Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Lucky or Brilliant - Revisited!

Ah!  A topic I've written about before.  For those who haven't read that prior post, a summary is that I have decided that my "brilliant" travel choices/decisions are really just "lucky" choices that appear brilliant in hindsight. And this trip has already served up plenty, including every AirBnB, the choice of dive company, and the happenstance routing that brought me to the heart of the celebration of a National holiday.  All lucky - ahem! brilliant choices!

One of the things I love about AirBnb is the personal contact with the hosts and their own stories.  On this trip alone my hosts have included a PhD in Psychology who is a lecturer at the University of Auckland, born in Santiago, Chile (my destination in April); a practitioner of Kinesiology and believer in the power of Neo-Life supplements; and, a proposal writer who is a strong adherent to the  studies of "mBraining" - using your head brain, heart brain, and gut brain for wisdom and success.

Of course, my luck with choosing AirBnb's is greatly served by ratings and reviews -- and my practiced understanding of how to read the reviews knowing that the personal contact between host and guest most often leaves the guest only writing about the positive stuff.  So, it is essential to read what the reviewers don't comment on -- with the knowledge that the personal contact tends to bias the review.  I'm no different -- it is far easier to write a critical review of a company or product where I have had no personal contact.  But, nonetheless -- in 3 places I've stayed so far -- there really hasn't been anything to be critical about and each have been hosted by intensely interesting individuals.

Each a "brilliant" choice!

Tutukaka Dive
Just as I did when I first decided to try Scuba, I relied entirely on the ratings of the TripAdvisor.Com website once I decided "where" I wanted to dive.  Here in the north island of New Zealand, I easily picked out the Poor Knights Islands - a world ranked dive site, and then just followed the TripAdvisor.com ratings to Tutukaka Dive.  I was not disappointed.  Certainly, as with all TripAdvisor reviews, there are plenty of negative reviews to slog though -- but I also read such reviews cautiously -- knowing that a person's attitude before and during the experience can greatly alter the experience.

Another "brilliant" choice!

Waitangi Day
When I booked this trip -- and decided on the routing -- I decided I wanted to visit the first European  settlement/original capital of New Zealand in the "Bay of Islands."  So, I picked an Airbnb in he coastal resort town of Paihia for a three night stay.  What I didn't know is that I would be arriving on the New Zealand National Holiday of Waitangi Day - a celebration of an 1840 treaty between the Europeans and the local indigenous Polynesian "Maori" people.

My AirBnb host was kind enough to leave a program in my room -- so upon arrival on February 6, I proceeded to the nearby Waitangi Treaty Grounds and enjoyed the local festival of music, food, dancing demonstrations, capped off by a ceremony that included the New Zealand Royal Navy Band.

Another "brilliant" choice!