Monthly Archives: June 2012

Goodbye Old Friends

Charlyn and Radek are off for South America. I can’t believe we’ve only worked together for about five months. It feels like a lot longer. I suppose when you’re isolated in a town that’s not your own, bonds form a lot quicker than normal. Plus, they’re just good people in general and I’m going to miss them a lot.

For Radek’s last night shift, Charlyn, Cris and I hung out at reception and helped clean up for the last time. We cleaned the reception and lounge area and threw away rubbish. In the kitchen, we washed dishes and wiped down the stove. Apparently, there are tons of dishes to do at night. I don’t envy having to wash up after all the guests. It’s bad enough in the morning with the breakfast dishes, but I think the grease and burnt dinner food are worse.

South America is Radek and Charlyn’s last stop before finally returning home after being on the road for a long time. By the time they arrive in Europe, it’ll be close to two years of traveling for them. Before I left home, even a year of traveling was unfathomable. Now, however, two years doesn’t even seem to be enough time, especially for the number of places they’ve visited. I guess it really comes down to your perspective and frame of reference in the end.

With their departure, there are staff vacancies to fill. Cris began training with Radek in December and will take his shifts. I’m sliding into Charlyn’s dual role of head housekeeper and receptionist. A third person, a girl named Maria from Mexico, will be arriving shortly to pick up the last shift. Hopefully between the three of us, things will continue to run smoothly at the hostel.

For the next three months I’ll work close to 60 hours per week between Nuvolari and Crank. The money will be good, but who knows if I’ll survive to enjoy it. After doing a bit of number crunching, I will, ironically, be working more hours for less pay than if I was working at home. Of course, if I lived and worked at home, I’d never be able to live and work in New Zealand. This, I suppose, is the great equalizer and overrides the illogical means to an end.

So, despite having already been in Rotorua for around four months, I’ve signed on for another three months. I’m not sure whether this is a good decision or not because I could always try another town and another job. But, I really do like it here and it’s turning into a second home for me.

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Sabroso: Authentic South American Cuisine

If you know me, you know I love nachos. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a decent order of nachos since arriving in New Zealand. I’ve tried them everywhere, especially in Rotorua, but none were very authentic until Sabroso.

A husband and wife team own the Sabroso, and the wife grew up in South American and knows how to really throw down the Spanish and Latin American flavors. Lennard, Marilyn and I visited Sabroso for dinner one night before Marilyn went to work. All three of us settled on the nachos – Marilyn had the veggie version; Lennard had the chicken version; and I had the beef version.

For the first time since arriving in New Zealand, the corn chips weren’t cheese flavored corn chips. I’m not sure why the Kiwis have a fascination with cheese flavored chips, but they’re served everywhere I’ve had nachos. It’s almost like eating Doritos nachos. What happened to the regular salted corn chips?

Another thing that set Sabroso apart from the rest of the places I’ve been to is that they used real beef. Instead of ground/mince beef, they actually had chucks of shredded beef and chicken. The meat was so tendered that it just fell apart when you bit into it. It was delicious! Whatever they use to marinate the meat is really nice. The meat is flavorful without being overpowering.

Lastly, there were three different kinds of chili sauces that you could use. The heat index ranged from mild to really hot so you can cater it to your specific taste. The interior design of the restaurant is really quaint and the size of the place itself isn’t very big. It almost feels as though you’re in a small South American village and are enjoying a nice meal with close friends. I’ll have to go back and try other things on their menu. I’m sure they’re just as wonderful as the nachos.

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A Typical Rotorua Sunset

There’s a saying in Hawaii that goes: “Lucky we live Hawaii.” I’m happy to report that this is also true for New Zealand. The natural beauty of this country is astounding at times. Having been here for a while now, I sometimes take it for granted and even forget about it. But, every once in a while, you’re surprised by the sheer awesomeness of this place.

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