Monday, February 27, 2012

back to school, back to school

Here, it is the first day of Fall semester–aka lots of freshies running around all nervous.  I only had 1 class today. Geography. It was a joke. But, I loved it! Teachers go by their first names. People aren't so competitive. This place is great!

And nothing like starting off the school year with some beach time after school! 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

beer fest 2k12

This weekend, a group of us decided to take a shot at a beer and music festival in Christchurch.  So, 5 of us loaded up into a Nakedbus and headed up north to escape the rain and clouds in Dunedin.  The Naked Bus comes right to campus; we hopped on there and rode 6 hours up the coast to Christchurch. Stopped, quickly, for tea along the way and just enjoyed the beautiful countryside that New Zealand has to offer. 

We got in after dark and spent the first night at Drifters backpackers–a lovely, homey place.

Then woke up early to check in at the next hostel and head over to the park for the festival. We walked through the Botanical Gardens on the way. They were quite beautiful!

Lindsey and I made some old friends
The music line up included Bret McKenzie(from Flight of the Concord)'s band {he wasn't actually there because he was "in the hospital..." but we came home to find a newspaper article with picture of him at the Oscars!}: The Black Seeds. {go check em out!} And what could be better than beer tasting and basking in the sun listening to good ole music?!

Lindsey and me
Spent another night in Christchurch before heading back to Dunedin on Sunday. 

Here's a black seeds song to give you an idea of what they're like:

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Went canyoning today. Had the best time! Supposedly there are pictures to come {they're pretty ridiculous}. 

A fun kiwi guy, Tony, picked us up from the hotel and we embarked on a drive to the western side. The drive was so beautiful! Filled with laughter, per usual. The road zigzagged up and down hills, and Tony cruised them as if we were on a track.  Oh, what I would give to have a house on one of these hillsides overlooking the lush forest and sea..

piha beach down below
 About an hour later, we made it down to the other side of the island. Got outfitted with stinky 5 mm wetsuits, booties, and helmets. Oh yea, we looked good. 

For the next few hours, we hiked up a path and treacherous stairs {ugh} to the top of the falls. This place was dammed years ago for logging purposes. When the dams were released, the heavy water washed out all the really, really large trees :(  But anyways, from the top we began the long haul back down to the bottom. This time, via the falls and rocks–not the dirt path. 

Rappelled down cliff-sides and waterfalls. Sang "Waterfalls" all too much. Took glamor shots in our fashionable wetsuits and helmets. Tried to figure out how to work a GoPro.  Climbed over and under rocks and tree trunks. Saw an eel in water where we were just swimming. Jumped off rocks. Oh, it was just a giant playground! The guides must love their jobs. 

a bunch of starvin marvin's
After a much needed lunch, we ventured over to Piha beach: home of Lion Rock, black sand, and strong riptides. Walked around on the hot sand for a bit. Saw a lot of surfer bums. And soaked up the beautiful day it turned out to be!

Our van ride home proved to be just as fun. Erin and I sat in the front of the van. Full-on action. Chatted with Tony. He's super, super cool–works on movie sets; has traveled the world; is a bit of a renaissance man. 

We got back in time for some exploring of Auckland.

real life frogger

family photo

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

finally in nz

Woke up at 5 to fly to Auckland only to arrive at the airport and find that our flight was delayed til 1 pm. ugh. We sat and talked and ate. 

Hung out with Lindsey (who's going to otago too) most of the time. I really, really enjoy her. 

Sat next to an obese Fijian woman on the plane. She was really nice but just so damn fat. Fell right asleep–per usual. Another meal on the plane. Again, I love flying on international planes! They even gave us organic juice... wow. 

Three hours later, we landed in Auckland. 
Have only been here for a matter of a couple hours but I love it! I think i could easily stay. 

Nice hotel again. On the 13th floor. Katie and I are roommates again. Yay! She got stuck in the elevator as we were tripping over bags to keep the doors open and clearly failed. 

Dinner was at a super cute tapas place. Walked through the hilly, cobblestone walkways. Can't wait to spend more time here! I'm beginning to see why so many people just end up staying here! Ahhh

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

fiji goodbyes

Woke up to Billy asking us to move so they could set up breakfast. We simply moved a few feet and just watched the sea, mesmerized by the waves rolling up the sand. This can't be a real place. 

Spent most of the morning snorkeling. for hours. Crystal clear water this time. Saw a lion fish. And of course I didn't take the camera this time. Ah jeez. 
Jumped off the boat with Chris and George (locals). They're so cute. We laughed and played for forever. Then Erin, Joey, George and I had an underwater dance party. I have no idea how it started butit was so fun.
Swam back to shore in time for one last lunch.  They played music for us again. I freaking love the bass they put together. 
slap a da bass

Seth broke $600. Well done. 
Packed our bags. Exchanged facebook info. Goodbyes are never easy, that's for sure. But at least i'm not going home home just yet.  I'll never for get them. 

they have the biggest feet ever. 

 We all loaded onto the skiffs out to board the ferry back to Nadi. 

Then it was back to Sofitel for one last night before we're off to New Zealand!

Monday, February 13, 2012

fiji village

Awoke to the beat of the drum again. I wish someone would do this for me at home. 
After breakfast, most all of us went to the village back up across the mountain. The path started out the same as yesterday's hike, but then went down and around along the beach. High tide too. Started raining hard again. I can't imagine that kind of commute to and from work every day. 

An hour or so later we finally made it to the village. Us girls covered our knees and shoulders. {all i had for knees were those fish pants we made for dad a long time ago. ridiculous looking.} 

We got a nice walking tour along the sidewalk. 

Sat in on some school classes. 

Gave our $3 donation to the village.  Went to a temporary market where I spent most of my time with these people:

Then walked back to the resort. Luckily, lower tide this time. and no downpours. 

But still quite muddy.

Came back in time for lunch and some more frolicking in the sun! Everyone was tired and hungry.
Laid low this afternoon. Played cards.
Went snorkeling again. –murky this time. But we did see the GIANT clams they've been talking about. They're really huge! and supposedly eat stingrays.

They made dinner underground using the heat of the earth to cook the food. What a feast they  made! 

Watched the beautiful sunset!!

After dinner, they put on a show. Gave me the chills. Some of us up front were invited to join in the song and dance. I had so, so much fun! I'm really going to miss this place and its people. 

But then, the shit show began. Seth's goal was to break $500 on cheap booze. Mission accomplished.
A girl had to be carried off to bed. Was a strange night indeed. But the stars were spectacular!

Some of us slept outside. Dragged our little mattresses and sheets outside and slept in the fresh air. Besides the rats running in the rafters above, it was a beautiful sleep.
Happy Valentine's Day Eve!