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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.


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

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