Sleeping with sheep
Yes, I have slept with sheep. And paid for it. And it was fun.
And aside from that, what have I been up to? Well, lets recount. The day after I arrived to Aukland, I spent the morning shopping for shorts then waited around for Kat and Simon to arrive in their rental car to pick me up. So I stood around and waited and they eventually arrived. Traffic is a pain. And we were off. We got a bite to eat and caught up on old times (I met them on the Inca trail) and what we had done in the months since we last saw each other, and then headed to a camping place where I bought a tent. At $100 bucks, plus the 25 I spent on the sleeping mat, it wasn’t cheap, but then again, camping will save me about $10 a night on hotel costs, so I will recuperate that pretty quickly.
Then we headed up north. The first day, we headed up to a city called Warkworth which is where we camped for the night in a place called “Sheep World” (where I slept with the sheep – which were in the pen next to my tent). It was nice. An open air living room with cable TV, a spa, a really nice outdoor kitchen, a stream, and a lot of sheep. After we arrived, we popped over to the supermarket, got some food and beer, headed back and set up our tents then spent the night chatting, eating, drinking and laughing. We met a guy who had just gotten done with a month in NZ in a car he bought. A lot of people do that as they can sell the car when they are done and get their money back. We had a nice nights sleep and the next day, headed further north to the Bay of Islands.
The Bay of Islands is a bunch of little islands right off the coast and is really just the name of the region. There we went snorkeling at this place called Goat Island (after renting wet suits on account of the really cold water) and saw tons of really cool multicolored fish. At one point, some kids were feeding the fish right above us and we were surrounded by huge Snapper (insert other local fish here). It was nice. We then headed up to this town called Paihia and camped there for the night right on the shore of the ocean. After cooking our dinner (lots of steak and sausages on the barbeque) we spent the night chatting and drinking on the beach while staring up at the stars – which are incredible in the outskirts of NZ.
There is very little light in the sky and you can see the Milky Way splashed out over top like a long thin horizontal cloud. It leaves you awestruck.
The next day we headed out early and looked into going sandboarding down some of the giant sand dunes in the area. On account of the wind, however, we ended up not being able to go so we spent the day wandering further up north and hanging out at some incredible beaches instead. Lush green country side and rolling green hills, perfectly pristine beaches, crystal clear water and beautiful white sand was enough to keep us busy for the day and we camped right on the shore of the beach again after having another barbeque dinner. Simon and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning debating whether or not math is something that exists without human beings (it’s clearly not, duh) and then we woke up early and headed back to Paihia to do Dolphin Swimming.
At the dock, we boarded our boat with about 15 other people and headed out to the water where we sailed with the dolphins in the bay. They swam right next to our boat for about an hour, jumping in and out of the water and splashing around until we eventually got too far out for them. I guess they had a baby with them so we couldn’t swim with them but we ended up heading to some island where we had lunch and could go snorkeling and hiking up the mountain to get some cool views. I opted for the hiking and snapped some pretty awesome pictures. We were at Captain Cook island where Captain Cook first landed in New Zealand and killed a few of the natives.
From there, we went sailing around and relaxed in the sun for the remainder of the day before heading back to the docks. We were pretty damn tired so we mustered up all our strength to head back to Sheep World again and get some sleep. We spent the night after dinner in the spa and ended up heading to bed early. It rained that night, as it had the night before but had cleared up by the morning enough to enjoy a pretty sunny day.
And now we are back in Aukland. What’s the plan? I don’t know. The guy I met a few days ago is still here so we are probably going to try to find some other guys to go in on renting or buying a car and go around the North and South Islands of NZ for about a month to a month and a half. Kat and Simon are going to head down south with their parents so we will probably meet up somewhere else or maybe in Australia. But as for me, I’m gonna figure something out and do it. Sounds very concrete, no?
And what are my impressions of NZ so far? It’s beautiful. The car rides are never boring as you can always look out the window to some of the most beautiful country side you could imagine. Lord of the Rings was filmed here and I can see why. Incredible beaches, incredible country side, tons of stuff to do, and really friendly people (probably even more so than Argentina!). Although I am spending lots of money, I am enjoying it and from what I hear, the best is yet to come (The South Island is supposed to be even better). I am starting to get used to the slang used here and I guess it helps that I have spent the past few days with Kat and Simon, who are both English. After a while, you find yourself using words like “Reckon'”, “boot” (for trunk of the car), “bit”, “bloke” and a few probably not suitable to write. Sometimes the accent is kind of hard to understand but you get better at it after a while (“Okay, for the fourth time, what the hell did you just say??”). I also am still resisting the urge to say “Gracias” after I buy something or say “perdon” when I bump into someone. Old habits die hard.
Anyways, wish me luck!