Had to be at the airport around 11 which worked out fine because I had to checkout by 10 AM. Finished packing and got my airport shuttle ticket. Stood at the wrong corner for the bus for about 15 mins then figured it out. Caught the next bus and rode to the airport. I was the only one on the bus who was flying internationally. Had to wait for quite a while to get through baggage check. My luggage was overweight but it was packed so precisely and tightly I couldn’t rearrange anything! It was all good though because they didn’t end up charging me for it. I got to the airport super early so they didn’t have a gate for my flight yet, so I decided to get some lunch while I waited. Watched a crap soccer game, then watched the beginning of a good one. Finally had a gate, so I put my journal away and walked to my gate. Curled up with Jane Austen and waited for my seat to be called. It ended up being a different seat than the window seat I originally had. I didn’t mind until after dinner, when I had a lady falling asleep on my left and a very fidgety sleeping man on my right. I didn’t get any sleep on that whole flight. Watched a lot of movies and made a playlist that I didn’t end up listening to. Lol. Got my bags in LA and then took them through customs and then dropped them off again. Once I got through security which is way more complex than NZ, I got some coffee and waited for my flight to Chicago. Laid on my stomach behind a pillar to stretch out my back and read Jane Austen some more. Boarded and got a window seat this time just behind the wing. It was a decent seat but I still couldn’t sleep. Didn’t finish Jane yet but I was really close. I couldn’t read any more when the captain said we were beginning our decent to Chicago. I got really excited and couldn’t sit still anymore! Lol. I couldn’t wait to see my brother and mom! They got there just as the bags were coming around! Matthew tackled me and I couldn’t let go of mum! LOL. I was so happy to see them again! Long car ride home, but mum fed me and then I fell asleep after dinner. Winter storm made the drive longer. Got home and slept, and slept, and slept. I slept for the whole next week. A sinus infection, cold, and jet lag combo was just awesome! :/ I’m happy to be home and seeing people at school again, but I miss my friends in AUS and the warm sunshine! Love you guys!
This will be my last post on my adventures overseas. If any school adventures come up I'll see what I can do about updating this. I hope I haven't bored you and have given enough detail to let you know what I've been up to!
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Woke up at 6:30 for some weird as reason. So I rolled for a bit then decided to watch the rest of season 2 NCIS. Troy came to take me to the main road around 10:30. Mikey Mike picked me up in the Magic Shuttle. We stopped @ Kauri Kingdom but I only had moneys enough for tea. Did handstands in the garden per the request of Mike. Got back to Auckland around 3 pm. Checked into Nomads and who should I find but my German friend, Stefan! Sweet As! Haha, we decided to drop our stuff and go souvenir shopping. Shop after shop, park, doll display, dinner, “just around the corner” beach, and walk by the harbour. Yummy gelato was of course involved! Packed and tried to sleep, rather hard with this hay fever/cold though. But I’m going home tomorrow!!!! :D
Woke up before my alarm again. Have a stuffy nose, so it’s hard to sleep. Had some tea and toast for brekky and just sat by the kitchen window and took in the lovely view. I read 3 cups of tea for a while then decided to reorganise and pack. Bill came and got me a little after 1. Said goodbye to John and hopped in the van with my life. Lol. It was about 25 min drive to the Waipoa forest visitors centre. I got a double cabin room, with beds like boards and a mini kitchen. I had several hours before I was to be picked up for my Kiwi walk. So I grabbed my water and camera and started exploring. Found some horses in the meadow behind my cabin, but the best find of the day was the rock in the middle of the river. I spent a good part of an hour sitting on my rock meditating. =) Then I climbed a bit and took more pics. I was tired and feeling worse than ever at this point so I went back to my cabin and watched a movie. Finished just in time for my walk. Jane took me (I was the only one) out to a field and taught me how to weave the flax (Harakeke) plant. The Maori used these for dif baskets, gifts, and toys. It was really cool, she said I should have been born a Maori girl. Lol. Then she took me up th hil and talked about the Kauri forests (only 4% left) and the Kiwis. It was really neat. I feel like I’ve learned more about theMaori in 18 days then I did about the AUS Aboriginals in 6 months! Jane drove me back to my cabin because she was concerned about my sniffles after we were done. Watched NCIS til I fell asleep.
Today I slept in until 9 just because John said I should sleep as I wish, and eat as I wish because I’m on holiday. Had some juice for brekky and then got ready to go sandboarding! Mike the lodge owner ended up taking me down to the dock. Boarded the boat that would take us across the harbour to the dunes, and we got a brief lesson on the way over and were then let loose on the beach. Went down a few times then decided to walk/explore a bit. The sand looked like it could go on forever and the water was so clear and blue! Came back and boarded again. On my last go I grabbed the stray board the people left before us and boarded all the way into the water! Sweet as! Laid on the beach until the boat came back to get us. Did a bit of grocery shopping and then Jamie took me back. At lunch then showered, and wrote for a while. Expecting a chill night. Reading and relaxing the rest of the day. Picked up Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. Read a bit in the hammock but fell asleep to the sound of the waves.
Hopped on the Magic bus at 8 AM. Had a new driver in training so had to bear with her. Mike was still there and took over the driving after a short while. Dropped some people off and picked one up and then went to brekky. Said goodbye to my new friends and Sue (the new driver took me to Globe Trekkers Lodge back in Omapere in Hokianga Harbour.) I had to drag my luggage up the gravel hill to get to the lodge but lucky for me the owner saw me and came out to help! Got settled pretty quickly. Magic was supposed to arrange my whole tour but they didn’t so Mike (the lodge owner) did. Jamie was coming to pick me up for my included pizza at 4:15 and from there I would go on the Footprints Twilight Walk. The first thing I did was walk a half k to the left to try and buy groceries. The only thing they had a the gas station were chips and lollies. So I dealt for the day and ate that pizza! Wet to the beach and walked for a bit. Then I decided to stow my stuff in a tree and go for a bit of a run. It was lovely to feel my heart beating again! Tried to lay out for a bit but the sand fleas were terrible so I just kept walking. Got back in time to change and get ready for my twilight walk. My Hawaiian pizza was delicious and the bartender gave me water with a squirt of lime! Bill the guide for Footprints came to the Opiana Hotel to pick me up for the walk. He is really cool and knows so much about Maori culture and history! (Duh, he is Maori and grew up the traditional way! Lol) Picked up a couple witha baby and me another couple at the beginning of the trail. I can’t even begin to describe this walk. It was so simply wonderful and spiritual, I could feel the energy of the Kauri forest. We met the four sisters and Te Mahate Nguahai, the father of the forest, on this part of the tour plus a surprise tree. The four sisters are 4 separate Kauri trees that look like one tree. We also saw many plants the Maori use for healing. The tea tree (Captain cook and sailors named it), the tut plant (heals broken ribs! Where was this 2 months ago?), and a couple of others. The father of the forest is a 4,000 year old tree that was the inspiration for the walking talking tree in Lord of the Rings. He was too majestic, I can’t even describe the feeling. Bill said a Maori prayer before we got there and sang a song. We all had a moment of silence in honour of the great Kauri father. So beautiful. I got goose bumps and could feel the electricity in the surprise tree on our way back from visiting the father. Tane Mahuta was the 2000 year old Kauri tree that was the point of the triangle. This lord of the forest is the largest known Kauri tree in the world. Here we burned some Kauri gum and smelled its wonderous smokey incense. Lol. Here our wonderful journey ended but not without prayer and song from Bill. Before he took us back to our lodgings we stopped and had a look at Hokianga Harbour under the cover of stars. Beautiful. Went to bed straight away as soon as I got back.
Slept in until 9 just because for once I could, had rice and beans for brekky. Then I wandered around looking for Siobhan, Joanne, and Verona. Found them packing boxes to ship home so they could shop in Melbourne! Haha! Hung out for a bit, then decided to go read by the pool until they were finished with their errands. Twas lovely in the shade. =) Went for a walk with Jo and Stefan to the Super 7 and then back to the pool until the girls were ready for the coastal track walk up to the Waingari Treaty Grounds where the Maori and the English made peace. Had a nice talk with Stefan. Met the girls at the Post Shop, had to wait a bit but that was fine. The girls wanted some hot chips before we left so we sat and ate with them. Now we were ready to walk! Walked the beach a ways then had to cross a bridge to some rocks. When crossing the bridge we saw some crew members practising in the harbour. They “docked” when we were just walking by and the other crew was already there so they posed for us girls, haha! Once we got through the rocks and around the hote we made it onto the treaty grounds. We saw the giant wakas (canoes) ad the building where the peace treaty was signed. Stefan and I walked a bit farther but the girls went back. The views of te bay were beautiful! Decided there wasn’t much more than a golf course to see so we went back and had a late lunch. 10 ks makes you awful hungry! Got some ice cream and went to the beach, swam a bit with Elise. It was so cold! Didn’t stay very long because the air wasn’t super warm either and the sun wasn’t coming back out. Showered, dinner, money! It finally came through! I got my passport back! Then watched Minority Report with Stefan and my roommate, Bridget. Read a bit then called it a night.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Woke up tired as, but I figured I could sleep on the bus, wrong! The guide kept talking and talking! I he stopped it was only for abou 5 mins. Long enough to doze off only to be awakened again. Phooey! =( We stopped at the Puketi Kauri (cody) forest and had a walk about the amazing kauri trees. Sotpped at a bakery for brekky and to get lunch, card still wasn’t working but people were really nice and shared with me. We drove by Awanui, “big river” as a joke he told us to get our cameras ready. After that I was waiting to see the “little river.” Lol. Then we had a nice drive up to Cape Reinga, the departing place of the Maori spirits. This is one of five places in the world where you can see two oceans meet! Sweet as bro! Stefan, Kate and I climbed to the top of the hill to see the view a bit better. The Tasman Sea to the left (west) and the Pacific Ocean to the right (east). It was the coolest thing ever! We then walked down to the lighthouse and had a squint. We culdn’t stay too long because the bus had other places to take us. We had lunch at this cute park/beach down the road. Then we headed to the Great Gold Sand Dunes for a bit of sand boarding! Rob the driver had to take the bus through the quick sand stream. It was cool because the bus was specially designed to drive on the beach and through the stream. Aluminium frame instead of steel, big engne at the front, and a special chasse at the back. We parked next to the dunes and all got out. We started looking at the smaller dunes where there were already people, but Rob said no, no we are going down that one, pointing to the 85 metre dune. Sweet as bro! It was a rough climb up, but the view at the top was breathtaking! Stefan and I swapped places taking photos of each other going down. It was the coolest ride ever! The boards are just like boogy boards and you go flying down the dunes on your tummy! I forgot to keep my mouth closed! Crunchy! After everyone had a go, including Rob, we took the bus down 90 Mile Beach. Its not actually 90 miles. The story is that the farmers took their sheep and cattle down the beach to get them to the trade fair. It took them 3 days and so they reckoned they did 30 miles a day. So the name came about. The beach is 90 ks though ironically enough. We drove about 70k of it. It is considered a national highway! 100kph And we took pics of the fish eye rock. Another Maori story is that NZ is a big fish with hook. After we left the beach we headed to the Ancient Kauri Kingdom where they sell items made from the Kauri tree that had fallen 1000s of years ago and dug up. No Kauri trees are ever cut down anymore. After we checked that out we headed down to Mangonui (big shark) for the best fish and chips I have ever had! (snapper) Then we headed back to Paihia. That was one of the best day trips ever! Lol. Tried the ATM again to no avail. =( So made some rice and beans for dinner and watched Notting Hill with everyone there. I was completely nackered, so I grabbed my book and went to bed a bit after that.