Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Life in Oct 16 - Feb 4


If you go to the previous blog in this series, it says - a period of calmness.
Well it was calmness before the storm as the next period was a torrent of action.  One thing after another and it was all planned and executed to perfection.


Travel -
- Travel was the bulk of the activity. All started with the 16 day NZ trip . Documented here, here and here
- Immediately after NZ, after 10 days, we were off to run Kaveri Trail Marathon in Mysore.  It was a HM after a long time, took 3 hrs plus but feels good to have done it without injury. Report is documented here.
- All of the above was in Nov. For NY, it was an impromptu plan to attend Sunburn @ Pune. Amazing experience plus a road trip from BLR.
- For the anniversary weekend, Kanishka and I decided to visit Sunderbans + Kolkata together with Aman and Divya.  Kolkata was a foodie trip and Sunderbans is a hidden gem in India.  Report will be shared soon.

Events-
Life in city (when not traveling) was also full of activities. December is anyways a month of lots of interesting things.
- Ruhaniyat - This year edition had a group of 9 from our side. Here was the lineup -
Mongolian performance by Hosoo Khosbayar
Mukhtiyar Ali and group
Belgian performance by Louvat brothers.
Nandesh Umap and group from Maharashtra
Qawwali by Chisti brothers
All were good but nothing stood out like last year. But a great night with home-cooked rolls under open skies.

- Sunburn was anyways the highlight and as Kanishka says - 'once in a lifetime experience'

- Play - Ram lala ki Mata at Ranga Shankara. A play on role of Kaikeyi in Ramayana and why she did what she did. A self aware play which tries to rope in the current political topics into its narrative. But overall not very spectacular either.

- Concert : Local Train at Phoenix market city. There is only one Indian pop band which I started following closely in last year, it was Local Train and I got to know that they were coming to Bangalore. I instantly booked tickets. It was amazing performance. The best highlight was the crowd as these were the die-hard fans of this band. Each song before the artist could sing as sung by the crowd. It was a thrilling performance and it was so good to be in good company of today's youth.


While travel and concerts were happening at one end, Kanishka and I decided to leave our life of rental nomads and decided to buy a flat in Sobha Daffodils. But post the registration, the process of finding a good interior designer and ideas for interior made us go out every weekend from one group to another, and in the online world from one website to another. The process is still underway and we are hoping things to get done by April.


Movies -
First Man- 4/5 Again a process movie (no doubt it is by the same guy who wrote Spotlight - Josh singer), but very well executed. I think the major accomplishment of Damien Chazelle is that he makes Ryan Gosling watchable :) Soundtrack was amazing and it is now my ring tone too!

Watched a bunch of bad action movies - Close (2/5), The girl in Spider's web(2/5), and rom-com - Leap year (3/5), The Spy who dumped me (2/5) , The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (3/5)

Tumbad -
4.5/5
Watched on the way to Pune in road trip.  Very well done film. Probably the finest horror film from India.  Absolutely highly recommended.

Raazi -
3.5/5
Good story telling and good acting. Liked it a lot.


Mowgli - Legend of the Jungle
3/5
Adds a darkish tone to the entire Jungle book and comes out okay.

TV Series -
Finished Gilmore girls. Watched it till season 5 and skimmed through 6 or 7.  There are lot many things to like here but some things are just unwatchable.
Brooklyn Nine Nine. I am a fan boy. 5/5. Love all the aspects of the show.
Bodyguard - 3.5/5 Not as good as Line of Duty but still action and performance keeps it going.
Also finished season 1 of Mad men by forcing to watch and get it done. Not an easy series to watch.
Black Mirror - Watched 3 more episodes and each one is a good one. Will take some time to get back to it.


Books

- Finished Sacred Games. 3.5/5 The first half is amazing with good commentary on what happens at a police station and how cops work. The making of Ganesh Gaitonde is also amazing. But the ending though it ties together things is not as thrilling as it should be.
It was a mammoth book and took 2 months to finish.

















Saturday, January 5, 2019

Pune + Sunburn 2018

What to do for New Year's Eve? A question that did not occur to me till last few years as the answer was always office. Last three years has been busy ensuring people have good time out there. This year, it was my turn. I had been meaning to attend good EDM concerts for a long time. My new year resolution of 2018 to attend 20 music concerts was there to address my desire to listen to more music. Co-incidentally, Sunburn happens at NYE and is the best of what EDM can offer in this country.

With just two weeks to go, flight tickets were expensive. Those within budget were at very odd times. Plus, transportation within Pune was also difficult to find - there was only one automatic car available for rent during our time. All research proved that it would be a costly exercise. As I was discussing the same with Nikesh, he gave the idea to do a road trip from Bangalore. It is only 13.5 hrs. This solved both the local transportation problem as well as the BLR - Pune problem. 13.5 hrs was long but doable in a day. So, with this the plan was set.



Day 1 -
We left Bangalore at 4 am on Sat 29th. A day before I had made plans on how to optimize the car time - Watch movies. Borrowed iPad from papa and bought an elastic wire to hang the iPad on the back of car seat. I had tried to order a fancy car accessory for this but somehow the transaction did not go through. Hence, this cheap-o-hack was done and I was very proud of it.


We had our breakfast at Chitradurga and lunch at Sankeshwar. Lunch was at Hotel Sarkaar and this was almost at the Karnataka - Maharashtra border. We had this delicious Soul Kadhi made with kokum and curd, along with some delicious simple food. 



We reached Pune at around 8:30 pm. It took us 2 hrs just to cover the last 30 kms stretch - a perfect welcome by Pune traffic.  For dinner, we decided to check out the iconic Dorabjee and sons restaurant - a classic Parsi cuisine. Since we reached quiet late, there was no vegetarian option left except for Salli which is nothing but thin sliced potato chips. Amazing that Parsis call this as a side dish. The Dhansak dal was amazing. Food again was simple but very well made.


Day 2 :
Our first stop was breakfast at the legendary Cohuman cafe. Simple omlette and bread-butter has not tasted this good ever. I had a cheese double egg omlette and those cheese chunks made it incredibly awesome. 

Next, we went to Pune University where Kanishka reminisced her college days. The campus itself is very beautiful with lot of Banyan trees. With winter break + today being Sunday, it was mostly closed. We walked around for some time.


Post campus, we decided to have lunch at FC road where we did some shopping. Our lunch was at Sukanta restaurant which was ordinary. Though the restaurant had katiputli outside their premises which was a good idea. We directly went to Sunburn from there. We were on time and hence one of the first few to enter the premises. Sunburn was at Oxford valley which is practically outside Pune. The road itself for last 4 kms is under construction.


From the above list, we listened to Madoc, Sartek for some time folllwed by Shiva Mandvi for some time. Followed by Afro Bros and Salvator Ganacci. The night liners Alan Walker was amazing. We attended Armin Van Buuren only for 30 mins and then left the venue as we had an early day the next day. I did not like Salvator Ganaaci that much but Afro Bros were good. Shiva Mandvi was ok.  The laser lights and other spectacle was our first time and we found it to be amazing. The VIP section tickets were not of that much use as we were frequently walking to checkout other artists. 

Alan Walker was really good.  We loved the music. Kanishka even danced to some of his tunes. It was irresistible to not move on his beats. We also listened to Candice Redding for few mins and found her to be good as well. The food stalls were expensive and not that tasty either. 

Day 2 : NYE day -
We started our day earlier and went to meet Shweta didi. Her place was about 45 mins away. We were there at 7:30 am and had good time meeting everyone there. Chole bhature for breakfast was also amazing.  We checked out her army salon and then went to hotel to get ready for Sunburn. For lunch, we went to this amazing place Shabree which served authentic Mahrashtrian food on the way to Sunburn.





Our non familiarity with artists made us decided to the main stage itself. Still, we would listen to main artist for 30-40 mins and then sneak out to listen to others. We started with Ellie Prohan - a London based DJ. Shaan was an Indian DJ and decent. We sneaked out to listen to Aaryan Gala and found him to be pretty good to. Gully Gang or Divine is the Indian hip hop band and it was refreshing to listen to rap lyrics in hindi. It is time that someone did that. They did it well too.  



Mercer was ok but we went for 18 East which I thought to be the best artist. He had a total trance setup in which he would blast off a suber high bass sound that would make hair stand tall on your hands. Since it was on a side stage, we were able to walk all the way to front and stand in front of speakers. Amazing experience. 



The second last act was by Krewella a duo female band and they had very good tracks. They themselves were very energetic and engaged the crowd thoroughly. DJ snake was the highlight of the evening but we found him to be ok. Little mainstream so to say. But still we stuck out for the midnight fireworks




We had to face a 2 hr jam as everyone was trying to get out at the same time from the venue. While the fireworks are definitely worth watching once, but next time, I would leave 30 mins early just to beat the traffic.


Day 4:
We left little late at 10 am. We had quick breakfast at Kattikarr which serves only Misal - a local Puneri dish. Misal was very spicy and chilly. I was trying to order a high spicy one when the server asked to switch to medium which was also very spicy for my taste buds. We stopped at Kolhapur for a Punjabi lunch and then later at Upadhyay for dinner. I was trying to finish sacred games on the way back but it is still pending.

On the forward journey, I saw Tumbadd on iPad and totally loved it. It is definitely a very unique and stylized film. Would rate it 4/5. We also saw Raazi along the journey which is also a great film. Comicstaan episodes were an easy and perfect watch along the way too.

Sunburn overall was interesting. Definitely some great music and now I know whom to follow in the EDM arena. A good short trip to end this very travel heavy year of 2018!





Friday, January 4, 2019

KTM + Mysuru 2018

Running a KTM has become almost like an annual event now. This was my fifth run. Kanishka's third run. But this time, I decided to do a Half marathon instead of 10K even though I was not prepared for it. But I still wanted to run the distance this time.  Since Kanishka and Aarti were running 10K which happens on Sunday, and I was 21K which was on Saturday, it meant that we would be in Mysuru for the weekend. Means, some sightseeing was on the table this time.

The plan -
Leave Bangalore Friday evening (5pm types) to reach Mysuru by 9 pm. Sleep early, wake up early and run the HM. Post HM, relax and do some sight seeing in the evening. Next day, do 10K and then freshen up and leave for BLR.

Day 0 -
We decided to drive on our own. We took the less crowded Kanakpura route which also had good scenic views along the way. Our stay was booked at this lovely Solitude homestay in Mysuru. The owner was living there and he was very helpful to us in guiding us to its location and also for nearby directions. In his absence, Google maps leaves you at middle of nowhere. The homestay is tucked in between some farms with a kachcha road to it and without some help, there is no way to reach there. But once reached, the food was homemade space was homely. Aarti decided to take the train and she would join us on Saturday noon.


Day 1 -
The RUN -
My run was decent. I was slow but never in pain. The KTM weather was nice as ever. I could see that I was slow but the point was to finish and that I did. It took me 3 hrs and 5 minutes. I wanted it to be under 3 hrs so was little disappointed. I would have taken 2:59 gladly :) But there was no injury and I got to finish a HM after almost 2 years, so that was a big relief. KTM trail never bores you and along the way the water stations had peanuts, oranges with salt, parleGs, bananas and potato chips. It felt like picnic. I stayed away from potato chips to finish the run.

Breakfast post run was decent but they ran out of Idlis by the time we got there. So, we took a quick stop at some Halli on the way back to our homestay.  On our way back, we crossed a lot of farms which had these nice yellow flowers. Kanishka decided to have her Virasaat - farm girl photo taken -



Day 1 : Post run
After relaxing, we went to pick up Aarti from station. Her train was later and we say the railway museum right next to the train station. The rail museum is surprisingly well maintained. It has some real old trains along with nice background information. It was clean with few visitors, quite peaceful.




After picking up Aarti, we were little hungry so we went to this old Mysuru place to have dosas - Original Vinayaka Mylari . Dosas were decent, we are spoilt by our Taaza thindi. Next, we went to this Karanji lake and took a short boat rides. There were good number of birds visible. It was almost sunset time so the air was on the pleasant side. Post the boat ride, we randomly walked into a bird sanctuary and saw these amazing peacocks. That totally made the day.




Back at the homestay, our hosts had prepared meal with a nice barbecue which I totally dug in. Kanishka and Aarti were little hesitant as they had their run next day.

Day 2
Day started with Kanishka and Aarti doing their 10K. Both of them had a strong finish. We did a lot of photo session with me pulling the medal from my day before run.





Post the run, for the first time in my KTM history, we decided to checkout the bird sanctuary right next to it. I was still little sore from my run yesterday but walked slowly. Bird sanctuary was alright. The Karanji lake boat ride was better than this boat ride although here we saw a lazy crocodile idling around. 


Post the run, we freshened up at the homestay and drove back. Aarti and Kanishka drove with me giving my usual driving commentary. But they drove very well and I was just happy with not driving.


Friday, December 14, 2018

Book Review - A feast of vultures by Josy Joseph

A Feast of Vultures : The hidden business of democracy in India
By Josy Joseph


A Feast of Vultures is a brutal and honest reporting of not-so-hidden nexus between politics and business in India. The first chapter of A Feast of Vultures sets the tone for what is to come - a one man's struggle to get a road that will connect his village to the nearest highway. It is humiliating to be poor in this country. People are cold, rude, obnoxious, devoid of any human empathy in this country. The system works only if you know the right person and it requires money for the right person to do that work for you.

Josy Jospeh starts the book in a small village but soon moves on to bigger pastures. Be it defense or aviation industry, the structure is the same, the nexus is the same. In village it is the local MP/MLA/Panchayat, in center it is the main govt., Rajya Shabha MPs, cabinet ministers etc. There are fixers who will fix it when the price is right. There is a conflict of interest at every level but it is easily swept under the rug. The nexus is independent of which party is in power - be it at state level or at central level.

Josy spends its middle overs talking about the birth of aviation industry in India and how in pre-liberalization era worked, anything could have worked only if the business was in cahoots with the govt. There was hope that post-liberalization, it will be a level playing field. But the case is not only the opposite but the scale has gone bigger. The latter part of the book talks about the recent scandals such as the telecom one, coal scams, kingfisher airlines etc

This is a grim read. Not difficult one - the prose is very smooth. The writing flows and there are enough facts added to provide context. But this book sucks out the joy of life, crashes the dream of living in a country where honesty is rewarded. All morality lectures - all talk of dharma is just a facade to hide the underbelly. It took me over 4 months to finish this book. After I finished the first chapter, I did not pick it up for another month. I read the next two chapters in a week and then again went on a two week hiatus. The process continued until today when I had to finally finish before the year was over.

It is not that the book talks about something that is not known. But no one has told so boldly that the emperor has no clothes as this one. It is like watching the real world of matrix - dark, full of steel, machines and no trees, no nature, no sun. Yet it is a book that should be read, forwarded to friends, discussed over dinners. As Josy says, he wrote this books for the next generation. The least we can do is to ensure that we can make them aware of their country.

Finally, all that I can think of is that when there is a revolution in this country, one day, this book will be discussed on how we got here.







Thursday, December 6, 2018

New Zealand - North Island

This is the third and final post in my New Zealand series. You can read the first post here and second post here.

The natural beauty of South had already put us in an awe state. Several local folks had mentioned that south is more beautiful than north. I was prepared for it. But little did I know that north would be so inspiring. In the ferry, I had questioned that how will north be able to compete with the natural beauty of south, from where it could match the beauty of Glenorchy, the drive of Mt. Cook and Milford. But sooner I realized that  north had few things on its sleeve which were so different that it need not worry.
North also had multiple LOTR checklist destinations - The Hobbiton, The road to Mordor and also Weka tours. In north, we stay was also at several AirBnbs. In South, we had stayed in lodges and hostels. But in north, being more populous, it was easier to find good Airbnbs and except for couple of nights at Tongariro, we had booked all Airbnbs - each one different. So without further delay, here is our itinerary -


Day 1 
We arrived via ferry at about 2 pm. Our rental car was standing at the terminal with keys hidden behind the front number plate. I had doubts whether the car would be there or not. But it was there.  We wasted no time and headed to Weka museum for a tour. Weka is the workshop and animation studio that provided animations for all LOTR movies and many more post that. They provide a tour of their backstage sharing some details on the process of how they create such wonderful costumes, swords, cars and other funky gadgets. Being an LOTR fan, I instantly loved the whole tour.
The swords are made out of the same material as the rubber used in the conveyor belt. All finishing is done via painting and it looks very authentic. And very light too. The behind the scenes tour was full of many insights and the creative process and very inspiring.




Post the tour, we decided to checkout our first airbnb. It was difficult to find and had a narrow lane for parking. It was on a hill top and we had to climb several stairs to reach it. But the view was good. We quickly went out to explore the town and took a walk on Cuba street. We has dinner first a small Pasta and then at a Malaysian restaurant which took forever. Our airbnb  hosts were really friendly.



Day 2
By the end of day 1, my trekking shoes's soles were coming off. With the next day scheduled for Tongariro alpine crossing, I had no option but to buy another pair of trekking shoes.  We spent the next day morning on shopping. We also had to cancel our two day reservation of airbnb as both Kanishka and I decided to go to Tongariro. I would do the alpine crossing and Kanishka would explore other treks there.

After shopping, we went to the Te Papa museum where we learnt about the history of Maori people, how Britishers took their lands by fraud and lies. We also learnt how the forests were destroyed to get these green carpet look for farming and sheep rearing. It was a good visit but we had to cut short as we were short on time. We had to drive 4 hrs + to reach Tongariro.
Our drive was ok and we reached Tongariro just before sunset.





Day 3
Day 3 began early morning as I had to catch a bus that will take me to the starting point of Tongariro Alpine crossing. Kanishka prepared a nice breakfast for me.  Kanishka had made a deal with the owner of Adventure lodge to drop her at the Information centre from where she could small hikes.
My trek to Tongariro Alpine crossing was very good. The climb was uphill but the weather was nice. The mordor mountain - Mount Doom was played by this active volcano - Mount Ngauruhoe . We were hiking just near this. The hike views were terrific. Where we started, there was no snow but at the top, snow was along the same earth as us and later below us. The climb at the very end was steep and little dangerous. From the top, we could see two beautiful lakes. Reminded me of Chandrataal.








The downhill part of Tongariro goes via this beautiful alpine track. They have deliberately made it zig zag and it was awesome walking through it. Alpine is native vegetation and it is also conserved . The alpine track led way to a walk through forest. I had maintained good speed and I thought that I would finish before time. But the forest walk seemed never ending. By the time, I reached at the end, I had walked 19.6 km in 6 hrs 30 mins. The recommended time.





Once back at the lodge, I went to pick Kanishka up. We came back and relaxed at a hot pool at the inn and later went for a good dinner nearby. Kanishka also had a wonderful hikes to a waterfall and was checking out Maori art being made when I picked her up.





Day 4
Our next stop for two days was Rotorua - famous for its geothermal activity. Near Rotorua, there is a Lady Knox geyser that erupts every morning at 10:30 am. (Later an office colleague remarked - like a cron,  eh?). So we a deadline to meet. The drive was beautiful but we could not stop. We reached there just in time and saw this. Geysers are a natural phenomenon and such geo-thermal parks are found in very few places. One is Yellowstone in US and this is the 2nd one. I had been to Yellowstone, so really grateful to have seen both in my lifetime.

Post Lady knox, we checked out the Waiotapu thermal park, went to a nearby mud pool and saw muds coming out of ground because of steam eruption. Later, we went to the Waimangu thermal park . Waimangu was way more spectacular than Waiotapu. We first did a boat ride on a lake that was formed when the volcano erupted in 1860s. Later, we did a short hike and had some amazing views to geothermal springs and lakes.






Post Waimangu, we went to a natural hot spring for a bath and then went to Rotorua for our Airbnb. This was by far the best airbnb as we had our own private space with living room, kitchen, fridge. The Airbnb owner had also given us eggs, bread and milk. We consumed all and had a great two days here.



Day 5
We decided to have a little relaxed day 5. In the morning, we went for a Maori village tour of Whakarewarewa. This is the only village where Maori folks are still living there. It was the least touristy of the rest. Here, we saw few more geysers and ate corn that was cooked in the natural water hot spring. We also watched a show performed by Maori folks.



Post the Maori show, we went for a walk on Redwood forests. Again a US reference. Redwood forests are typically found in northern California but they were imported here and planted as an experiment 100 years ago when NZ thought that it was going to run out of wood. This walk was over a hanging bridge spread across 100s of redwoods covering about a km of loop. It was indeed very pretty and inspiring. The construction of this would not have been simple.




The rest of the day was spent shopping at the Rotorua market. It was also Diwali so Kanishka bought Gulab Jamuns from an Indian store to celebrate it. We also went to an art gallery and bought a lot of designer glass made bowls made by students. There was also Farmers market in Rotorua and we had various local food.  Rotorua also has a surprising good number of Indian population and hence Indian restaurants too.

Day 6
Day 6 was Hobbiton and let me tell you Hobbiton was awesome. At first, I had thought of Hobbiton as a checklist activity, a high-touristy thing that had to be done. But once there, I was in awe. It was made with so much attention to detail. It was beautiful, amazing, inspiring - all at the same time. Could not have not imagined it to be like so well done.  Yes, ofcourse there were too many tourists and tours departing every 45 mins or so in full buses. But it was definitely worth it. At the end, they also let you taste a local made beer and have a cafe there. It was all very well done. If I go to NZ again, I would totally visit it again.










Post Hobbiton, we drove to Coromandel Cove stopping at Thames for a delicious Thai lunch. Coromadel cove walk was beautiful and pretty. We were also tried with this being a long day. We called it an early evening and went to our airbnb. We had little difficulty trying to find out the key from the lock system but finally managed to get in. This Airbnb had a good view of the beach and ocean from the bedroom itself.




Day 7
We were staying next to this Hot water beach. The idea here is that when the tide is low, because the earth surface here is close to Earth's core, the sand at some places is hot and hence during low tide, if you dig the sand, you can create a natural hot pool. This phenomenon can be experienced +/- two hrs a low tide. Unfortunately, low tide time was at 4 pm (which we had missed the previous day) or at 3 am. We only had this 3 am window, so we decided to get up at 4am and check out the beach and hopefully lie down in the hot pool for atleast 30 mins. 

It was pitch dark when we woke up and it was raining very slightly as well. Yet we were brave enough and went to the beach. As we were looking for hot sand, we found a nicely dug out hot pool and we quickly went inside. It was surreal - twilight time, no one around, sound of waves, sitting in a hot pool while the atmosphere outside is cold and little rainy. Any body part outside the hot water was cold. Inside the pool, some portion of sand was so hot that even sitting on it was not possible. At the parts, it was a natural jaccuzi. We were lucky to have gotten this pool ready made for us. We were also prepared with spades from our airbnb to dig in any case. 






We stayed there till sunrise and saw our pool being taken away as tide was rising. Later, we went back to our airbnb, took bath and checked out. Next up, Kanishka had made a plan of snorkeling. In Snorkeling, you wear a wet suit, go inside water and are given a googles with a tube so that you can dip your head inside the water, see the beautiful marine life and breathe via a tube attached to your googles. This was going to be our first experience for it. You can swim also in this gear . Both Kanishka and I were really scared to leave our boat so we were near it at all times. By near, I mean holding it at all times. But it was good fun. Water was cold but not freezing cold. I could see some fishes but it could have been more fun if we were brave to explore more.





After Snorkelling, we drove to Coromandel area, had lunch there and then drove to Auckland. At Auckland, we went to the downtown to see some shows but without prior reservation, we were not allowed to enter. Both of us were tired as it had been a long day. 
The next day we got up and bought some sweets on our way to the airport. Auckland was anyways meant to be just a fly out destination. We were at the airport early. I had a good serving of bagels and NZ coffee before boarding the plane.


As I said in the beginning, North is very different from South as it has so many quirky things of its own. South is pristine beauty but north is very varied. Each of our stop was unique and we could have easily spent couple of more days exploring each one more.

Ours was a 16 day trip and I drove 2500+ kms during my stay there. We could have covered one less destination and may be taken a flight. Everytime, I try to think which one I could have skipped and the answer is nothing. This was a little hectic but one heck of a trip. It was packed but we did everything that we wanted and way more.

One thing that went in our favour during our entire trip was that we had booked our stay beforehand with good research. All of our stays were good, some better. But at no place we were disappointed. This gave us a lot of comfort as at the end of the day, we had a nice cozy bed and a good place to crash. All of our hosts - be it at lodges or airbnbs were helpful.  It also saved us a lot of time and energy during the trip

We were also very well prepared. We had packed for all seasons with raincoats and all. Having a car rental helped us a lot, we would leave the suitcase in trunk and carry only what we wanted.  A lot of planning helped us cover lot more ground than others. We had also prebooked our main tours. We also had enough free time to explore local recommendations. But one thing that I missed a little was more spontaneity. I think the 4 am low tide hot pool took care of that too.

Yes, I would like to visit NZ again. Our people interaction was limited. But from the way the country is coming up, it is indeed a very good one to visit again.  When we visit again - I will say - Kia Ora!