Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Canadian canoeing on the mighty Waikato

I awoke this morning rearing to go feeling 100% after yesterday's lay day. I had enjoyed my walk along the Waikato River so much a couple of days ago; I decided to head back and take it a step further by canoeing on the river in non other than a Canadian style canoe. I hired a canoe from a local tourist operation and choose a self guided option where I was free to meander along the river at my own pace. Once again the scenery was beautiful and provided a totally different view from the river as I headed downstream with ease, I had arranged to be picked up at Swarbrick Landing on the outskirts of the city and dropped of back in the CBD, which I was glad as I didn't favour the arduous task of paddling my canoe back upstream.

The canoe trip once again allowed me to relate back to this importance of authentic and "real" experiences, which I had strived to achieve. I opted to canoe the river as opposed to a river cruise as it allowed me to transverse the river on my own merits as I feel MacCannell illustrates through his idea of avoiding the more "staged" tourist encounters and instead seeking the genuine backstage experiences and interactions (MacCannell, 1976). I opted for the canoe over the cruise which I felt was more performed and commercial as opposed to this sense of pioneering, challenging and less commercially influenced experience the canoe trip allowed and in that it also provided me with the chance to gain valued cultural capital.

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