After far too many days the road trip began. Unfortunately it wasn't that simple getting to that point. Sarah was to move out of her house in three days and those closest to her (I guess me?) were sucked in to help. Three crappy years of acquiring junk between her boyfriend (ex) and herself was not that easy to eliminate. If it were me, as I repeated (naturally), I would've just thrown all of the shit away and pack up a suitcase. Why bask in the miserable past? Either way, her gorgeous friendsand I cleaned it to perfection (meanwhile Sarah is on her phone...surprise, surprise). The previous two weeks I was accompanied in the house by a lovely South African girl named Andrea who was really a godsend in helping out and keeping some of Sarah's rants at bay. When we (Andrea, Marika, and Traci) finished the house, we were finally on the road to Whangarei (pronounced fang-array).
This road trip consisted of four women: Sarah, Marika, Jillian, and myself. We all get along well so I knew it'd be a great time with everyone. I haven't said much about Marika, but let me tell you about her. She's a hilarious chick from Yorkshire, England. Funny enough she has never made Yorkshire pudding, however she does have the recipe (and will be making it for me on command). She really is an exceptional person. Loads of laughs and much younger than her age. She's a psychiatric nurse, which is how Sarah knows her (Sarah is an occupational therapist at the hospital), and has been living in NZ for a year. Back to the road trip...we packed in the car and drove north to Whangarei where we'd be staying with Sarah's mum. What was supposed to be a lovely holiday turned into an interesting series of events.
We arrived at the house. Lush and set back in the bush. Beautifully constructed and decorated. Filipa (her mum) was nice at first. The only warning we had was her inability to stop talking. I figured between four women that would be no problem. We could take shifts talking and listening. That was the least of our worries. This woman spent the majority of our stay there hounding us about the amount of water and electricity we were using. It wasn't long before we chose to move houses and ended up in a far more comfortable environment near Mt. Manganui. This house was pretty quiet with the only tenant being Shane, a childhood friend who has Asperger's...but was a bit more social than expected. We had a hell of a few days there. Touring around the North Island with a local would've been great, had this local actually known the spots where she were taking us. A lot of the spots were beautiful, don't get me wrong, but she hadn't been there in 10 years. Some of the tramps we went on were blocked, and it was strange to see her reactions (Sarah's) when she realized they weren't as concrete as her childhood memories.
The most wonderful thing about the Northern North Island were the secluded, perfect beaches around every cove. it was funny that the only problem we had with these beaches was which to choose from. You're walking down a tree-covered path, come around a switchback and then see this breathtaking beach like something out of a movie. One of the beaches we went to, Ocean Beach, had a lot of surfers (and hardly surf) and a steep hike to a cove. If you hiked past the cove you could get into the lush of the forest and get amazing views. It was a challenging, beautiful, and endless hike that the girls weren't too fond of after the first two hours. Jillian and I, of course, tramped ahead and stumbled upon an epic lookout. The other girls were so fixated on getting out of there they missed it. And so it goes that one person's ideal holiday is completely different than the next.
After much beaching and topless sunbathing we made our way down to Wellington. Now, I had practiced driving previously just for the trip, but I hadn't really expected to drive over 10 hours on windy roads in shitty weather. I'm not sure if it was my pride or being in control that kept me in the driver's seat, but I drove the entire way there. When we finally got into Wellington we crashed with a friend named Mithun (mih-toon).
The next day we wandered around the city and into various shops, playing tourist. That night we went out on the town to drink and dance. At first Jillian and I went to this Irish pub to get a $9 Guiness (dear GOD!) and crash a hen party (bachelorette party). From there we met up with the rest of the gang and went to Boogie Wonderland, probably the most fabulous disco pop club EVER! It was a blast from the past and I'm not even sure how long we were there, it was like eating magic mushrooms...time just elapsed! When we finally left we went to another club where I received oodles of free Patron shots and danced the night way. Or at least into oblivion, which is where I was at when we finally left there. If I had any money I'm sure I would've bought some Subway, but I was so damn stubborn that I stumbled back to the apartment, shit-faced. No worries, I slept like a baby ;)
The next day we find out we are being ditched by Sarah. She's had a breakdown, can't be around us, and we are left to sort out ourselves. This is going off of the fact that we ALL were supposed to go to the South Island together. We all make our decisions and mine is to continue onto the South Island with Jillian. I'd be an idiot to come this far and not go there. It's only three hours by ferry. And that's how my decision making has come to be...effortless and on the whim.
Final take on Wellington: completely walkable, likeable, edible, and friendly. Probably my most favorite city. It has something for everyone.