New year promises rain.
(This text is a chronological miss, pretend that you have read it before you've read my stories about the most amazing things ever. I am not feeling as down as I felt when writing this - quite the opposite actually!)
'Happy New Year's!' was what the man wished us with a sound muffled by the cigarette in his mouth and a spirit that had been drowned inside the beer can in his hand. The man was sitting on a park bench just a little off a path we were walking on, to see some of the thermal activity in the city of Rotorua. His wife was sitting beside him – just as drunk as her husband – and they both wished us a happy new year's again as we passed them for the second time around. They had completely forgotten that we had passed them already once, or they were just too late to realize it. The couple reminded me sadly of home. A drunk couple drinking their sorrows away and smoking their lives into the crisp evening air.
Rotorua, New Zealand's pride of thermal activity, was only a one-night stand but we got enough heat from the Polynesian Spa where the heated pools lulled us to a comfortable slumber later on that night. The rotten-egg smell of sulphuric acid was not something you would necessarily want to spend too many days with. Mud pools on our way to Taupo were something, though, that I could have photographed for hours, perfecting my timing and enjoying the sight. We decided to leave the vulcanic activity spots for Iceland. Whereas Rotorua is a city of thermal activity and vulcanic heat, Iceland is a whole country supporting the same phenomenon.
The realization that travelling, once again, was not much more than seeing things from the windows of a bus, cooking food at a hostel and watching the balance of our bank accounts being drained by a pipe too wide. Sitting inside our hostel for nearly three days in Taupo listening to the rain hammer the roof left us both frustrated. Is this what we worked two jobs for two months for?
New Year's Eve passed us with the generous company of three Dutchmen but the rain disabled us from a proper party spirit. I was left reminiscent of my previous New Year's celebrations with my closest group of friends and felt a certain longing for a campfire amidst thick walls of snow, three wisemen with layers of clothes and a bottle with something too strong inside.
I never said it aloud but I guess my new year's promise was to come home.