A Travellerspoint blog

south island trip, part 3

more abel tasman

sunny
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days two and three of the abel tasman track boasted stunning weather. abel tasman gets the most sunshine in new zealand, and it didn't disappoint. after being unlucky with the weather on excursions nearly all semester, it was such a relief to finally have perfect, perfect weather. it was sunny, dotted with white cloud. there was a fresh breeze that kept us cool for hours and hours of tramping. the water was a blue that, as kirstin noted, you'd normally associate with the caribbean.

the second day on the track was a day on a deadline. we had to cross the awaroa and onetahuti estuaries, which can only be crossed close to low tide (10:26 that morning). the awaroa took about twenty minutes of picking our way across seas of small sharp shells, multitudinous, literally unavoidable -- and wading through water that at times rose past our knees. by the time we crossed it we were quite tired and hungry, but didn't have time to stop for lunch because we needed to make the next crossing within three hours past low tide. we cracked open the jerky and trekked on.

of course, after a couple of hours of worrying and hurrying and panting, it turned out that the onetahuti crossing was tiny, and not even worth being concerned about. we flopped down on the beach just past it, settling on a log for lunch. a duck sidled up to us to make friends. zack tossed it a crumb, and next thing we knew, it stole zack's sandwich while we weren't looking (making us ultimately one slice of bread short of having even sandwiches, stupid duck). we relaxed our sore muscles on that beach for a good long while.

went on a mini-spelunk of a small cave at one end of the beach. it was a wide crack in the rock that narrowed quickly to a crawl space; i brought in my flashlight, and kirstin and i wriggled in. at the end of the crawl space was an even smaller hole that i decided to see if i could squeeze through. when i got close, i realized that a) i couldn't, and b) there was a living creature inside it: a white duck's head blinked at me in the flashlight's beam. fuck. would it attack if cornered? i backed out right quick. when we told zack about it, he stole the flashlight, went in, and threw things at the duck, but poor bugger didn't move. so i guess there was no danger.

we also scrambled around on the rough rocks to peer down into a water cave and to clamber up on a rock shelf above it.

there is one event that i have to mention, although i can't remember what day of the trip it happened on, or where, just that it was on one of the beaches. it involves this freaky motherfucker,

oystercatc..sterror.jpg

the toreapango, or variable oystercatcher, i am almost certain. one of them was standing on the beach, a striking sight with his blood-red beak and legs and his shining black feathers. he was perched on one leg, and zack came up close to take a picture. close -- closer -- closer -- always expecting that the bird would get scared and fly off.

instead, it was joined by another bird. the two stood shoulder to shoulder, lurking bullies on the sand. suddenly, they both flew at zack and kirstin, squawking. they are not small birds. now we were just trying to get past unscathed. they didn't like that. they didn't like our look. they didn't like our voices. they didn't like anything about us, basically, and they wanted us dead. we got off that beach right quick and couldn't shake the feeling that they were following us through the undergrowth.

zack: "those birds hate everything living and life itself."

we spent our second night at bark bay, where we met a girl named emily from philadelphia and her british friend whose great-uncle owns three pubs in harvard square. "how long have you guys known each other?" -- expecting the answer to number in the years. "oh, about four...four nights? days?" emily, stoned, had picked up the other girl, who was hitchhiking, and on the spur of the moment they decided to do the track. they'd each hauled a giant bottle of wine in with them and emily could no longer feel her right hand. they were hilarious to talk to but unfortunately we were too tired to be truly social.

instead, we made a sad fire that lived long enough to toast our sandwiches and melt some chocolate on our crackers (and infuse my shirts with a smoke-salami scent that still lingers). and then, ahh, slept.

Posted by ctamler 11:31 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

south island trip, part 2

abel tasman coastal track

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can you tell that studying is the LAST thing i am interested in doing right now?

ahhhhhhhhhem.

the abel tasman's a one-way track, takes 3-4 days to tramp. you can turn it into a loop if you add the inland track, but we chose the one-way option with our limited time and resources, which meant we planned to take a water taxi to the north end of the track and hiked south.

in the morning we rushed from the barn to the aquataxi office, suddenly scared by our lack of bookings. before we could catch a breath we found ourselves being towed in the water taxi across a watery estuary by a big tractor, which pushed us backwards into the sea. kirstin, zack, and i sat in the back, because we're the cool kids. that meant we had to stand up as we were being backed in, to avoid getting drenched.

our taxi ride was a bit like a two-hour tour, pretty decent for fifty bucks. we swung by split apple rock, a halved granite fruit resting on a bed of rock marshmallows, before heading for mutton cove, the furthest stop along the track.

the sun was out, from time to time. the sky wasn't clear and it was chilly with the brisk wind on the boat. the taxi operator poked fun at our ridiculous aeroflot-colored tent in its giant, unwieldy bag. we ate muffins and apples, and saw seals on tonga island, and the lone bottlenose dolphin that's been haunting torrent bay came out to play with us. as we motored on and on -- and on -- i watched the shore hurry by. i couldn't imagine ever walking that far. it seemed endless, thick trees punctuated by bay after bay, a few vacation homes in torrent bay and a few campsites in other bays visible but other than that no signs of civilization. and us with our last-minute water purification tablet purchase and our stupid tent and our salami and our two broken lighters.

no time for second thoughts. down the ramp at mutton cove, where we undertook our first small side tramp, to separation point, where we got up close and personal with some new zealand fur seals. zack dubbed them "bear ducks," which i think is awfully appropriate. such large, fuzzy, clumsy things, hobbled by the shore, with their cherry cordial eyes and their irritable yelps. but in the water they are slender and graceful, and their strange rubbery webbed gloves make sudden sense. we got into an argument about whether seals are faster than michael phelps. (they are, if you were wondering.)

it was our shortest day save the last, maybe four hours total of tramping to totaranui, our first campsite. we endured little rain, but certainly some wind and chill. the track took us alternately across beaches and through forests. we encountered stoat traps: an egg inside a rectangular wooden box with wire mesh at either end. apparently they somehow incorporate cyanide as well. at totaranui's visitor center we discovered the reason: stoats kill wekas, a very rare, flightless new zealand bird that they're trying to repopulate abel tasman with.

we managed, that night, to find a way to stretch our stupid tent with yellow twine so that none of the walls were particularly collapsed. it was warmer, and i slept with two layers of socks, and in the morning the sun burned off the clouds and -- magic: beautiful day.

Posted by ctamler 01:27 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

south island trip, part 1

twisted cities and pancake rocks

all seasons in one day
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kirstin, zack and i hopped a plane tuesday evening. got into christchurch without mishap and checked into our hostel. wandering around looking for food that night was reminiscent of the wellington trip...the restaurants all looked delicious but closed. we played on the giant purple sperm in cathedral square, wandered into a little alley strung with red lights and sporting a huge fluorescent yellow cross, and finally gave up: burger king it was. they have these amazing late night specials which probably aren't actually as good of a deal as you think they are, but they are for multiple people and give you multiple burgers and fries and drinks, and we get them more than we probably should.

a quite different feel from wellington. less artsy-fartsy, less hip and new. lots of churchy and cathedral-esque buildings everywhere. an older scent. as old as nz gets, anyway.

we had a ten-bed room at base christchurch. zack and i both slept on bottom bunks, and the slats supporting the mattresses above us were thickly graffitied -- his was racist-themed, mine focused on sex sex sex. (one memorable quote from mine: "i would swim up a river of shit with my mouth wide open just to suck on the cock of the guy who last banged you." classy.) there were a bunch of israelis in the room, and one kept talking to us about how stupid americans are. also classy. and a texan named troy who's studying in aussie and failing all of his exams...which probably just fueled the israeli's fire.

in the morning, i picked up the car from the airport, which all went smoothly; then i drove back to the hostel, which didn't. driving in christchurch reminds me of driving in pittsburgh, especially the north side: a maze of one-way streets, confusing signs that point to nowhere and then leave you hanging. eventually i found it and off we jetted towards abel tasman via greymouth and punakaiki, stopping on the way to shop for our 3.5-day backpacking trip:

- jerky
- trail mix (an accidental 1.5kg bag...bulk can be dangerous)
- 3 salami rolls
- cheese
- 2 loaves of bread
- peanut m&ms
- peanuts
- chocolate-covered raisins
- peanut butter
- jelly
- round tea crackers
- apples
- 28 muesli bars (essentially granola)

now listen. i know that i have used "all seasons in one day" on this blog many times to describe the nz weather. but this drive, it actually, really, literally applied, in a way that make all the other times look like big fat lies.

when we left christchurch, it was raining.

driving through gorges, it was alternately overcast and sleeting.

later, around the time we stopped for lunch in greymouth -- on the sea-foamy beach where we had a seafoam battle -- the sun was out.

in punakaiki, it HAILED for ten minutes.

from there, we drove right under a huge rainbow (we could see where it ended, in the half-dry riverbed beside us). then we drove through thick snow that stuck to street signs, trees, grass. and, finally, stiff gusts of wind that blew our practically weightless nissan heartlessly about the road, poor butterfly.

punakaiki: the pancake rocks. super. better even than i expected. they are apparently a geological mystery. they're stacked in layers, and the softer layers are eroding quicker, so the effect is even more pronounced; and geologists don't know why they formed that way. lots of cool natural formations, like the surge pool that seems a perfect place for a pirate to hide myriad treasure chests. i got a free coffee from a nearby cafe because the owner forgot to charge me, and when i told him, he said "well, it's not often that i do something like that, so consider it your lucky day."

i LOVE free things.

we got to the barn (our campsite outside abel tasman, in marahau) after dark, and set up the tent in the black and rain. and let me just say that this tent, which was to be our home for the next four nights, was broken.

"kirstin, didn't you say you checked the tent and it was going to work?"

"well, i never set it up all the way..."

let me also just say that this tent was clearly designed by idiots who attempt to cater to human laziness by making it TOO easy to set up and as a result making it extremely difficult to carry (the poles stay in the tent permanently) and to fix when broken. ultimately, though, it worked fine, though that first night we had one collapsed wall, which made it a bit cramped. it was freezing and raining and none of us slept well, which was not an auspicious beginning for our tramp...but do not, friends, judge a book by its cover.

Posted by ctamler 11:34 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

international criminal

a random story or two

sunny
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last night kirstin and i went to fire spinning night again. sundays are in mission bay. it's a short bus ride from the city, from quay street, a shoreside suburb with a high concentration of ice cream shops and a color-changing fountain. we ended up riding through it twice on the bus. because we missed it the first time.

it has a fun atmosphere, but soda is more expensive there. by nearly a dollar.

the fire spinning crowd was small, and mostly huddling on blankets, cold. kirstin got up the courage to light her devil sticks eventually, and she looked like she was having fun. i sat and talked to rebecca for a bit. then we went to catch the last bus.

except the bus schedules were confusing -- as always. the public transportation system here might be even worse than pittsburgh's. eventually we figured out that a bus was coming in about twenty minutes, so we got some burger king and sat at the stop.

familiar orange and blue of a new zealand police car pulled up. the same colors as aeroflot, or something james would wear.

"are you girls okay?"

"yeah we're fine -- just waiting for the bus."

"oh yeah? where are you going?"

"back to the city center."

"...you want a ride?"

hell yes we wanted a ride. in the car we learned they have nothing better to do than drive around the city all night. they even dropped us right at our gate.

story #2: yesterday morning, i spilled water all over my bed. last night, it was still wet. LAME.

story #3: i was supposed to talk to sara this morning. however, (1) i forgot that she is in chicago and used the pittsburgh time conversion, and (2) nobody reminded me that it was daylight savings time there today. so i was two hours early.

Posted by ctamler 11:43 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

glowing poop

horror film plot #2 in the bag

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we left wanganui bright and early to make our way through winding roads, back country, and national parks to waitomo. it was a 3.5 hour drive but the twists and turns absorbing enough that i didn't offer to let anyone else drive. we listened to the radio (that song about "sweet home alabama," coldplay's "viva la vida," they're everpresent on the radio at the moment...as well as a couple of other songs that are so annoying that we switched stations every time we heard them -- like the one that starts "i hate this part right here"), and discovered that cody thought lambs and sheep were completely different species.

at waitomo we ate the remnants of our food -- the bread zack, cody and i were sharing made some pretty stupid sandwiches. when we went to check in, we discovered they had raised the price of the black abyss tour by about 20nzd sometime in october -- but we must have looked poor and pathetic, because the receptionist gave us a discount. fifty cents less than we originally thought we were going to pay, actually.

we squeezed ourselves into cold, damp wetsuits, learned how to abseil, and then threw ourselves down a hole that dropped many, many meters down into the mouths of the waiting cave monsters below:

BWR2-28-10..Stu_011.jpg

while waiting for my turn to abseil, i concocted yet another brilliant movie plot that will rival ghost twin in its rapid climb to the top of the horror film genre. i don't have a title yet, but it involves a "caving company" that is actually being contracted by cave monsters to supply them with a steady supply of human victims to munch on. the monsters need to do this, of course, because they can't leave the cave...daylight kills them.

our time spent spelunking was a wet wild and cold three hours ziplining through pitchblack cave sky twinkling with glowworms, climbing up waterfalls, and getting thrown off of twenty foot ledges into black water on innertubes.

BWR2-28-10..Stu_018.jpg

ahahahahaha.

the guides basically delight in keeping you in the dark the whole time as to what's coming next -- partially as a fear management control tool, partially just because they're dicks. but it was funny. of course, they couldn't refrain from making a descent joke or two.

i won the glowworm game, which means i never need feel shame for my incompetence at the skytower game ever again.

cody drove back to auckland and we all passed out -- but not after kirstin sent me to bed with the promise that she was going to take care of directions to karekare for the next morning. the world should note that carefully.

kirstin and i succeeded at waking up, getting to parnell, and leaving the city right on schedule in the morning. cody even elected to come with us, which was to say the least a (pleasant) surprise. then we got onto the northern motorway and drove for about fifteen minutes.

me: "so do you know how long we're supposed to be on the motorway before the next turn?"

kirstin: "no, i didn't write down the distances, really..." pause. "wait, do you not know where you're going?"

"no why would i? you're in charge of directions."

"yeah but you just seemed so sure of yourself."

"well, where are we supposed to be?"

"i dunno -- the northwestern motorway?"

"we're on the northern motorway...there IS no northwestern motorway..."

cody: "is this beach on the west coast or the east coast?"

us: "the west."

cody: "well, we're definitely heading towards the east coast."

the upshot is we turned around and somehow magically ended up on the northwestern motorway despite the fact that there were no signs for it until many kilometers after it had started. and got to karekare beach, a bit late, but still got there, with the weather shitting all over us, black sand stinging our legs in the wind. we wandered up and down the beach at the foot of soaring cliffs. it's right down the street from piha but i liked it even better. really, really beautiful. seems bigger, and more remote. more tracks you can do. if the weather had been better...

but kirstin and i, being the hardcore motherfuckers we are, found a waterfall that fed into a deep, clear pool, and then --

kirstin: "the water's not that cold."

[laughter. pause. i feel the water.]

me: "you know it's really not." pause. "we should probably swim."

[laughter.]

"no. seriously. we should."

"you're right. we should get towels from the car..."

"no. we shouldn't. because this is all about the impulsiveness. which we are already clearly losing by talking about it so much. so i really think we should just shut the fuck up and swim."

[pause.]

"yeah ok."

down to our bathing suits in ten seconds, we slipped and stumbled across the mossy, rocky bed of the pool, then swam, tingling with the cold, to touch the rock beneath the rushing falls. we held our heads under the falling stream, leaned against the mossy wet boulders. a family of ducks quacked disapproval, flaunted its waterproof feathers. cody stood on the shore, arms folded.

the air felt warmer when we emerged. the van of tourists at the trailheads staring at us laughing walking in our dripping togs didn't faze us. shit's real.

Posted by ctamler 16:21 Archived in New Zealand Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

trip-dub trip

wellington/wanganui/waitomo (note: all photos taken by sam)

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i don't know why i woke up at 6:30 this morning, unable to go back to sleep. (sleep again. resleep.) a long three days on the road -- gave me energy? made me restless? it's three weeks nearly to the hour until i set foot on home soil again for a while.

we (kirstin, zack, sam, cody, me) jumped on the overlander at the britomart travel center on sunday morning. train travel in europe is so fast-paced, so automated, so commonplace; here, we had to ask three employees before someone could tell us that we didn't need to pick up a ticket, we just had to check in with train staff. sam ended up having to spend most of the 12-hour journey sitting alone, towards the front of the train with her more expensive ticket (the cheap ones had been nearly sold out when we booked). however, there was a sweet "lounge area" at the rear of the train that we made use of for a good hour or possibly more, completely ignoring the "please don't spend more than 20 minutes here so that everyone can have a turn" rule. every train should have a lounge area, a semicircle of benches by a big bay window looking out over what you've just passed.

trainlounge.jpg

the ride was beautiful. it takes an hour or two to get out of industrial backyards and grubby suburbs, but once you're in it, new zealand scenery never fails to take breath. everything is green, and rivers and waterfalls spring on you out of nowhere. we spiraled up to the national park and rolled across five viaducts, one of which is "considered to be the largest on the north island." i don't know what it means for a viaduct to be "considered the largest," but it is, in any case.

i sat with zack. zack is a good travel buddy -- the time passes quickly but not in a way that makes you feel you're missing things. a large chunk of train time was devoted to a game he invented which i call "strangers on a train" and which basically involves taking pictures of people you don't know on the train. he has some gems.

i would just like to note before i forget that the exchange rate is going through the roof...you keep thinking it can't get better, but oh, it can, friends, it can. i guess i have my own country to thank for fucking up the global economy.

in wellington, we checked into our hostel and wandered around the city looking for dinner. it was around 9pm on a sunday by this point, the sunday of a holiday weekend no less, and so nearly everything was closed. we wandered past the most eclectic collection of statues and public art i've seen in one small city: scattered throughout wellington are a pirate ship bridge, a giant umbrella,

wellington_umbrella.jpg

huge metal slabs with braille of matching size, a writhing fountain that possibly is meant to evoke the silver fern...more, more i can't remember. on the waterfront we finally found a place to sate our hunger with seafood ramen and after stuffing ourselves, stumbled across a fireworks show about to start. i think it was part of diwali. well, usually i am unimpressed by fireworks displays, they seem so random, so lacking in artistry; but this one was beautifully orchestrated -- it was actually a show, not just a random collection of colors and bangs.

monday was a lazy and indecisive day. the beautiful weather just fed into our collective want to wander instead of picking up the car or making a plan of action.

wellington_sculptures.jpg

we ate a leisurely breakfast at the abovepictured location, attended by a bitter and lame seagull; happened across a free museum and spent a few hours learning about earthquakes and gondwanaland and nz bush; had a picnic and a nap. it ended up working out for the best in terms of picking up the car, which turned out to be something of a hassle that i don't really feel like going into. the moral of the story is, of course, that nothing is ever actually free.

we finally got on the road, headed to wanganui with no ideas as to where to stay or what to do there. on the way we stopped to get blown about by a stunning and windy view of the tasman sea and to buy fifty-cent ice cream at mcdonald's. in wanganui well after dark, we asked a taxi driver for the cheapest motel around and by some miracle managed to follow his directions to the sports lodge, which ended up (split between the five of us) being cheaper than our hostel and had free hot chocolate to boot. at first we hid zack in the car, thinking they might only have a room for four and we'd need to sneak him in. then we had an awkward encounter with the man at reception who thought we were some other group of people and kept telling us "they'll be right out, i'm sure, although -- well i don't see any movements in there -- but i'm sure they'll be out soon, sorry about that, as soon as you see them come out you can..."

eventually he figured out that our blank stares were actually of complete confusion, not anger.

tuesday morning i woke up early and drove alone up durie hill on the other side of town, listening to old, old songs on the radio, window down to catch the chilly post-sunrise air. at the top of durie hill is a tower, a memorial, with 176 steps that you can climb and look down over wanganui. it was like a castle turret, a beautifully solitary thing, and i felt very alone and able to see everything and peaceful, that feeling where everything inside of you is still and watchful.

later i found a playground: the best i have ever seen. it had:

- a castle with a moat and a train.
- a serpent with swings hanging from loops in its body.
- an octopus with swings hanging from its arms.
- a wide-mouthed whale you could climb inside.
- a water maze.
- humpty-dumpty, the old woman who lived in a shoe's shoe-cum-slide, little miss muffet baby swings, the three little bears.
- a giant pumpkin picnic area.
- an elaborate tree house section with a zipline.

the zipline was clearly made to be worked by at least two people -- one to drag the rope so that the zipliner, standing on the leaping platform, could grab it and pull it close enough to jump onto. i ingeniously beat the system by trapping the rope in some bolts under the leaping platform. but when i leapt, i banged my elbow on the metal crossbar and couldn't feel my hand for ten minutes.

the final leg of the adventure began with my return to the motel. but maybe i'd better have a separate entry for waitomo, because this is getting long, so i'd better stop, folks, right here.

Posted by ctamler 10:27 Archived in New Zealand Tagged train_travel Comments (0)

fire poi


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rebecca, who twirls fire, had mentioned the twice-weekly fire circle: tuesday nights in a park, sundays at mission bay. so last night, kayleigh, her flatmate, kirstin, sam and i ventured out across k'road, beyond to a district i'm not terribly familiar with -- past the "legalize cannabis" bus, where we began to hear strains of music. crest the hill and down in the valley of the park, mostly within a circle of boulders, were dark figures surrounded by whirling balls of flame: fire poi, which apparently originated with the maori in new zealand. there were other fire toys: sticks for juggling, staffs for tossing and twirling, fans for fanning, a hoop for spinning...later, a flaming sword and even a flaming jump rope.

it was really cool to look at. sam took some pictures, and when i acquire one from her, i'll post it. (EDIT: here's one.

firenight.jpg

sweet, no?)

a chill hippie vibe pervaded the park: spectators snuggled together on blankets, drank beer, drummed, strummed guitar. rebecca spun a couple of times (she does poi), and she was great to watch. she's only been doing it about a year, but she has some quite complicated moves and a certain style to her body while she does them that a lot of the other spinners didn't have. to watch her is to watch a dance with fire.

marc-andre joined us, and eventually, after the evening chill got to us, we left the spinners for the wine cellar on k'road, a place i didn't know existed: down some stairs, underneath thrift stores we visited a few weeks ago. they have a back room for gigs where the seating is all couches and chairs ripped out of automobiles and benches -- a cool, dirty, converted-garage feel. kirstin, marc-andre, and i split a bottle of plum liqueur. with it, the bartender gives you a bowl of ice and a bottle of soda water, and you put a bit of liqueur over ice and top off with the bubbly and it's delicious, tastes like italian soda. two random drunk-but-not-intolerably-so dudes, charlie and chad, came over to make friends with us. we stuffed chad's t-shirts into a pitcher. charlie was talking to kirstin:

"so how long are you here for?"

"um, only about another month, and then i go back to the states."

"oh. wow." pause. "like a soldier."

Posted by ctamler 14:00 Archived in New Zealand Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

der grimm show

wir haben einen tv-show für den deutschkurs gemacht

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our final assignment for german class was to write/perform a skit auf deutsch -- we made this:

personally, i think the shitty quality merely adds to its charm. also, who has mad impromptu skills with imovie hd? that would be me. taught myself. not bad for 3 hours.

Posted by ctamler 16:06 Archived in New Zealand Tagged educational Comments (0)

pihahahaha

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too early on saturday morning ingrid, alex, a cranky meghan, sarah, abbie, bayan, dan and i climbed into a musty-smelling chinese van with automatic window shades and an expandable roof compartment. what should have been a 45-minute drive stretched a bit longer thanks to getting lost, but your average kiwi biker is nothing if not friendly and helpful. we found our way to piha beach with no other mishap save rain during the last chunk of the drive dampening our spirits. rain? really? not on our parade.

the rain had stopped by the time we pulled up, although it was still overcast and chilly. we wandered down the black sand beach towards lion rock. black sand is really black. but it is also a different consistency than white sand -- at least, this black sand was: almost like mud, but grainier; it would cling together, and we had a sandball fight or two. we ought to have built a sandcastle, it would've made a killer one.

when the sun came out and hit the sand, it glittered. like those sidewalks that i always used to thrill at finding as a kid, the sparkly fairytale sidewalks. there were parts where the sand was so black that it was purple, in painted-on streaks. it held footprints.

we climbed lion rock, which was once a maori pa (fortified settlement) and gave a nice view of the beach. not many surfers that day in the chill and choppiness, but there was still a class or two; apparently it's great for that sort of thing. alex rented a surfboard and ingrid a boogie board later in the day. before that, though, ingrid, abbie, meghan and i went on a short hike that we found. it wound up and around some low hills, and if you slipped down a little side path you found yourself on this big rock jutting out and overlooking a narrow pass between another rock and the shore. at the narrowest bit there was a series of stone ledges, like giant steps, and the waves would crash into them from behind and then the white foam would tumble down, thickly, so that they seemed covered in snow. it was an incredible sight. my camera is broken and so i couldn't take pictures. but incredible.

the sun was out for a while, though there was still too much breeze for real warmth. some of us lay on the beach, others wandered or played in the water (too cold without a wetsuit). we took jumping pictures, which seem to be meghan's new obsession. i always find them annoying when other people take them, but they are really fun to be in, and to look at if you're in them.

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i guess by that logic the above picture will be annoying to everyone and not fun to look at for anyone.

it rained on and off throughout the day, always quite suddenly, so there were several dashes to the car. there were also several excursions to the fish and chips stall, which seemed to be the only place to obtain food for miles around -- oddly, considering piha's supposedly a very popular place in the summer. they had all the requisites: toasties, fish, chips, burgers with beets and eggs on them.

we stayed til around sunset at bayan's impassioned request, because he and ingrid wanted to film for their dance and technology project. unfortunately, sunset was less than spectacular, because as the day wore on the sky became more and more insistently overcast.

we returned home to a frustrating fire alarm that chased us to starbucks for a little while. later, cody and zack came to wellesley, and we played cards with kirstin and sam and went to the viaduct. a late night for all. sunday i lazed and half-heartedly did some homework and wrote a bit. now it's monday morning of our last week of school, oh my.

Posted by ctamler 01:22 Archived in New Zealand Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

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