Hello from Thames, which sits on the western shores of the Coromandel Peninsula, which you should be able to find on the map above. I'll try to give you a quick rundown of everything thats happened..
Thursday, the 22nd:
I woke up at about 9 o'clock, and my friend- I had to stay at her house because the hostel wouldn't let me stay another night after I said I would leave Wednesday but got too drunk on Tuesday and was too hungover to leave on Wednesday- gave me a ride to the spot I was hitching from. I was out there for about 30 minutes when I got picked up by 2 girls in a van. They were Americans, from Tampa, a little older than me, and were heading to Mount Manganui. If Tauranga were Erie (which they compare in size), then Mount Manganui would be Presque Isle, except the entire peninsula would be built up like the part of Presque Isle by Waldameer and there would, of course, be a huge mountain on the end of it. To make things easy for them, I said I would go to 'the Mount', as its called, with them and then go to Tauranga after that. (I had been planning to do the opposite, so it made no difference). We ate lunch in the Mount and then they dropped me off at Mount Backpackers, and I checked in. The Mount is a surfer haven, with tons of surfers and skateboarders wandering around. It was pretty cool. I walked to the beach, and wandered out and explored an island there (It was actually a peninsula, but its name was Mihiki Island or something like that). The sky and the mount looked amazing, so I took a bunch of good pictures which I will post when I find a computer that lets me upload pictures to it. I also wandered out on some huge rocks and just sat looking at the pacific until it was almost dark. I hung around that night, reading, and realized I was catching a cold. Bummer.
Friday, the 23rd:
I woke up at around 7 because I was in a room with tons of kiwifruit pickers and thats when all their alarms went off- it was seriously like a symphony. I layed around for a bit after they left, and then got up and headed to climb the Mount. The cold was getting worse, but this didn't deter me, and I made the climb in about an hour. The views were unbelievable- you could see for miles. I sat there and took it in for a while, and then climbed back down. By this point I was physically tired from the cold, and I went back, took a shower, and took a long nap. I woke up feeling only slightly better, and went to eat at the same turkish kebab place as the day before (The best kebabs I have had in NZ to this point, by far). I then went back and relaxed, and even took the time to watch some television and waste some of my life on American Idol. Although it was going to be my birthday at midnight, I just didn't have the energy to do anything, so I went to bed. Well,there was a huge party going on downstairs making all kinds of noise, and I couldn't sleep because of it, not that it really bothered me. However, there were some workers who had to go pick kiwifruit at 7 in the morning, and one of them was a french guy who was getting pretty pissed, he kept rolling over in the bunk above me and cursing in french, which I believe translates to "slut's mother" or something along those lines. He finally jumped out of bed and ran down stairs and yelled at them all in french and then broken english. It was pretty funny, until the girl who was running the hostel for the night came in, holding a beer, turned on the light, and yelled at us all to stop being wussies.
Saturday, the 24th: MY BDAY
I woke up at 9ish and checked out of hte hostel right before 10. I wandered over to the bus station with all my crap and caught a bus to Tauranga, which took about 25 minutes. I was still feeling pretty sick, and was in bad spirits all around. I always thought my 22nd b-day would be the worst because I worked an 11 hour day roofing followed by a 5 hour shift at docksider's. But at least I got to go home to my family and my girlfriend afterwards. Nothing is worse than being sick and alone across the world on your birthday, or any other holiday for that matter. Tauranga is beautiful though, and it picked up my spirits pretty quickly. I wandered around the down town area and got a hostel, a nice one, where I met a German girl who I soon realized was younger than my little brother. She had just broken up with her boyfriend, was lonely, and asked if we could make dinner together (This is a common practice when travelling, cooking for 2 is much cheaper than cooking for one). I said yes, and I still haven't followed through on that dinner- I'm waiting til I have the desire for it, I guess. We walked to a grocery store and got all the stuff for a nice pasta, and then I went back and slept for 2 more hours. When I woke up, I was feeling waaay better- I was passed the most difficult part of the cold. We went up to the kitchen, which overlooked the Tauranga harbor(I almost typed harbour there, damn British), and made our food. We met another guy, a Maori, and he said we should come meet up with him to watch the Super 14 Semifinal match that night at a bar. We agreed, and went down to a pub called the cornerstone, and watched the crusaders (of Christchurch) kick the crap out of the locally popular hurricanes (of wellington). On this saturday, the crusaders have the waratahs of New South Wales (Australia) in the final in Christchurch. I should be in the bay of Islands by then, but I really want to catch it. After the game, the german girl went home, and I went to a couple clubs with the Maori guy, who also taught me many dirty and offensive words in Maori. He was having a great time, but I was still low on energy because of my cold, and willed my way to 1 in the morning solely because it was my birthday. I also got to have a couple MGD's at an American bar, the first American beers I've had in a long time. (I found it funny that the bartender called it only Miller, I explained to him that we usually refer to it as MGD in the States.)
Sunday, the 25th
Train is playing in my hostel right now. So weird when that happens. I ALWAYS tell the story to whoever will listen about how he lived on my street right after he had gotten big. Sunday was a very lazy day- I hung out and read pretty much the whole day, and went to the Tauranga Art Museum. I ate leftover pasta for dinner and then went and saw 'Ironman'. Not my favorite movie, but not my place to rant here about that.
Also, on Sunday, I bought more money for my phone. You get a reciept with a number on it, and you have to call the company and type the number in. For some reason, I immediately through the receipt away into a trash can on the street, and had to spend ten minutes in the middle of the day in front of everybody looking through the trash bag for it.
Monday, the 26th
I woke up early and checked out of the hostel, then shot over and quick caught a public bus to the northern limits of town, which was a suburb called Bethlehem. I had something kind of funny happen here, but I'll cover that (I'm running out of time) in a couple days when I write my 'weird things that happen to you when you are hitchhiking that don't involve being raped or murdered' blog. I eventually got picked up by a guy who was going part of the way to Whitianga, my destination for the day, and he took me about a quarter of the way to katikati. From there, I had to wait in the rain (simultaneously the hitch hikers worst enemy (see: being wet) and his best friend (see: sympathy from drivers)) until I got a ride from a girl who was going to Auckland and could take me until our roads diverged. She was 21, if I remember, and really nice. She pointed out that had been told numerous times never to pick up hitchhikers. She took me to Wahai, where I ate lunch at a lunchbar, and then I got back on the road and got picked up about a half hour later by an elderly gentleman who was going to Whitianga. We stopped at a couple cool places on the way so he could show me the cool beaches on the west coast of the Coromandel peninsula, which I had entered when I reached Wahai. He gave me a tour of Whitianga as well, and dropped me off in front of my hostel at around 3 in the afternoon.. I had covered roughly 250 kms in 5 hours hitchhiking.
But I'm out of time, I'll give you a rundown of everything else that's happened in a later blog.. sorry, and hope all is well!
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