sweaty ride home, but I made it, and safely! Now I can cycle around the bays on a nice sunny day, complete with windproof cycle jacket from Katmandu! Whilst I am clearly embracing the Kiwi healthy outdoor lifestyle, let me assure my good friends and family, that I will stop short of wearing florescent lycra and skin tight shorts! - Though having said that I do now own a pair of skinny jeans, bought here, and probably not suitable for a 33 year old! 

Ok before I divulge any more worrying personal information, I think it's time to go to bed! Lets end with some fireworks! 

Regards from New Zealand!


  1. Hi Dan, it's that time of year again when match of the day is on and I'm trying to find something more interesting to entertain me, so the obvious choice was your blog, especially as I had a couple of weeks to catch up on. I think you're in that really interesting stage where you're settling in nicely but that means the initial excitement is wearing off and the home sickness creeps in, being poorly doesn't help, because as you say that's the time you want close friends around you. I hope you don't have too many more days like those. I'm really interested in the cultural issues that you're coming across, it's not always the obvious things that create the issues. The professionalism issues is an interesting and tricky one, I'm sure your perception is correct, you've worked long enough and in lots of different settings to know what professional behaviour looks like, what's interesting, as you say, is trying to establish if it is isolated to your team or is part of a wider cultural attitude/approach, either way that puts you in a difficult situation, having to decide whether you accept it for what it is or try to tackle it, I wish you luck with this and look forward to following how it develops.

    It's the first day of autumn here and a few of us are considering putting the heating on, mind you I've been tempted a couple of times during the so called summer! The kids go back to school this week and we're hotting up for the new academic year at Uni, so it won't be long before we're all talking about Christmas!!

    Happy blogging, I look forward to the last updates x

  2. Should say latest updates, that's predictive text for you!