Yesterday morning we woke up starving. We had spent the night out making friends with some Brits at the local pub and had forgotten all about dinner. We still have been waking up relatively early, around 5:30 or 6:00 which is nice because we get all the facilities to ourselves and we didn’t have to be embarrassed Americans woofing down mince meat pies and an entire bag of mashed potatoes for breakfast.
Around 8 or so we took off for a walk on the beach. The tide was low so we were able to actually make the walk we had struggled to do earlier. The beach here in Paihia is absolutely littered with shells. They pile high in the corners and crunch under your feet. Even as the tide rolls in you can hear them crackle on top of each other. We managed to find some perfectly intact ones. Unfortunately all the clams had been robbed of their pearls so no quick cash there.
Our beach stroll led us to the start of our first ever tramping session, Haruru Falls. It was only a 5 kilometer walk but it took us quite a bit longer than we were expecting. We had packed peanut butter and jelly again to lunch at the falls but by the time we got there we were falling over in hunger. I got to give it to Alex though. He didn’t start complaining until like an hour in. He’s getting better! Despite the length, the walk was magnificent, especially through the mangroves which I had never seen before. They built up a big boardwalk so that you can walk right through it. It is kind of muddy and dirty looking but still pretty fascinating. The scenery on the walk dramatically changed from jungle, to mangrove, to giant ferns. The least interesting part was actually the falls. They kind of looked like a dirty little Niagara.
After our adventure we headed back to the hostel to watch movies with the other guests and cook our chicken tacos. New Zealand does NOT have good Mexican spices or sauces but at least it wasn’t peanut butter and jelly! The kitchen has three separate cooking areas and all were being used by different people cooking wildly different things from our tacos to a weird pasta and egg dish to grilled chicken with jelly. As all of our wafting cooking smells joined together to produce something mildly repulsive I thought about how different life looked one month ago. There is this feeling of absolute freedom that gives an adrenaline rush like none I’ve ever experienced. We are fortunate enough that we could probably travel for another three weeks without finding jobs if we want to, so tomorrow we can literally do anything we want. In the common area there is a bulletin board where locals can throw up work opportunities. Someone has put up a flyer saying he is sailing to Vanuatu and Fiji and would like some people to fill out his crew. And that could be us. I mean I get crazy sick on boats and it would probably be awful but that is the only actual thing holding us back from sailing away to an island I know nothing about. I think that this feeling is one that few get to experience and for that I feel really blessed that we are in this situation.
Anyways, we are doing nothing at all today so there won’t be much to report until we head to Rotorua tomorrow. We love you all!