The tour showed us many parts of the village including some of the steam vents, the mud pools, the cooking areas, and the bathing areas.
We learned that the mud pools were too hot to sit and soak in, but the mud was excellent for therapeutic uses. It gets harvested in the winter when the mud is more pliant. It felt very primitive seeing the bubbling steaming mud pools.
The cooking pool was called the champagne pool. This is where they cook all their veggies. They are placed in the pool for a few minutes and pulled out when done. Obviously this means the water is extremely hot (120º). Scientists studied the pool and tried to measure its depth, but ran out of tape at over 50 metres (if I remember properly). This pool gets its name from its eruption. The ground shakes a little bit then the water level in the pool raises 4-5 inches then settles again. This is followed by lots of tiny bubbles rising through the pool.
Meat is cooked in boxes built over steam vents. Very simple to use. Cooking times were easy to remember. Corn in the water for 5 minutes, a whole frozen chicken in the steam box for 1 hour. Everything else was in between.
The carved houses were pretty amazing. Different parts of the house symbolized various parts of the body. The carvings also told of the family genealogy. The main house in the village was over 400 years old.
The baths were pretty amazing too. Some of the water from a hot pool was channelled to the bathing area and fed into the tubs. Through the open air process, the water cooled to 26º by the time it was in the tub. It was also filled with lots of minerals that refresh the skin. And they were outside. The communal baths overlooked a river, and you could either watch a sun rise or a sunset as you bathed. Breathtaking.
Then we got to see the Pohutu Geyser. This was a beautiful and amazing sight.
Finally, it was just bizzare to see steam rising from the ground in so many places. Front yards, streams, holes in the ground, even from some of the above ground graves. It was interesting to see how they use their environment in so many ways.
The guide we had in the village was awesome. He was full of lots of interesting information and had quite a sense of humour about him. I highly recommend this tour to others.