You can learn a lot about a community by reading the local newspaper. Or in my case, glancing at the front page headlines and occasionally checking my horoscope. For instance, the first day we arrived in Jamaica the front page showed a large amount of confiscated weed and read “Police Crack Down”. It was a devastating way to start our vacation to say the least. In New Zealand it took me only a week to realize what kind of country we are currently exploring. The local paper posted the photographs of the areas most wanted criminals and a brief summary of what horrendous crimes they had committed. We snapped a couple of photos of the front page to share with you. It gave us a strong indication of how safe we should feel when stumbling our way down a dark ally.
After a quick three-day tour of the northern part of NZ, we picked up the second camper van and the rest of the posse. Once we were two campers deep, Sally and I made a quick b-line to Kaylene’s camper, as Richard’s driving had us on our last pair of clean underwear. I equate Richard’s driving to being in the back of a C-130. It only takes a few short minutes of being bounced aroundin the back to make you want to race towards the door and jump the fuck out.
The first few days we traveled as a complete group it felt like we were a swarm of locust. Making our way from various friends and family’s houses, devouring food and alcohol like Pac-Man chasing pellets. It is one of the great benefits of traveling the country with some locals. Everyone that wants to catch up insists on putting on a feed. Though we just scheduled a second round and were informed that alcohol would no longer be provided (doesn’t take long for us to make an impression). Besides helping me fit into my baggy shorts a little better, the meals have been helping Sally and I avoid our scheduled cooking night. Knowing only three dishes to serve up to the family (knocked down to two after Nat and Drew served up pasta), it seems difficult to stand proudly next to your packet stir-fry after Drew catches and serves up some ridiculously bomb-ass Snapper.
New Zealand’s weather seems to have the same weather pattern as Seattle. Raining and overcast any time you want to do an outdoor activity and beaming down sunshine when you are trapped indoors, or in our case, stuck in the back of a camper van making our way to the next town. We did manage to find a few breaks in the rain to explore Cathedral Cove and Mount Maunganui.
Cathedral Cove is an awesome worn out cave in the rocks that separates two beaches.
The Mount is a great little beach town with a nice group of restaurants, cafes, and bars. It is appropriately named for the rather large hill (mount) at the end of town that separates the bay and the ocean.
We also stayed a night at Hot Water Beach. Whose slogged is “The Only Fucking Way You’ll Ever Want To Get In The Ocean”. During low tide, flocks of tourists and locals make their way to the beach and dig their way a few inches to a few feet down. The hot water from a nearby spring is easily brought to the surface and makes for a great natural hot-tub. It doesn’t take long for the soak to make you feel like a lobster being prepped for consumption and its then a mad dash for the cool ocean water.
With the groups tolerance reaching peaks that would enable us to drink an entire group of AA members under the table, we made our way to “The Farm” for the Christmas reunion.
*At this time we would like to thank one of our sponsors of the trip, ASUS. They contributed our over priced tablet that finds a new way each day to frustrate the shit out of us. We have already had to ship it back to the states (and have it shipped back) for more than what we initially paid for the hot garbage piece of “technology”. In its most recent attempt to conduct “suicide through owners”, its charging cable decided it no longer wanted to function correctly. Due to the fact that most people are smarter than the average ‘Round-The-World-Tripper’, not a single store in New Zealand carries ANY ASUS accessories. Thus we find ourselves behind by several weeks and finding it easier to put our energy into being pissed off then trying to recall what we did two weeks ago, and for that (ASUS) we thank you.*