Saved: August 10th 2012December 27th 2011
Woke up at 6:30am with a slight hangover. Joao and I decided to travel together. Caught bus to Paihia. There were about 15 other people on the bus, mostly Europeans. 4 hour scenic ride through rolling green fields full of cattle. Saw pink sheep (genetically engineered to produce pink wool).
Checked into hostel in Paihia at around 11:00am. Along with Joao and myself, there were 4 other people in our room. Simona (Switzerland) had been at English language school here for seven weeks and now traveling for another three weeks before she goes home. Marinka (Slovenia) is a retired kindergarten teacher and just recently turned 50. She likes to take a lot of photos. Couple from Austria, Birget and Sacha. Sacha is yet another engineer I've met here. We all got a long pretty well.
Simona, Birget and Sacha decided to go do the highest sky dive jump here at 16,000ft. Briefly thought about doing it, thought quickly dissipated. Decided to go on Dolphin adventure with Joao and Marinka.
Captain warned us about condition of the sea and a lot of people may get seasick. Half the people on the boat got up and left.
Since I essentially came to America on a boat, I thought I would be fine. Marinka was set on swimming with dolphins and said she would jump in the ocean when she sees them even if the captain forbade it. So off we went.
It was a rough ride. Old chinese woman next to me got sick and puked in doggy bag. Didn't want to smell it so got up and walked around. Captain had reports of dolphin sightings in even rougher waters. We dropped off the sick woman and headed out to the rough water area.
Saw bunch of dolphins. Took photos. No one was allowed to jump in since the water was too rough. The captain said even the strongest swimmers may not be able to swim in this condition. Marinka didn't seem too disappointed. She was very happy to finally see some dolphins. Came back to the dock at around 4pm. Marinka went to the beach. Joao and I went to grab lunch. I had fish and chips and a big jug of beer. Felt very bloated!
Went back to room after lunch. Simona, Birget and Sacha were on their beds resting from their
adrenaline adventure. They said it was extremely scary but was a wonderful experience. Saw Simona's pictures of her jump. Her face looked funny in some of the photos. We all laughed.
We rested up and went to the BBQ at the hostel at 7pm. Drank a lot of beer.
First one to wake up at 6:30am. Everyone eventually got up. Said "Bye" to Sacha and Birget and wished them well on their travels. They were taking a bus up north to Cape Reinga while we were going back to Auckland later that day.
Joao, Simona, and I walked to the little town and had breakfast. Boys had lamb kebab. Simona had a smoothie. After breakfast, we went for a little hike. Weather was crappy. Very cloudy and the waves were nasty. Walked around town and saw the birth place of New Zealand.
Hopped on a bus back to Auckland at around 3pm.
Saw Frodo and the Chileans at the hostel lobby in Auckland (their names are actually Mauricio, Rodrigo, and Cuenca (spelling?). They were happy to see us. Simona and I were in same room with 4 other people that
we never got to meet. Joao was in a 4 bed dorm with some other people. Forgot combination to my lock so had to put my valuables in Simona's locker.
Had dinner at food court next to hostel with Simona, Joao, Frodo, Rodrigo, and two Thai girls (Ben & Marissa). Had lamb liver. Simona made disgusted face when I told her what I was eating. Joao said he loves liver and other inerts. Rodrigo said they brought a bottle of Pisco from home. Told them I love Pisco and haven't had it since I was in Chile last year. Rodrigo said, "Tonight, you will have some."
After dinner, Joao, Simona, Thai girls, and I went for a walk in the city. Auckland is a beautiful city. Very clean and modern. Seemingly flawless. Its only imperfection is that it is too perfect. Joao said the city was boring because he hasn't seen anyone drunk on the street. We hung out at the wharf and had gelato. Joao said his guava flavor gelato was the best he's ever had. Simona said her lemon yogurt tasted "special." I thought mine was cold and sweet.
Went to the Globe bar at
around 10pm. Saw Thor and the Chileans there. Thor was very excited to see us. Hung out, drank, and shot pool. Met Jared from Canada. Introduced myself and he said, "We've only been traveling on the same bus and staying at the same hostels the past 3 days." I guess I didn't recognize him because he was always wearing a hat and sunglasses and sat in the back of the bus. Simona and Thai girls went to bed at 11:30pm. Thor, Joao, and I went to Irish pub around the corner. Drank some more. Sang Karaoke. I sang Stan. Everyone was surprised I can rap.
I left at 2:30am. Everyone in the room was already sleeping. Tip toed in and tried not to wake anyone up. Two people woke up when I banged my knee on the top bunk railing. Joao later said that he and Thor stayed out until 4:00am. When he told Thor we were heading south the next day and make it to Taupo for New Year's eve, Thor was very sad and took a long time to say goodbye. He was planning on getting to Sydney for NYE. He felt like an old friend even
if I only just met him 3 days ago.
There are more photos below