Last week, I successfully failed to climb Mount Taranaki. If that doesn’t seem like a ‘success’ to you, you’re simply not reading hard enough. Read harder. HARDER!!
You’ll get there.
In short, Taranaki was covered in ice and the local adventurers wouldn’t rent me any ice-climbing gear because they said I would get myself killed.
I, however, am not easily killed. To date, for example, I cannot think of a single time I have died. I tried explaining this to the grizzled mountain veterans, but all my ranting and raving got me nowhere.
THE GUILD DEMANDS IT!!
Apparently this expression doesn’t work in New Zealand. So I left – not without questioning their COMMITMENT TO THE GREAT ADVENTURE – and headed to Auckland to regroup.
Now, Auckland many not seem like the epicentre of adventure, but it is home to some fantastic people. These include Fanny and Susan, two delightful German girls I met in a bookshop in Wellington, and Ryan, an extraordinary man I met at Ferg Burger in Queenstown.
Whilst Fanny and Susan gave me a roof over my head and epic dinner times in the 21-person Big House community, Ryan set about planning an Auckland adventure to make up for Mount Taranaki.
In the end, we settled on heading out to Rangitoto Island; a absolutely kickass island off the coast of Auckland, where examples of Māori culture, hot springs and boiling mud pools abound!
Come Wednesday morning, therefore, Ryan, Fanny and I got up (relatively) early and ran into town to catch the ferry. Ryan and I had been out drinking the night before, so we cut it fairly fine (or timed it perfectly, depending on how you look at it) and managed to arrive exactly 3 minutes before the ferry departed.
The only problem was that we didn’t know which ferry was ours…
…so we strolled the pier hopelessly, until it became obvious which was our ferry. It was the one that was leaving.
Three refunds later, we went for commiseration coffee and cake. (And a cake fork fight).
We need a new plan, we needed it quickly and we needed it to be mighty enough to abate the failures I was rapidly accumulating. That’s when Ryan suggested an idea he had come up with the night before:
We would head to Pokeno, a town with exactly three things: a petrol station, a bacon shop and the greatest ice cream in the land. There, we would instruct the locals to construct the biggest possible MOUNTAIN OF ICE CREAM…and we would devour it!
Then we would drink rum and play with fire on the beach.
It was a fine plan. Some way or another, I would conquer a frozen mountain…
19 SCOOPS OF ICE CREAM LATER, BEHOLD!
That, friends, is no trick. There are no cocktail sticks holding that beauty together. In fact, the first attempt collapsed after 17 scoops, to which the stoic Chinese ice cream constructor reacted by simply fetching a new cone…and starting again.
I’m pretty sure I spotted a single tear tricking its way down her wizened face…
Then…we ate the fucker. With no face-wiping. And yes, it was all very phallic. THUS, THE GUILD! No wait…I take that particular invocation of the Guild back.
Of course, no song of fire and ice cream would be complete without RUM! I mean fire. Apologies – too much fire. I mean rum. Oh Christ, just look at the pictures:
Eventually, it was time to go home. We waited for the sea to put out our fire, but in the end it had neither the courage nor the balls, so I did what it could not and stamped the fire to dust.
Then we went home. And drank more rum.
A most excellent day indeed. Long will I sing the Song of Fire and Ice Cream.