Paihia, My First New Zealand Home

October 2008

So after I separated from the germans in Russel, I took a ferry over to the tiny island of Paihia. I planned on staying there for the night, then heading back to auckland to start myIMG_0337 straytravel bus tour. I walked towards my hostel room and about 5 people were standing outside of it who all greeted me with excitement and welcome, and within about 2 minutes I had been invited to dinner. One of the welcome crowd happened to be this kid Gareth from whales whom I had met in Auckland, random. The guys left to go fishing, and came back at night having caught two sharks and a big fish which they cooked up for dinner. Here is the kicker, I ate shark! Anyone who knows me knows how big that is for me. and you know what? I didn’t hate it! It was such a fun dinner, sitting outside with about 7 people eating by candlelight (i think it was actually the guys who lit candles) just enjoying the wonderful beachtown atmosphere. My one night plan ended up in me being in Paihia for about a week, it was just too easy to keep staying.

I met some of the coolest people in Paihia, and it is just one of those places that feels like home really quickly. After about 4 days I felt like a local. Anytime I was sitting outside grabbing a bite to eat people would just walk by and say hi and sit down and then anyone they knew would do the same and by the end of a few days I felt like I knew everyone in town. One day after a rough night of drinking, me, Gareth, and another roomate Al (this crazy hippie dude in his mid 30’s I’d guess with hair down to his butt, permanently stoned looking eyes, and a tendancy to bust out his air decks, hold his ear to hear the music in his head and scratch the imaginary records with his free hand) and I headed towards the beach to grab a drink (the only cure) and ended up meeting a canadian girl and two american guys. One of the guys happened to be from about an hour north of my hometown, which was really weird.

We all decided to go kayaking, so we walked over to the beach, bought some beers, rented some kayaks, and headed out on the gorgeous turqouise waters. Gareth had already been kayaking with a local, and showed us to this remote little island that the Maori (the native New Zealand people) consider sacred. We pulled our kayaks up on shore, did IMG_0289a traditional Maori prayer where you touch foreheads and noses with everyone and headed up a small trail between some trees. After about 5 minutes we emerged  from the trees on this small cliff ledge overlooking the water and surrounding islands. The view was breathtaking. After enjoying the view, smoking, drinking, and soaking in how awesome our lives are, we headed back to our hostel to chill out in the hot tub for a while. Rough day huh? After showering up, we reconvened at a local bar down the street to watch some awesome live music, and drink, obviously. Every night at some point or another we ended up at the Pipi Patch bar, which is the bar attached to the hostel we were staying in, but also just a super fun bar that lots of people from town go to. It is also home to Courtney, my dream man. Australian, tall, tan, hot as hell, with blonde dreads and an affinity for tie-dye. He will also be my co-worker soon, as while I was not looking to stay in Paihia for more than a day, I ended up being offered a job as the new bar tender at the Pipi Patch.

The next day I had booked a bus to head up to Cape Reinga, the very top of New

IMG_0307Zealand. Waking up at 6:30 in the morning sucked, but spending the day stopping at random beautiful beaches, flying face first down mountain-sized sand dunes on a body board, and driving through water on a bus down 90 mile beach (the beach is actually considered a main roadway and you can get speeding tickets) was all well worth it.

The days in Paihia all sort of blend together, but one of the days I went to the beach with a few people, and as seems to happen in that town, more people who knew one person or another gathered until about 25 of us were sitting there, taking in the sun while Eats (a local) strummed his guitar for us and we all just enjoyed each other’s company. The bar manager at the Pipi Patch had joined us as well, and it was then that I finally gave in and said I would stay in Paihia, I mean how could I turn down a summer filled with all the great moments of the previous week? I had wanted to get an overview of the country before taking a job anywhere, but I figured it would be stupid to turn down a good offer just because I hadn’t explored all my options. I start in 3 weeks when I come back from my straytravel tour.

I’m off tomorrow on my bus tour, and that is going to be jammed packed with extreme adventures and stories for sure, but it might be a week or so before I update. Oh, and I lost my camera chord, so it may be a while before I get any pictures up. Bummer I know. Kia Ora!

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