Luging, for those of you not familiar with the concept (which appears to also evade my dictionary), involves taking something akin to a tea tray on wheels down a smooth concrete track as fast as you dare. Said tea tray is equipped with a handlebar which provides both steering and braking capabilities.
Getting to the luge start point requires a trip up Mount Ngongotaha (I have no idea how you even go about trying to pronounce that, as far as I can see the locals have given up too and refer to the hillock as Nongy) in a Gondola. This affords rather spectacular views across both Lake Rotorua and the town of Rotorua itself, and despite the nagging feeling that there should be both snow and ski equipment all around me, was almost worth the trip alone.
Of course, my view on this changed when I actually started the luging. After choosing a helmet (dreadlocks make helmet picking a serious challenge) that didn’t make me look too special, it was time to get luging. A brief overview of how the luge worked (push stick forward to go faster, back to go slower) later, and it was off down the 2km long scenic track.
Personally I viewed the entire experience as a challenge to go as fast as possible. Many of the other folk in my group were not so enamoured of this ideal, so I ended up at the bottom somewhat faster than most, with many a yee-haa and a whoop trailing behind me in what I can only imagine was a dignified fashion.
The rest of the party (there were five of us in total) followed shortly behind, coasting in somewhat more gracefully.
At the bottom of the luge track one hops onto a chairlift to go back up, a remarkable system which also works to carry the little luge karts back to the start of the track. Which I was impressed by at least.
For our second ride we decided to eschew the intermediate track and go straight for the advanced option – a bit like deciding to hit the black run after your first skiing lesson I realised in retrospect. This was a winding steep affair, with heavily banked sides and even a little jump to get to grips with. All of us managed to make it to the bottom in one piece on a white knuckle ride that was over rather too quickly. The downside of speed.
The final run took us down the intermediate track (well, we had three rides each and there were three tracks, so in the spirit of investigation this seemed to be the sensible option), which after some review, we concluded was our favourite. It had the perfect balance of speed and length (insert inappropriate joke here), with just the right level of difficulty and a nasty slalom section to keep us on our toes.
Overall, the luging was a really fun experience, and one I’m going to be recommending to people. I’m not sure there is anything in Rotorua thus far that isn’t going to count as a fun experience, as so far the track record is good.
Other than luging, life is continuing as per usual. The ins and out of running a hostel continue to keep me mind bogglingly busy, even if the majority of the “work” involves chatting with travellers about their days and their lives.
Personality is a big thing in a hostel, and the importance of maintaining an overwhelmingly positive attitude is pretty much the key thing. Luckily I am blessed to have positivity in spades, plus the quirkyness in me appears to thrive in this environment, a place where wearing bunny ears to work is almost encouraged.
What more could I want from a job I ask you. Hopefully all is well wherever you are in the world. Keep on smiling, and I’ll have more soon 🙂