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November 16th 2012
Published: November 16th 2012
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Hello there!
Time for another update! How are you all? I've only been here for 10 days, but so much has changed already. I got a tattoo on my forehead and got pregnant. No, just kidding, won't be doing that anywhere soon! 😉

These last days have been very special, I've been exploring Auckland and it's beautiful islands in the Hauraki Gulf. This afternoon I will be going to Northland with two Frenchies, which I already had contact with before going to NZ. Hopefully I'll have enough time to close the Auckland topic. Just another heads up, no photos with my blog, cause I cannot install the photo uploader (argh). I'm referring you to my Facebook album:

"Art in the Dark" After 20:00 the Western Park was illuminated by projects of national and international artists. Rainbow colored wind gongs, projections, movies, tennis in the dark, Chinese lanterns... A beautiful ludic luminary festival with a laid back ambiance. It's been only a couple of years that they've created this festival, but it's starting to get more popular each year.

I've met the two guys I'm gonna travel with by van. François and Stephane, two young french web designers from Rennes. We had some time, so we've decided to go to Mount Eden, a 196m high volcano that had erupted long time ago. The climb was easy, except the guys had already walked a lot and starting to have muscle pains. The guys were a bit shy, but where amazed by the beauty of Auckland. We made a lot of pictures and we stayed a bit to sink it in. On top we met another French guy from Paris, that was blabbing about how awesome everything is. I say the guys looking at each other "not our kind". No Frenchman like Parisians, except if they are one of them. We took our mugshot and went back to the centre where we had our BIG couchsurf meeting that I sort of (or didn't) organize. 6 people showed up, we we're 3 of them... That evening was really fun! We chatted, walked for miles and hours to find some food and ended up at the Art in the Dark festival again with some wine. 😊 Hope to see them again someday!

About 20/30 minutes by ferry you can visit many islands in the Hauriki Gulf, not cheap but really worth it.
I've been to Rangitoto ("Bloody Sky" in Maori) island, and the first time on a (young) volcano, only 600 years old. The trail that leads to the 260m top takes one hour (1,5 for fatties) and goes straight through a jungle of unique vegetation. I've seen huge ferns (varens nl), from about 3m high, strange moss on trees and other plants I have never laid my eyes upon before. There's a lot of lava stone that, as you know, is very fertile. The top has the most amazing view! 360 degrees with sea and islands everywhere.

The second island I've seen is Waiheke (white cloud). A 93m long island, about 30 minutes with the ferry. 50 %!b(MISSING)illionaires and 50%!h(MISSING)ippies and bohemian artists, as is written in the Lonely Planet©. I've stayed with probably the oldest (but fittest) couchsurfer ever. Hoyt Drake, 73 years old, that's living "back-to-basic" lifestyle in a cottage in NZ (and in Oz (Australia) too). You might think I'm an hippie, but compare to him... Hoyt has really changed my life! I've been staying at his place for 5 days, and helping him where I could. When I arrived AJ, the Canadian girl I've met at Craig's place in Auckland, was there too to welcome me! I really get along with her! She explained me the ways of Hoyt. He lives in a cottage all made by "found" materials.I stayed in my own room with a bed! He calls staying at his place "indoor camping". He uses rainwater to drink, wash and water the plants with. No drop gets wasted! The toilet is a bucket in a small shed with four walls. He has a solar panel to give power to his fridge, led lamps, phones, radios and computer. He has traveled a lot, speaks English, French, German and Russian, listens to classical music all day and farts like a maniac. He collects any kind of electrical devise and spend his time trying to fix these, IF he's not out walking, skinny dipping or collecting. Well you get the picture, right? I had no problems adapting to his ways of living, except for the fact that there's no warm shower... I've learned so much of plants, how to use and reuse materials, not waste and live sober. Even though I will never live the way Hoyt does, I will try to do my best being frugal (new word I've learned meaning not waste). I truly respect him!
He showed me around the island with it's amazing flora & fauna at the hidden trails and beautiful, secluded beaches. Most amazing was that he startled a stingray when he went swimming, about 75m wide! I saw it from a distance, it was gorgeous. It's not really an area to go snorkling, and because the water was freezing, I didn't got in. Another thing to mention is a plate he calls "page 45". It means anything you have in the fridge put together in one pot. This time we had black millet, carrots, cabbage, ginger and noodles. He cooks with his ricecooker, and eats his meals with raw vegetables with toast. Talking about food. I'm still on my path of vegetararism, not eating meat and also avoiding wasting food! Yep, I've already lost some kilos.

Yesterday I got back in Auckland, played a bit uke with Craig, had a fun dinnerparty on the stairs and went to bed early. I'm about to close this chapter, but not before I give you some fun facts I've been experiencing.

* My uke is my best friend, I'm happy I've met him.
* Doesn't seem like I'm gonna spot the Flight of the conchords, but I will continue playing their songs on my ukulele.
* Craig built a bar with enkel hooks to hang himself upside down to stretch and persuade me doing it too. It was a nice stretch, but how to get my feet down...
* Jetlag lasted about a week, after that I started sleeping well again.Sleeping from 23h till 01h and from 5-8h.
* Already 3 people told me that I speak good English... it's hard to believe that, since I make so many mistakes.
* The couchsurfing community in Auckland is huge, they have a meeting every wednesday and about 100 people show up every time!
* I got my own NZ phonenumber now! Unfortuately my phone broke down and I ended up buying a new one for $30 (nokia- vodafone).
* Because I didn't had time to arrange daily contact lenses, I ordered them at a Specsavers store, here in Auckland. I let them being delivered in Wellington, in about 2 weeks.
* You hear firetrucks all the time in Auckland, maybe it has to do with the amount of illegal fireworks I keep seeing.
* I've got three mp3 players and a tablet, but that last one keeps fucking up. But it does give me the change to check FB and Hotmail sometimes (but not reply).
* Craig has 6 other roommates, some are a bit shy and nerdy, but most of them are really cool and like to hang out with us couchsurfers!
* The title of this blog is the slogan from the Green Party here in NZ.
* Soft drink: L & P ( Lemon and Paeroa) "World famous in New Zealand" It tastes alright.
* At the festival I had 2 glasses of wine, enough for an hangover the next day.
* Ate a new fruit Mount paw-paw, a yellow fruit with a rough but sweet taste, the seeds are a bit spicy.
* I ate a very usual flower and leaves of Holland called Indian cress or Oost-Indische kers. It's good!

Feel free to comment!
Hugs and love (aroha)


16th November 2012

bedankt voor je mooie verhaal
Hai Moon, Zo te horen gaat het hartstikke goed en is je reis heel afwisselend qua omgeving en mensen. Inmiddels heb je aardig je weg gevonden daar denk ik, Leuk om Chewy zo nu en dan te zien. Hier alles goed, donkere, mistige dagen, kachel graadje hoger. Alweer kilo's verloren? Niet overdrijven he? Veel liefs, Maria Voor noodgevallen : hoe ben je dan bereikbaar? En je Engels is verbazingwekkend : ik heb een woordenboekje nodig!
16th November 2012

Rare kiwi hippie ben je ;-) Je maakt er een fantastische tijd van lees ik. Super. Leuk om bij te lezen, benieuwd naar je verdere avonturen.
16th November 2012

Te gek!!
Waar zal ik eens beginnen met commentaar geven... Allereerst heb ik je Facebook gecheckt en geprobeerd om bij elke foto een reactie te geven. Dat is niet helemaal gelukt, maar wel meestal wel. En dan je BLOG 2: - tattoo... niet op je voorhoofd, maar toch wel ergens anders (nice souvenir) - Toch leuk, 2 fransmannen met camper (en lekker goedkoop reizen). Als je terugkomt spreek je vloeiend (vloeibaar ;-) Engels EN Frans EN ... misschien nog wel meer talen, wie weet! Maar 'I speak good English'.... hmmmm volgens mij klopt die zin niet helemaal hahahah - Hoyt... wat een voorbeeld! Ik had hem nooit 73 geschat en zijn leefstijl! Gaaf! Ik kan me goed voorstellen dat hij je ogen heeft geopend qua 'save the planet' en zuinigheid. Als je nog tips hebt... (ik zal ook eens wat meer mijn best doen om zo weinig mogelijk eten weg te gooien). - ENNNN... ik weet ook wat ik wil hebben voor mijn verjaardag: dat je een liedje speelt op je uke voor me ;-) - Balen van die tablet! Hopelijk ontmoet je iemand met 'magic hands' die 'em kan repareren. - Succes met het ophalen van je lenzen!! Zet 'em op, Mona! Je doet het fantastisch en we missen je. Big hug and kisses, je zus en liefs van Martijn en zwaai-zwaai tokkietokkietok van Léya
17th November 2012

Hi Simone! Wow, wat heb je al veel beleefd! Ik vind je blog heel leuk geschreven, ik kan me er goed in meeleven. Echt hartstikke leuk! Hier in Brisbane hebben we flink last van stormen op het moment. Ik had vandaag een race in de stromende regen, dood eng! Veel plezier! Marianne
22nd November 2012

leuke verhalen en ervaringen zeg. Geniet er lekker van daar aan de andere kant van de wereld!
25th November 2012

Nice inspiring story
Hey Simone. I read your story and it makes me drool. I really cannot wait for summer. Here keep getting worse and worse. Rain and cold also wind. Super that you enjoy everything NZ has to offer. I can imagine that you really love it being there. Thank you for sharing your stories and it just inspires me to save up more and more to get to the place where you are now.

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