Monday, December 24, 2012

But wait! There's more!

I've made my home in beautiful Taupo for the next few months.
I have a job at Taste cafe in the town center. The cafe patio is across the street from the lake. The view is a huge perk!
I'm so lucky to have found a job so quickly! Digging the paycheck.
I stayed my first few nights in Taupo at the campgrounds here. I really liked this one spot on the side of the Huka falls river.
Waikato River from the campsite

Waikato River

And it was free, so appealing to my cheap side.
Visitors at my campsite. Guess I'm a messy eater. They were feasting on my crumbs.

I also found a place to live! Not bad for only being in town 5 days, eh?
My new place is awesome. The rooms are huge. It's a great, big, open house. I've met 3 outta 4 of my flatmates and they're all very nice.
It's so nice to have my things unpacked and have wifi, hot showers and a washing machine.
But wait...there's more....
I didn't think ANYTHING could be better then having a kitchen to cook in...but this definitely trumps that.
View from the living area and deck of my place 

And a few minutes later....Beaut sunset on Lake Taupo

The views from the backyard and the 2 decks overlook Lake Taupo and Mt Ruapeho, when it's clear.
I believe I'll be drinking many early morning coffees from this deck.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Travelling to Taupo

So last I lefts ya....
I was leaving Devonport for newer locales.
I got to Raglan Saturday and stayed 4 days. I really liked the town, it was smallish with a very surf/local feel.
Now that's a black sand beach!

Apparently, I was swimming with friends...
Lazy beach day

Not for these guys! 2 dozen kite surfers where the river and ocean met. I WILL kite surf. 

I stayed at the holiday park and spent most of my time walking around on the beach, with the exception of one day when it rained most of the time.
Using my $5 fishing sunglasses to depolarize. 

You can drive on all the beaches here. I want my truck!

Raglan Beach

The park is situated on a little isthmus with the beach on one half and a river on the other. There's also a little airport next to it. Where I saw this guy takeoff.
I WILL do this. I will fly. 

I had a very chill time there, but my funds are running low and I need something constructive to do with my days. I'm too much trouble with all this free time...
Sunset on Raglan beach

I feel like I owe someone beautiful sunsets. I have a surplus. 

So I ran down to Waitomo Caves and handed out some resumes but unfortunately most people had finished hiring for the summer/peak season.
I was feeling some pressure to be gainfully employed. Like yesterday.
So I didn't sight-see, mosey, explore, or nothin'.
I took off like a girl on a mission. Drove into central north island and checked into the holiday park at Taupo. I passed through it on my way north from Queenstown. Taupo's a pretty large place, I figured I could find work here no problem. In fact, I was thinking of it as my safety, a huge town and centrally located for exploring. A place I could spend the next few months.
I walked around the town center and looked in all the windows for a help wanted sign. I saw 2. One for an "experienced barista" another for the Pita Pit. Basically a fast food joint. The Subway of pitas. Im not quite ready to work fast food. I'd hoped I closed that door 15 years ago.
Oh, and one clothing store, ugh, and they told me to bring in my résumé.
I have no retail, customer service, food service experience to speak of.
Oh, dejection!
I was feeling desperate! I almost applied for the university tech job in the carbon-dating lab in Hamilton... Noooooooooooooooooooo.............

I'm not gonna lie, that night I was worried about my ability to find work.
"This might be harder then I thought!" thinks me. After all, I'd been looking for a whopping 24 hours!
Next day I decided to stop being a naysayer, think positive and start pounding the pavement.
This time with feeling!
I walked around for a few hours in the morning and just asked half the bars/cafes/restaurants if they were hiring. Then when they asked me for a resume....I totally Kenobi'd them!
"These aren't the droids you're looking for"

I said "sure, I got a CV. But you don't need it because even though I have zero experience, it's only because my last job was so technical and specialized. So all you need to do is give me a try and see how awesomely mindblowingly great I do "x" job for you."
I started work at the Taste cafe the next day. I should be grabbing some shifts at the bar next door starting in January. Ungh!
I celebrated by walking along this gorgeous river

Huka Falls walkway

Jet boating! Sweeeeeeet

to the Huka falls.
Huka Falls

The next day after work, I walked along lake Taupo (trying to shed some lbs and enjoy the scenery to boot)
Lake Taupo

Today, I think I lined up a place to live for the next few months.
Shame on me for doubting. *wrist slap*
My wifi here is dark ages style, so pics tomorrow.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

So long sucka....

I've been in Devonport for a month.
Sleeping in my car at the ferry terminal.
As far as parking lots go, it had a pretty decent view.
Auckland skyline from Devonport

And you can't beat the price....
But my Navy friends left to go back to Canadia. And I'm very eager to start my travels again and continue my NZ exploring.
Fantastic peeps. Canucks rock! NZ ain't the same without 'em.

It's funny. I was getting comfortable in Devonport, despite my restlessness. But people really do make the place. And with my new friends gone, Devonport seems....well, empty.
I had a great time there, lots of fun and memories. Now, I am so excited to drive south to Raglan today.
Plus, my sedentary lifestyle really let me pack on the lb's. Time to get moving.
All that hard labor at the vineyard! Down the drain. I need to work and workout!
Catch you later Auckland harbor.
Auckland harbor from my parking lot

See you again, Patriot! Best damn pub! Your chips and Boddingtons made me fluffy. *fist shake*
Car bomb on the upper patio at the Patriot

Goodbye, Mt Vic and North Head.
Looking east from Mt Vic onto Devonport, Auckland harbor and North Head

So long, Stone Oven, and their awesome staff, you were my home away from car.

Peace out, awesome banyan tree that lives next to the library - a.k.a. my free wi-fi and private commode.

I met lots of wonderful people and had a great time! More adventures (and a diet) to come.
Oh, and I received this.
It was blessed

Isn't it beautiful?
It's a gift from the incredibly nice and generous and all around awesome Peor, Commissionaire at the navy base.
It's a whopper too. So sweet.

Meeting wonderful people seems to be my good fortune here in NZ....

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sedentary Life

So it's been a while since I've blogged.
I've spent the last few weeks hanging out in Auckland and Devonport. Just chilling and socializing. It's been fun.
I celebrated Heidi at my favorite (pretty much the only) local pub in Devonport. It's called the Patriot, it's awesome, and I've spent entirely too much time and money there. I even got a Washington Apple in her honor. I had to take the ferry to Auckland and give the bartender directions but it was totally worth it. Can't break tradition.
An Irish car bomb for the Bisquit 

The day after my birthday I went back to Muriwai beach to go surfing. Once again I contended with big boy waves and got a good shit kicking from the ocean.
Messy waves at Muriwai

 But it was tons of fun and I really had a great time. I decided to go surfing as much as possible while based in Devonport.
My next surf safari took me to Piha.

The online surf report said 4-6ft swells.  Sounded perfect.
As I arrived an ambulance was leaving, with an injured surfer.
Apparently, I was interpreting the surf reports incorrectly. The waves were utter monsters. Piha beach is where a reality surf rescue tv show is filmed. That shoulda been my first clue....
Surf rescue zode at Piha

So....there was no way I was going surfing at Piha. Lucky for me, it was a gorgeous day and Piha is a beautiful beach, so I spent a couple hours walking along it.
Piha Beach

A few days later, I returned to Muriwai and to the perfect conditions. Big, rideable, rollers. Best conditions yet. I was able to catch wave after wave. I didn't have a single near drowning experience the entire time lol! No washing machine tumbles for me!
The rest of my time I've spent walking around and chilling.
I've gone to the corner bar in Auckland for their bomby "cocktail of the week".
I even tried these cool brews at the Occidental.

Ill be leaving Devonport in the next few days and heading south. It's time for me to find a job and see some new sights.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Action weekend

After leaving my American friends in Waiheke I was back to good ol' Devonport.
I woke up at 5am Saturday morning and headed south again.
Destination: Whakatane
Mission: Kill Something
We stayed with Sam's family for the weekend. They were so gracious and fun! It's crazy how hospitable everyone is in NZ!
When we got to Whakatane, the weather was beautiful, so we decided to go out on the ocean and do some fishing.
I've run out of superlatives for the NZ scenery

I had so much fun. It was my first time ocean fishing from a boat.
The beautiful island we anchored by

Who caught who?

One guy dove and grabbed some crayfish, which are NZ lobsters. Then we caught a bunch of mau mau that were schooling around our boat.

I won the bet to land the first one. The loser had to lick my fish from mouth to tail. Man I'm twisted.
That night we feasted on our catch and hung out with Sam's family until about 11pm. Then we went out hunting till 2am.
I will love him, and feed him, and call him George

I shot a possum.
It was the first time I've ever killed anything with a gun.
The possums here are adorable. They are cute, fuzzy, marsupials and I shot one through the heart.
Even though they are pests here, and harmful to all the native plants and wildlife, it still took me some time to decide if I could shoot something I wasn't going to eat.

Early the next morning we were up and headed into the wilderness for a pig hunt. We hiked through a sweltering jungle and up a mountain for about 3 hours.
I never laid eyes on a single pig. All I saw was jungle and a few sweet vistas that showed the valley and ocean below.
The dogs smelled a pig and took off for about 45 minutes chasing it, but none of us could keep up. haha. We had to just sit and wait for the dogs to return. I was pretty happy to take a much needed break from hoofing through thorns and mud and jungle vines.
Happy Hunting

The Kiwis are constantly dropping the c bomb, and they call the backcountry bush. So I had a long laugh at the expletives used to describe the "bush" we were fighting through. It was a great time.

Flashback to my tour in Nam

I was so tired. We got back to the house and I passed out for the rest of the night . I only woke up for about an hour in order to eat dinner.
The next morning we drove to Rotorua. We stopped at a geothermal exhibit called Hells Gate.
No, seriously

Hell's Gate, very cool

It was very cool and made me want to revisit Yellowstone when I get back to the states.
Hell's Gate

We were so beat from the day before that we just walked around town and ate and drank the whole time we were in Rotorua.
The Princess Gate hotel where we stayed in Rotorua

 We found a micro-beer pub called Brew, and I had my first real IPA since Ive left California. Sooooo gooood. Once it hits your lips...
I'll definitely have to go back and do the luge, zorb, and thermal pools.
Black swans at Lake Rotorua

My "Black Swan" impersonation 

Lake Rotorua