Thursday, March 21, 2013

Surfing, Spelunking, and Sleeping, Oh My!


I was aiming to get this out a little earlier in the week, but I've been really busy with schoolwork that I had to get sorted before my next weekend away, which involves rafting a 7 meter falls and mountain biking in an immense forest. And camping, of course. Should be fun. I'm certainly looking forward to it! Now that I'm a little ahead in my classes I can really enjoy myself next week as well.

On to housekeeping: I've been doing my usual surveying of the local cuisine, and I've found a couple more gems; the shiniest being a $6 Thai place really close to my flat, a pancake that tastes like a pierogi, a kiwi donut shop (the cookies and cream one is epic), and some Japanese udon noodles for when I feel like sitting down. I also tried some ridiculously hard outdoor climbing today and continued with my kayak rolling lessons (got the solo roll a few times last night) and yoga classes (makes my back feel really good). I also went to a hilarious comedy night tonight featuring some Auckland comedians and a student competition. All in all, good week, even though I haven't been sleeping a ton. Gotta work on that time management.

On to last weekend, I had the time of my life once again with a trip of firsts with my Arcadia buddies. After waking up in Waitomo Saturday morning, we traveled to the Blackwater Rafting Company, who took us into the famous Ruakuri cave for some friendly blackwater rafting and caving. It was cold, it was wet, it was dark, and I got to wear a wetsuit. The experience was very unique, I can't compare it to anything I've ever done before. As I was drifting through the water, looking at the ceiling illuminated by glow worms, I kinda stopped thinking about school, what I needed to get done, what I wanted to do in the future. I was completely focused on the present, which doesn't happen all that often. It takes something really phenomenal to distract me like that. I hope I can travel the world one day, finding more experiences like my time in the caves last Saturday.

That night, we traveled to Raglan, New Zealand's premiere surf spot. No surfing took place that night, we just hung out with some Swedes in our very secluded hostel in the nearby forest. Lots of ping-pong ensued. I'm really enjoying staying in all of these hostels, because you get to meet so many awesome people from all over the world. It's interesting to hear about everyone's stories.

On Sunday morning, I couldn't say I was looking forward to my time in the ocean. It was switching between heavy rain and a drizzle, and the air was kinda chilly. This was short-lived, because as soon as the wetsuit went on again I was super warm (this one was much better than the one I went spelunking in). I had never been surfing prior to this, so I wasn't expecting to do so hot, but I was able to stand up multiple times and ride waves all the way to the shore multiple times (granted, these were oversized, floaty surfboards that stayed on the surface of the water pretty easily). I'm not sure if I'll get in to surfing back home like I will with kayaking, but I would like to do it again, preferably on a real surfboard. Once again, the new experience was one I'll never forget.

I guess the takeaway from all of this is that my weekends are always really fun. It gets tiring, working on plans every week, but it makes the trips all the more sweeter. Speaking of sweets, I ate three bags of pineapple lumps this weekend. I'm not even going to bother explaining what they are, the mere description will start salivation in the driest of mouths. Speaking of mouths, I put three savory pies down (Steak and Cheese, Chicken and Veges, Mince and Cheese) after surfing Sunday, and the woman at the bakery gave me a discount because she didn't think I could finish it (I then fell asleep in the car in minutes for the whole ride home, and when I got home, I took yet another nap. I really needed some serious sleep after that trip). Speaking of finishing things, that's the end of this post. :)

See you next week!


Neat waterfall we stopped by on the way to Raglan

I like taking photos of flowers

One of my favorite pictures I've ever taken; just after the illegal trampolining

RITchie's always with me, looking for the perfect photo-op

My 'sister' Jess!

Our group, excited to get in a dark hole

Our group, excited to be out of the dark hole

Our group, before realizing what we got ourselves into

The entrance to Ruakuri Cave (Den of Dogs)

Making sure our butts worked

The light at the end of the tunnel!

Standing up! (Bianca D'Alessio)

Riding out the wave (Bianca)

Pure bliss at the hostel (Bianca)

Lookin' Fierce and Hangin' Loose (Bianca)

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