Friday, December 13, 2019

New Zealand - Kalos - Friday, December 13, 2919

One of the many “signature” holes at Kauri Cliffs, an easy par three, that isn’t so easy.  The short distance is deceiving as you’re dealing with at least a two club wind to carry the jungle.  The front traps act as a catcher’s mitt to gobble up a short shot.
Today was our last day of golf with the Kalos group at Kauri Cliffs, New Zealand.  We were fortunate enough to play with our new friends, Diane and Dick, from San Diego.  

Dick was icing his arm between shots, an unsuccessful attempt to reduce the pain and swelling.

Diane and Dick from San Diego.

Dick tore a muscle or ligament in his arm early in this trip, so he was playing handicapped, icing his arm between shots.  His lovely wife, Diane is an artist, singer in a band, tennis player, and a hell of a golfer as well.  We had a great time playing with them.  But every time Dick would groan in agony after hitting a shot, we felt his pain.  But bless his heart ... he was out there, playing with a couple of old widows and seemed to be having a good time.  

This course is just beautiful EVERYWHERE you look.

Today’s format was keeping score of all birdies and eagles for the team.  Pars meant nothing.  We scored -36, which we thought was respectable and perhaps may win a towel or a hat.  Nope.  -44 by the Koreans was the winning score.  Someone asked, “How do you say “Sandbagger” in Korean.”  They were such nice, fun people, I didn’t care and I was very happy for their win.

After golf, Stevie and I had a driver take us to the pink beach of Kauri Cliffs.  It’s pink because so many shells have been smashed and crushed on the beach in the surf and collected in this area.  

It doesn’t scream pink, but this is not a sand beach, rather a beach made entirely of smashed shell pieces.  When examined closely, the pink shells are the predominant color.  Thus “Pink Sand Beach.”

After our driver, Michael, found a beautiful shell ring and proposed to Stevie, we gathered shells from the beach for tonight’s party.  
Let me say this ... it didn’t look all that pink to me.  Perhaps we needed to be there at a particular time of the day when the light hit the sand to make it look pink.  But we had a nice time.  We gathered shells that the Mauri people use as rings and brought them back to the hotel to share at the grand finale dinner tonight.  The shell rings were a HUGE hit.  So much fun.

We passed out 20 rings to our friends.

Brad is “rockin” to shell ring look.  
We are gathered in the lodge lobby for a special surprise performance tonight.
A traditional Maori family performed for us tonight before dinner.  Very Polynesian and interesting. They showed us the Haka, a Maori dance routine performed before all sporting events in New Zealand.   It’s supposed to be a show of power and authority to the opponent.  After seeing the forcefulness of their performance, I can understand how it would intimidate an opponent.  Very nice show.

The Maori performers got the men involved.  Our friend Brad was a star with his threatening Maori scowl!

The Maori family was kind enough to pose for photos after the performance. 
We had our last dinner and said good night and safe travel wishes to everyone in our group.  

Our new friends pose with Dagmar, our Kalos group leader.

Enjoying a cocktail on the terrace overlooking the water.  
Fidel and Brad still practicing their Maori Haka threat.

Dianne was the big winner tonight with the Kalos towel AND cap.
This has been a nice trip.  We met some very nice people.  Some that I’ll stay in contact with.  Some that I would vote off the island.

This was my first experience with Kalos.  I’ve only heard wonderful things about their adventures.  And I guess all in ... it was a nice trip.  Would I take another Kalos trip?  I would prefer to  gather some friends, perhaps two foursomes, maybe three foursomes, and choose our destination and go on our own.  It’s nice having Kalos handle the logistics, but I would prefer playing with a “sure thing” instead of an unhappy killjoy.  There are plenty of Tavel agents out there to handle the logistics.   For what this trip costs, we shouldn’t have to play with someone who makes the day miserable.  I can think of several couples who would be so much fun to travel with.  We can certainly come up with games to keep us entertained on the golf course.  So another Kalos trip is likely a pass for me.

The coveted Kalos Cap for 1st place play.
Saturday, December 14, 2019

Today I’m going HOME!  It’s been fun, but I’m ready to get back.  It’s time to start thinking about Christmas.  While the house is decorated, I haven’t even started the shopping expedition.  And the only souvenirs I’m bringing back from New Zealand are the pounds I’ve packed on while eating and drinking my way across the country.  I feel like a goose who has been force fed to make Foie Gras.  Today, since the only food I’ll see will be airline food, it will be an easy choice to stop the feeding frenzy.   I’m looking forward to getting home and into my healthy eating and exercise routine.  Vacations are so much fun, but “re-entry” is tough.  I’m ready for the challenge.  

I’m also looking forward to seeing my dear friends and family whom I haven’t seen in weeks.  This is the time of year to celebrate together.  I’m heading home and look forward to seeing you all!!

So for now ... a fond farewell to New Zealand’s beauty and delightful kiwis.  I look forward to my next adventure with you.

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