Adiós Argentina

Our last day in Buenos Aires and some more shopping, sightseeing, and sleeping was required. 

We left the hotel in the afternoon to head to our last games. Both teams played at the same time against our new friends.  

The Ladies team were keen to finish the tour on a high note. Some excellent teamwork, good communication and great scoring opportunities saw us unlucky to end with a 0-0 scoreline.  

The mixed team also had a tight game with teamwork and speed resulting in an end to end game. 3-3 at full time was a great finish for the team.  

After most players swapped shirts, shorts, skirts and anything else we could find it was difficult to tell the locals from the visitors at the post game celebration.  

Back to the hotel for a shower and change and we were ready to go out for our final dinner/presentation. Another local parilla and asado allowed us to try any type of meat or fish we desired.  

 

Presentations followed the meal. A tightly contested count for player's player saw Kade take out the award for the mixed team and Ashlee the winner in the Ladies. A popular winner for the "spirit of wanderers" award was Fiona. Champagne toasts and many shirt signings later we walked back to the hotel to say our farewells. 

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Buenos Aires

Two free days in Buenos Aires and we were ready to experience the Argentinian lifestyle. 

Shopping,  eating,  sightseeing, and a bit of relaxing saw the group attending a football/soccer game in the South American cup. Local team Huracans had all the play but drew with the Bolivian team Universidad. The support of the local crowd was amazing. There was a great deal of cultural exchange with the local supporters!  

The next night we were off to a tango show. Little did we know the flexibility of so many of our players. A quick lesson and we were ready to perform on stage. A fantastic experience....and a certificate to prove it!  

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Buenos Aires

We returned to Buenos Aires to make a tight transition to our game against San Fernando again.

The games were a lot closer. In the Ladies,  better teamwork and some solid defense resulted in a 3-0 loss.

The mixed team also had a strong showing with some great passages of play. They were unfortunate to go down in the end 3-2. 

Our hosts were exceptional and provided a full three course dinner and the opportunity to swap uniforms after the games.  

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Argentina

Our last day in Iguasu began with a leisurely visit to the breakfast buffet,  followed by a rest by the hotel pool. Those with a little more energy headed off to the falls again or an animal refuge to see some rescued native animals including toucans and macaws. 

The afternoon saw most of the group begin with a jungle safari. Following a precarious climb up a ladder they launched themselves off the zip line through the jungle canopy. After this rapeling down a waterfall was some gentle relaxation.  

A night out in town at some local restaurants was a fitting end to our stay at Iguasu.  

 

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Iguazu Falls

We've had a great couple of days to relax here at Iguazu.  Being Easter it is a very busy time of year for this tourist destination. Our hotel and guides have been amazingly helpful to make sure the group is well looked after. The tropical atmosphere and jungle setting is quite a contrast to the city of Buenos Aires. 

Today was a chance to see one of the natural wonders of the world. Those that have a Brazilian visa boarded the bus to the Brazilian side of the falls. After border control, a "no man's land" bridge crossing and another border we made the short drive to the national park. 

AMAZING! The only description for our walk looking back to the Argentinian side. Every viewpoint was a fabulous vista. The final walkway out to Gargantua del Diablo (devil's throat) was spectacular.  

A few dozen photos later it was back to the Argentinian side. 

Most of the group made it back in time to get into the Argentinian national park and into the boats. These drivers took us right under two of the falls. We were drenched! Then down the rapids and a jungle safari to take us back to the entrance. 

A quick Easter egg and Baileys catch up with the entire group (if they weren't having a massage in the day spa) and it was dinner time. 

Everyone is looking forward to tomorrow's adventure.  

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Gargantua del Diablo

Gargantua del Diablo

Before the drenching

Before the drenching

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Argentina

Another relaxed start to the day as the players ease into the Argentinian lifestyle. Eating at midnight and getting up late. Most of the group went on the city tour with our awesome guides Anna and Pitu. Being a national holiday to commemorate the Falklands war and the day before easter made the city very quiet. We stopped at the Plaza de Mayo to see the Casa Rosada, main cathedral and Piramide de Mayo. Then on to La Boca. We drove past the famous Boca junior stadium then stopped at el caminito to have lunch. This area was full of little shops, tango dancers and cafes.

A quick change at the hotel and we were off for our next games vs Banco Provincia and Liceo Hockey Clubs.

The Ladies played first against a team of 17-20 year old fit, fast players. In the heat we played three 20 minute periods. We improved throughout the game but were no match for their teamwork and speed. A 5-0 scoreline was a good result. 

The mixed team were again ready for a tough encounter when an Argentinian national player arrived. A fast paced game resulted in a narrow 2-1 loss.

The post match hospitality was again outstanding. Not many people could recall if they had ever seen the limbo, conga line, dancing and combat musical chairs being included as part of our warm down! The hamburgers, cervezas, and desserts helped the disappointment of losing musical chairs... maybe next week.

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South America

As we said farewell to NZ, our South American adventure began with a national strike in Argentina. This gave us a day in Chile's capital Santiago. Most of the group went for a walk downtown Santiago while we had 8 hours at our hotel. Finally a dreamliner took us to Buenos Aires where we checked in at 3am. Luckily this is a normal hour to be out and about in the city. 

A well earned sleep in saw most of the group having a stroll along the avenidas of the city and a few hardy souls begin their shopping adventure! 

In the afternoon we headed out to San Fernando hockey club. A beautiful sports complex greeted us and some more fierce opposition.  On a sand based turf our ladies team came up against a well drilled opposition.  A 5-0 scoreline showed the class of our opponents.

The mixed team were ready for a tough encounter.  After an evenly matched beginning to the game. A quick goal to them saw us 1-0 down. Another sneaky goal after half time saw the result at 2-0.

Luckily all was appeased with a traditional Argentinian BBQ and cerveza with our opponents (now friends). The results forgotten, until our return next week.  

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Rotorua

What a great time we had in Rotorua.

Getting up early, most of the goup headed out to Haka falls and to try some jet boating. After Australia's win in the world cup cricket final it was going to be payback for our kiwi drivers.  They didn't disappoint! We flew up and down the river going as close as possible to the cliffs, doing 360's regularly, often in only 20cm of water. The spray jackets got a thorough workout and an exhilarating time was had by all.

A quick stop for lunch at the picturesque Lake Taupo and we were home for afternoon activities.  

One group experienced the Zorb (downhill inside a plastic ball- just add water). Another group tried the Luge rides.

When everyone returned it was out to Rotorua hockey club. We had some more tough opposition with some former internationals in their teams. 

The women had a fast paced game. Going down 4-0 to a well drilled team. We showed some great defensive team work.

The mixed team had a physical encounter against a strong men's team. There was some constructive team work. The 5-0 scoreline was a good result against tough opposition. 

 More photos to come.

The luge crew

The luge crew

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North Harbour

We were again greeted by drizzle when we woke up this morning. Both teams were keen to start and on the bus early to head off to North Harbour for our first games.

A fantastic set up at North Harbour greeted us as the mixed team got ready to play. It was a tough fought game with some great signs to come.  A score of 2-2 was a fair result. 

The girls were up next as the sun came out. Another great game with some improving teamwork. A 2-1 result was a great win.

After a quick drink and a chat with the local teams we were on the bus and on our way to Rotorua.  

Most of the group then went to the Te Puia Experience to watch and participate in the haka and some poi twirling, a fabulous hangi, & the geyser erupting as a finale. 

Back to the hotel to watch some cricket :) 

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Auckland

After a quick trip across the ditch all of the players got together and enjoyed a brief meeting then off to the casino for our first team dinner. 

Our first day in Auckland started with the sun shining.  It was a free day to do whatever we felt like.  A large group headed to the harbour front to catch the ferry to Devonport. A couple of relaxing hours later we were back into town for eight of our bravest players to jump off a perfectly good 328m tower. An exhilarating experience for the participants. Possibly a future warm up exercise to take home?

As the day ended the drizzle turned to rain we all met to discuss tomorrow's first games.

Looks like it's going to be a great tour.

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