On Cinco de Mayo we went to the best bar ever, Voodoo Joe’s. The owner and his staff went out of their way to show us a good time, plying us with free shots all night, and keeping a steady stream of Gypsy Kings playing so that I could entertain everyone with drunken flamenco moves. It was one of the best Cinco de Mayo’s I’ve experienced.
El Sexto de Mayo, however, was one of the worst. I’m not sure I’ve ever been as hungover in my life. Note to self: Doing tequila shots after you turn 30 should be illegal. No mas. Unfortunately, the morning after Voodoo Joe’s coincided with the morning we were switching hotels. (We moved to the Ibis Hotel in the city center. What a difference. The Ibis is within walking distance of Rotorua’s Eat Street and a ton of other tourist attractions.) As I walked out of the hotel, the sulphide rotten egg smell overpowered my nostrils. The Jedi mind control I usually employ to keep from throwing up was immediately thrown out of whack.
I need to take a moment to mention that I HATE throwing up. I will do anything to keep from throwing up. This has sometimes meant I’ve spent hours breathing into a cold towel without moving so much as an inch. You know those people in college who would stick their fingers down their throats to just get it over with (or maybe you don’t and that’s just the crowd I ran with?)– freaks. I would rather endure hours of agony then allow myself entry to pukeyville.
The Southerner’s mom and I had it the worst so we stayed in the car as the men checked into our new hotel. His mom and I passed each other crackers and bottled water as we lay almost immobile and whimpering in our seats. I truly felt like we bonded in that moment as we went through Phase II of what I like to refer to as the Hangover Recovery Phases. Phase I consists of waking up and feeling like shit. Like the world has taken a dump on your head and any movement you make in the wrong direction could result in imminent death. Phase I is also the stage where you swear to yourself that you will never ever drink like that again, and desperately try to remember every stupid or offensive comment you may have uttered the night before. What were you thinking? Oh god, you didn’t trip in that club and fall flat on your ass in front of everyone, did you? Needless to say, Phase I is the worst.
Phase II consists of the point where you can finally eat a few bites of something and take some sips of water. Phase II can be very deceptive. Because after you eat a little something you tend to feel really good and start to believe the worst is over. Ten minutes later as you lay in the fetal position you remember why there are THREE phases. Phase III is when you take a shower and think “why didn’t I take this shower during Phase I?”, order a pizza for dinner and feel almost human again. Except everyone knows that you won’t feel totally human again until you go to sleep and wake up the next morning.
After recovering from the hangover from hell, the next morning we went to the Polynesian Spa to truly hit the restore buttons on our systems. We chose to pay for the lake spa passes and spent half the day going from thermal pool to pool, drinking wine, and eating yummy things with salmon and cream cheese on them. The Southerner shelled out a little extra so that he and I could enjoy a private pool for 30 minutes. At first, I wasn’t very into the idea, given what actually probably happens in the private pool area (yes, believe it or not I can be prudish when it comes to hygiene) but the minute the handsome cabana looking boy led us to our pool I was in heaven. Hello, naked thermal pool spa. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing better in life then being naked in water.
That evening we went to a traditional Maori Hangi that was one of the highlights of our trip. I honestly thought it was going to be lame as hell since it was the most touristy of all the activities Rotorua has to offer. However, the Maori performers took the job of imparting a little bit of their culture to all of us so seriously that I enjoyed every aspect of the dinner and show.
The final day of our trip was Mother’s Day, so we took the Southerner’s mom on a gondola ride and treated her to a brunch buffet at the skyline restaurant at the end of the gondola. For some reason, Mother’s Day was the hardest holidays for me of all the holidays we’ve missed with our families since we moved to New Zealand. I really missed my mom. Particularly, because my mom REALLY likes buffets and this buffet was awesome. I don’t even know how many plates it would have taken to satisfy mom’s need to try every dessert laid out before us. Brother J and I once sat and watched as my mom devoured 6 plates of food at an all you can eat Chinese buffet. She is the queen of buffets.
So, it was hard for me to be there without mom. I was really happy for the Southerner and his mom, but I had to struggle all day to keep my mood light. Consequently, I ate several plates of food to keep myself distracted followed by several glasses of champagne and I feel positive I would have made mom proud. My mother may drive me absolutely nuts, but she is one of the only people in the universe I can truly be myself around without fear of judgment or that she won’t love me anymore. She might be one of the few people I can say with any certainty who I know will always love me no matter what I do. And believe me I’ve tested this theory many times before. When Brother J and I were both going through a really hard time in our twenties, she invited us over to watch a movie with her, tucked us under her arms and told us that we would always be “her cubs” no matter how old we got. I will never forget how good that felt.