We’re Going Bush Mate!

November 2008

Woah bro, where do I begin. I am now back in Paihia, and I am having the time of my life. IIMG_0195 have been back for about 3 weeks now and it just keeps getting better. The weather is still getting warmer as summer hits and the place is really picking up more and more as it is a big summer tourist spot. I came back to the warmest welcome, validating my reasons for wanting to return in the first place. Even though I had only told one person I was returning, I came back and even people who I hadn’t met yet knew about my return. I immediately just felt like I was back home. The party began immediately that night, and hasn’t stopped since.

I started my job within a few days of returning, and it’s so much fun. I work at the bar at the Pipi Patch hostel. While most hostel bars are usually filled only with backpackers, the Pipi has local clientele as well because the town is so small there are only a handful of bars. It’s so fun working there, meeting people from all over the world, hanging out with friends and getting pissed, and paid! It’s funny because sometimes people take pictures of me like I’m a tourist attraction or something. I know I’m a backpacker just like them, but to travelers its like hey here’s a picture of my hostel and hey here’s a picture of this person that served me drinks in New Zealand. The lifestyle here gets pretty wearing on the body though, as we literally drink every single night. It’s not because we are alcoholics, there just isn’t much else to do here. But I don’t say that in a bad way, it’s still a freaking awesome town with the best people and the best vibe, but every night you just sort of wait to it seems reasonable to begin drinking. Or you don’t wait. IMG_0587

About two weeks into being back I got tonsillitis though, and it knocked me out hard. I was in so much pain and backpacking alone and living in a hostel it could of have been so miserable, but I am so lucky I have met the friends that I have. I stayed at my friend Bobby’s house for about 4 days. If you have ever stayed in a hostel you know you can’t actually get good sleep there, it’s just impossible. All of my friends would come by and visit me and watch movies with me and make me food, and I was just so thankful to have made such awesome friends so quickly here. I know my mom was happy to know I was being taken care of as well. That’s the kind of stuff that makes me feel like I really have a life here and am not just a tourist anymore.

I still hang out with the people I met when I first went to Paihia, but the group has expanded a bit as well. I hang out a lot with these two girls Kelly and Reagan who are from Wellington. They are cool as hell and allow me to be a little more of the weirdo that I normally am. I mean pretty much all of my friends at home call me weird on a regular basis, but I don’t think anyone here has seen the half of it. It just takes certain people to bring it out in me, and foreigners especially seem to be a little more frightened by it. I figure it’s best to sort of ease them into it, like just slowly start getting weirder and weirder. It might be too much of a shock if I hit them with it all at once. I think I’ll hold off on talking about Megalodons (um only the coolest prehistoric mammal ever, 60 feet of prehistoric terror!), street creds, in-depth analysis of indie hipsters, extreme picnics, etc. etc. My housemates at school (I miss you Flanny’s) signed leases so they had to deal with me, and me with Christine is like a one two shut the fuck up/you are so annoying punch. 

Kelly and Regan work at the juice bar down on the wharf and they live in the bush. “The bush” in New Zealand is pretty much the woods. But because everyone is so intense IMG_0604 IMG_0602about outdoor stuff you hear things like “you going bush?” or “any good bush around there?” But living in the bush also implies you live in a hut. Which they do. They lived with me at first, but then got the juice bar job so they moved into this little shack in the woods owned by their friend’s dad. They don’t have power or plumbing or anything, its just like a roof with a bed, but the view is sick and its so fun to go out there have bonfires and party in the woods. You walk down to the waterfall to pee, and you shower (aka pour creek water on yourself) on this open wood plank where cows and sometimes wandering farmers can watch you. Hard core eh?  One of their neighbors (neighbor means they live in a hut about 5 minutes away) killed a guy because he stole his four-wheeler. He didn’t go to jail. Woah. Stay away from that guys yard.

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Grab Your Carpet Squares Kids, It’s Story Time!

November 2008

I think I have put off getting new blogs up because there are so many things I could write about I get overwhelmed, but it just gets worse the longer I wait. I end up just summarizing things and then it’s not funny or juicy so it’s just like blah blah I did this and you guys are probably like blah blah I don’t care. But I want you to care. I need you to care. Oh baby, oh baby. So grab a carpet square kids, it’s story time!

Recently I went with about 10 friends to a Katchafire concert in Opononi. Katchafire is a
I should mention that Opononi is Tribesmen territory. By this I don’t mean that it is Maori IMG_0565land, I mean it’s Maori gang territory. Maoris are called black here, and some groups of them can be very aggressive towards white people. Regan, Kelly and I tried to grab some food at a takeaway place near the show, and even though it was full with people waiting for food, hanging out in front, and a couple people cooking, they looked at us and told us it was closed. I wasn’t really feeling a gangsta brawl so we just resigned ourselves to the discrimination and left. The concert was absolutely sick though. Dancing at a Reggae show in my opinion may be as fun as trance dancing. And ya’ll know how I love a good trance dance. You just like throw your legs up in the air and sort of rhythmically convulse and I’m not sure how it would look on a video later but at the time its saweeet.

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Now, if the title of this site hasn’t inspired you yet, now is the time where you should get jealous. I’m jealous of myself, and hell, I’m me! Woooaaaaah that’s trippy. I just scored a DREAM job! The bar thing is awesome and super fun but it just covers accommodation, and I’ve been looking for a full time job here. I had a few offers for random things, but I have been holding out for what I really wanted, and I just got it! I am working for an adventure boat called the Excitor. It’s this super extreme boating experience where people get completely suited up break their vertebrae and stuff which makes it awesome because it’s dangerous. I will be down on the wharf every day with all the boats and tourist adventures and I’ll be getting people ready and on and off the boats and doing safety briefings and whatnot. Excitor is a part of the Fullers empire though, which is a company that runs all of the major tourist trips in New Zealand, so I am also a Fullers employee and will be working on sales and marketing with them. It is an awesome company to have gotten in with and I am still in shock that I managed to get this job. IMG_0386

As part of my training, I have to do my “famils”, which basically means I get paid to go on all of the different tourist trips that Fullers offers. I had my first day today, and here’s what that looked like. I went to work, and my boss Ryan took me around and introduced me to people, then he took me down to the pier and sent me off on the Cream Tour. I spent the day on a boat, stopping at various points along the way to watch the dolphins swim and jump all around our boat on its way to different islands. I saw at least 20 dolphins today, and then we went and saw penguins too! Then the skipper was like ok for those of you who want to you can get out in the net and we will basically see how much saltwater you can drink. Then he’s like Shannon you are required to do this as part of your training, so I got in a wetsuit and jumped off the boat with about 10 other brave souls into this net attached to the side of the boat. We held on to the sides of the net, and then the boat took off, basically scooping us all up like fish in theIMG_0659 sea and dragging us along. It was hilarious, and even funnier looking up and seeing the other 100 people on the boat with their cameras just laughing at us as they recorded us holding on for dear life. I went back to the office when the boat returned and my boss was like ok see you tomorrow! Wow, tough day at the office eh? Tomorrow I get to go on the Excitor, which I’m super stoked about. I get to do all of the different tourist adventures, but I’m most excited for the Dolphin Adventures tour later this week, where I get to go out and swim with the dolphins in the wild. Swimming with dolphins at Sea World is one thing, but that is so commercial and manufactured. Swimming with them in the wild keeps a level of danger involved and makes it so much more of an authentic experience. These trips are all pretty expensive, so I hadn’t done any of them yet, but now I get paid to do them! How am I so lucky?! It’s Thanksgiving back home as I am writing this, and all I can say is wow. I have so much to be thankful for.