Today the group finally started their performing - although not in the places they expected!
The day began early - very early - when we all got up at about 4:30 AM to catch our train to Wellington.We lugged our bags down to the station, only to find it was locked when we got there! It turned out not to be open until 7:00 AM instead of the 6:00 we had thought. It gave us time to find things to eat however!
We had a reserved block of seats on the train, and boarding went very smoothly. Trains are a lot more comfortable than planes!It was great to leave the city and watch the countryside roll by - it's a very beautiful country, with rolling green hills, mountains, and a lot of ancient volcanoes.
The trip from Auckland to Wellington, the capital, normally takes 12 hours. It stopped at noon at a national park and the students couldn't resist getting their drums from the baggage car and putting on an impromptu performance for the other passengers on the train.Once the train started up again, several students then went into a car carrying mostly senior citizens and gave them a performance of singing and throat singing. The passengers were fascinated, and appreciative of this unexpected cultural treat.
We hadn't gone far in the last leg of the journey when the engine died and we were stuck in the middle of nowhere! They told us it would take 3-4 hours for a replacement locomotive to get to us, so we all settled in to wait. The students, however, couldn't pass up yet another opportunity to perform - this time, beside the tracks in the New Zealand wilderness.
In the end, we rolled into Wellington about 11 PM, went straight to our hostel, and got settled in to prepare for our busy day tomorrow.