Been fairly calm the past couple weeks. Canoe Club activities a couple weekends ago were a bit thwarted by the rainy weather. I went kayaking with them on Saturday, March 5, on the Puhoi River. Began down pouring the second I pushed off from the dock, but that didn’t matter much after I managed to flip my kayak over. I am quite good at zig zagging, so a few more hours of practice will be needed.
This past weekend, I took a bus down to Tauranga and visited a very nice couple from Michigan. The wife, Megan, actually grew up here in New Zealand (Tauranga specifically) and met her husband, Tom (from Holland, MI) while he was traveling in the country. They have moved back to NZ for roughly five months. I had the pleasure of meeting them back in January because they live a couple houses down from Justin’s parents. They graciously offered to host me during my stay here and have been very helpful in making travel suggestions. Friday night I was treated to a delicious dinner of snapper fish that Tom had caught earlier in the week and Megan prepared with a bread crumb and spices mix her mom had created. The best meal I’ve had since being here. Saturday, Tom took me to Mt. Maunganui where we hiked to the top. It only took an hour, but provided a beautiful view of Tauranga. We had intentions of going to the beach, but the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan had New Zealand under a tsunami advisory causing the beaches to be closed. My understanding is that the north tip of the North Island saw slightly higher waves, but there was no damage. The entire time I’ve been here, the coverage on natural disasters has been nonstop, given the earthquake in Christchurch and now Japan. But even though NZ is a small country, the people are still standing strong together and quick to assist all those in need.
Saturday evening, we went to Megan’s parents house that is situated on a kiwi fruit farm. Her dad gave me a tour around and explained the different kinds of kiwis and the picking process that will happen in May/June. We then had a dinner of beef (from a cow raised on their farm), potatoes, green beans, and kumara (NZ’s sweet potato). Sunday started with breakfast at a local café and a driven tour around Tauranga. Then I hopped on the bus back to Auckland.
Nothing too big planned for during the week. This Saturday, I’m going to a college rugby game. It’s the Auckland Uni Blues vs. Wellington’s Hurricanes. While I am not exactly a sports fan, seeing a rugby game is a must since it seems to hold as much (if not more) importance to Kiwis as football in America. Then on Sunday, I am going canyoning in the Waitakere ranges (www.canyonz.co.nz if you’re unfamiliar with the activity as I was until a few weeks ago).
Until then, I’m curious to see what insanity will happen in the city on Thursday for St. Patrick’s day. Kiwis sure do know how to party on any normal night, but a night strictly set aside for drinking will likely be a memorable one.