Pocahontas ain’t got shit on us

Sunday, Dec 14

The day was pretty uneventful. We were supposed to skydive, but mother nature had other plans. It rained most of the day. So we left our lovely lakefront retreat and made our way on the Stray bus to the Blue Duck Station in Whakahoro National Park (codename: Jurassic Park). On our way we stopped in a hot river and everyone jumped in while it was raining. Changing on the side of the bus on a highway in the rain was fun. Not.

Tonight is party night. Yes, another party night. But we have a free day tomorrow and don’t have to actually get on the bus, so hell yeah, let’s rage. You know it doesn’t take much to convince me. Today we chose our own rooms again, and again I found the best room (read: least amount of beds) and grabbed our favorite British couple to room with us. No 12 bed dorm for this bitch . But seriously, there was a 12 bed room. I would have died. Thankfully Stina and I are cunning and efficient. Two traits most of the people on this bus are in desperate need of. Bless their hearts. So let the party commence.

Our bus driver informed us that it was some Irish chick’s birthday. As if I need a reason to pop a bottle in the woods. Now you are probably thinking, how nice Rory, buying some rando girl a bottle of champs. FALSE. That shit is for me. You are a grown ass woman, buy your own champs. Besides, I think that chick went to bed at like 9pm. Stina and I made it till about 6:30 before we cracked that baby open. Then on to the bottle of Rose. And then the beer. We are halfway to drunksville, but the “party” was just getting started, so we headed over to the main cabin to start the festivities. I use quotation marks there because, as everyone knows, the party don’t start till I walk in. I yelled something like “who’s ready to rage?!” in true California whoo-girl fashion when I reached the group of sad souls nursing their beers. Everyone had the same look on their face: here she goes again. We are known around here as “the American girls”, or “Team America” when we are lumped with the three other Americans on the bus (one of whom is USC boy, who’s name I changed to Ring-a-ding kid – story about him to follow). I’m pretty sure it was my fault we were labeled as the crazy kids, but the rest of my team has not disappointed in helping the stigma stick. One of the American boys backed out and ate everyone’s food. Like, everyone’s. He was quite the pariah the next day. God I think I laughed my ass off for hours. The loud Americans are at it again. While most people are referred to as their country (the Dutch girls, the Frenchies, ect.), Stina and I have formed a different naming convention. We have “face”, which is the Canadian girl with the most severe case of bitchy resting face I have ever seen in my life. It’s bad. We had “Hair”, who was an American chick with the world’s worst haircut. Like when Felicity cut her hair and I died a little inside. We also have “Spaak” who got his name because one of the Frenchies told him he talks like Spaak from Star Trek and I laughed my ass off because is it was true. He calls me Sheldon, because he says I talk like Sheldon from BIg Bang Theory, too fast and he can’t understand me. The insult implied in likening me to a lovable genius must have been lost in translation.

But I digress. Things just get better when we find, in the middle of fucking Jurassic Park, a BEER BONG. Happy Hannukah to me. Most people are clueless as to what one does with a beer bong. I took it upon my myself to teach them, always a slave to bettering and education of others. So selfless of me. Then I broke out my vodka (we are on booze type #4, please keep up people), and thats where things start to get fuzzy. Stina enters a little axe throwing competition with the boys where she holds her own, I must say. Only in NZ do they start you a bonfire let you BYOB, then provide the equipment necessary for axe throwing. Unsupervised. One thing leads to another and Stina and I find ourselves taking shots of whiskey with the American boys. Shocker. Booze #5 – I promise thats where it ends. Now, my brother Brett told me a few days ago that he was giving me 5 days to roll my ankle, and taking the under. He knows me quite well, because tonight I roll my ankle. And I was partying in my sneaks to be careful! But it’s not too bad, just a little sore and I”m up and walking the next day. I spend the rest of the night drunkenly staring at the insane stars out here. Unlike anything I have every seen in my life. Little did I know, this place gets even more beautiful, as we would find out tomorrow, just around the river bend….

Monday, Dec 15

Today I woke up around 9 while pretty much everyone snoozed till about 11. Mother nature is back on our side and it is a beautiful day, hot with the sun out in full ozone-free force. I took advantage of the quiet morning by making myself breakfast and working on my tan. Then it was time for our kayak tour. Now, I use the word “tour” very loosely, because in NZ a tour usually consists of someone providing you with equipment and a few minutes of instructions before pointing you the right direction and saying “go”. See, when no one can sue anyone, no one gives a fuck. And I mean, no fucks given. Seriously, zero fucks given in all of NZ at any given point in time. It’s pretty awesome. So we set off in our kayaks down what was the most beautiful river I have ever seen. Go pro battery died, so we’ll have to wait for the hungry American boy who ate everyone’s shit to send us his before uploading. This is where I decided to name our lovely little two day home Jurassic Park. Because that is exactly what it looked liked. And while kayaking I felt just like Pocahontas. And what is Pocahontas without John Smith? Our “guide” (read: dude who threw our kayaks in the water) was seriously hunky and had fabulous arms. Huge, muscular arms. I told Stina I wanted to grab them. And maybe even bite one. I really did. Probably should have, because it’s not like he could have sued me. It was really funny at the time and we laughed our asses off the entire jet-boat ride back up the river. But now that I’m typing it I think it makes me sound like a predator. So I’ll stop. Anyway, the kayak trip we did down the Whanganui River was a section of what is one of the “9 Great Walks of New Zealand”. Yes, I realize it’s actually not a walk. But Kiwis give zero fuck’s, remember? So if they want to call it a walk, then its a damn walk.

The rest of the day was pretty mellow. We have to be on the bus at 6am to drive to National Park for a 7 hour hike to Mordor (as in Lord of the Rings – we are literally hiking there). It’s another one of the 9 Great Walks. And this one is actually a walk. I do have one funny little story before I wrap this one up. I was outside talking to Ring-a-ding kid (Stina told me to be nice, remember?). And he told me that when we all get back to the States I should come party at his frat house. Yes, that’s right people. 29 year old Rory was invited to a frat party. I about died. I told him that I can’t think of anything I want to do LESS than go to his frat house. I think he thought I was joking. But if I’m being honest, the sorority girl in me did hesitate for a second. But then I figured that their frat party wouldn’t even start until after my bed time, so what’s the point. Oh shit, he literally just asked for our contact info for facebook. If you are reading this, Ring-a-ding, a little self awareness is healthy. Accept it. And if it makes you feel better, I’m sure I’ve been described as the obnoxious American in many people’s blogs the world over.

Tomorrow, the hike from hell (or to hell, I guess) with a sore ankle. Can’t wait.

This is how we roll…

Today is the day I have been waiting for. Many many years of waiting. To go zorbing in New Zealand. And for the record, yes have wanted to zorb since before it was featured on the Amazing Race and the Bachelor. For those of you who don’t know what zorbing is, I suggest you do a quick google search and prepare to add an item to that bucket list. Basically, you get in a giant plastic ball and are either strapped in or jump in with a bunch of water and then you roll down a hill in said ball. And this brings me to the fact that Stina has found the perfect job for me. I was put on this earth to set the travel plan and activities for the Amazing Race. I would kick that job’s ass, since it basically consists of what I already do in life for fun…travel the world finding crazy activities and ways to put my life in danger for a quick adrenaline rush. So if anyone knows an exec over at CBS and could hook a sista up, that would be great. I’ll be expecting their call. Oh actually, make it an email – I don’t have cell service here.

So our plan was to figure out how to catch a ride out to the Agrodome, home of the zorb, (note: it sounds oddly similar to the Agro Crag – from Nickelodeon’s Guts – anyone?) but luckily for us our Stray bus driver had to drop some other kids off at our hostel to catch their Hobbiton tour. So we talked our friend Duoang into going with us and our lovely Stray driver Lego agreed to drive us out there. When we arrived we inquired about the various rides we could do. There is wet, dry, straight track, zig zag track. We were then informed that we could do a wet zorb with three people in what they call the “triple bang” ride. Stina, Duoang and I agreed rather quickly that this would be need to happen. So we stripped down to bathing suits and hopped in the truck up the hill. Our lovely zorb master put some water in our ball and we all threw ourselves through the little hole, head first. We then rolled down the hill, sliding around the ball everywhere in the water, limbs all over the place. I think you could hear Stina laughing her ass off from about a mile away. Oh, and we got it on the go pro. YOU’RE WELCOME.

If you are still wondering why we passed on the Hobbiton tour to go Zorbing you really don’t deserve to even be reading this blog. We each did another wet zorb alone down the zig zag track, which was ridiculous. After each zorb there is a hot tub you can jump in while you wait for your next ride. As if zorbing couldn’t be awesome enough already, it comes with a jacuzzi. I had planned to do just two rides, but how could I leave without at least giving a dry one a try? In the dry zorb, they strap you in, so when the ball rolls, you roll with it, all the way around and upside down. Another excellent morning of absurd fun before noon.

Zorb balls at the top off the hill
Zorb balls at the top off the hill
Stina zorbing down the hill
Stina zorbing down the hill

An then we were back on the bus and off to a cultural night on Maori tribal lands at Kohu Tapu Lodge, which is a pretty awesome lodge on Lake Aniwhenua. We schooled some Germans in volleyball, hit up the lodge bar nice and early for happy hour and had a pretty chill evening. We spent most of our time play the Tui game, which is a beer with trivia questions on the cap. If you get the question wrong, you have to chug the beer down to the bird on the label in one go. If you miss it, you have skull it. Then I ate myself into a very uncomfortable state at the traditional Maori feast called a “Hangi” where they cook the food in the ground. All in all, a very successful day. No wifi for the next few days, so until I’m able to update you, just remember – we are having more fun than you.

Cave day has arrived!

I awoke with a wine hangover headache the size of Australia. I don’t actually remember going to sleep last night, but Stina says I put myself to bed around 12:30. The beauty of old age is knowing when you are too drunk for normal human interaction and can take yourself to bed. I told Stina I was not getting up today. But she is a sneaky one and knew the only way to get me out of bed: remind me I’m going to a cave today. Yes, cave day has finally arrived. For those of you that don’t know and couldn’t already tell, I fucking love caves. You may be wondering what is so exciting about going in a cave. Well, for one, we will be rappelling into it (abseiling, for those of you that want to be a stickler for the correct term). And the way out? Rappelling down waterfalls. What’s better than a cave? A cave with waterfalls in it.

Our bus drops us at the caving office and we are off. First step: wet suits. I’m actually shocked it took a week for our first adventure requiring wetsuits. We get a quick lesson from our guide, who is a cheeky little bastard, as they say here. Our guides make it very clear from the start: if you do something stupid, we will point and laugh at you. These boys do spend most of their days in cave, so I guess they are hard up for entertainment. Little do they know, the Queen of Doingstupidshitville is on their tour. Your lucky day fellas. We didn’t even make it down into the cave before I gave them their first reason to laugh at me. One of the guides informed me that I absolutely reeked of booze. Wine to be exact. Boxed wine if you want to get really specific. He said he could smell me coming from around the corner. Oye. I apologized and thanked him for not reeking of booze as well, since he is responsible for my life and all. To which he replied that he had the good sense to shower the booze stench off before coming to work this morning. Excellent. I shall now put my life in your hands.

It’s then off to the cave! We spend the next three hours abseiling down waterfalls, rock climbing, and crawling through extremely small spaces, all in a cave. We also see lots of glow worms, which is what the area and these caves are known for. All in all, one pretty bad ass morning.

Hanging in the cave in full wet suit and harness glory
Hanging in the cave in full wet suit and harness glory
Stina rapelling down a waterfall in the cave!
Stina rapelling down a waterfall in the cave!

Crawling through a very small hole
Crawling through a very small hole

After this we make our way to Rotorua. The itinerary for the Stray bus was to go to a cultural night and learn traditional Maori (NZ’s version of Native American’s) dancing and singing. And then all sleep in one giant room together. I was hungover and not in the mood for a summer camp experience so we hopped off just outside of Rotoura and took a city bus into town instead. We treated ourselves to a fabulous private room complete with its on kitchen, shower, and – get this – CABLE. We found some fabulous Indian food and and tucked ourselves into bed just in time to catch the new Kardashians. What a great end to a great day. Tomorrow, we Zorb. You will want to read that one.

Endless Summer in Raglan

Today we had the alarm set for 7am to catch our bus to Raglan. I was up at 6:45 because the prospect of getting out of that dorm room was enough to lull even my subconscious out of sleep. Since I’m sure you are dying to know what happened to the girl from yesterday’s blog, hot mess came home at some point during the night. And very quietly. Thank you, hot mess. You surprised me. And you have evaded a hostel STD for one more night.

First stop on the bus: a completely pointless stop at the main Stray bus office to give us an overview of how the bus works. Why was this pointless, you ask? Because everyone has already gotten themselves on the bus, so it would rationally follow that people already understand how it works. But hey, I’m not in charge (can you see me gritting my teeth even as I type this statement?). We drive out to the office and file in. Some intern gives us a two minute talk with a powerpoint presentation that she probably spent two weeks on. No information was given that my dog could not have gleaned from the website in about 3 minutes. After our little presentation we all stood around, waiting for someone to herd us. I think we all know who that someone ended up being. Now, I did tell myself I was going to “go with the flow” on this trip, but I had a beach to get to. So I began yelling at everyone to get back on the bus so we can leave. Some were pleased that someone, anyone took charge, but most just gave me the “who does this chick think she is?” look. A look I am very familiar and quite comfortable with. I’m knocking on 30 here people, telling me I’m a control freak with a serious lack of patience is not news to me. So, off we went on our way to the beach, with a supermarket stop (our next hostel is BYOB, so really a booze stop) and a quick trip to see a waterfall. The waterfall is named Bridal Veil Falls…because it looks like a brides veil. Unlike every other waterfall in the world. Those lucky kiwis.

Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Selfie
Bridal Veil Selfie

Once we got to Raglan two morons on our bus were late because they went shopping on a 10 minute stop and made half the bus late for their surf school. I tell you this because I want it on the record that I did not flip out on them. Just rolling with punches here people. Just FYI, I am starting to think “laid back” is code word for “big giant pussy who doesn’t speak her mind”, but I”m gonna give it some getting used to.

Ok….I took a break in between writing this post and got pretty shit faced. Now where was I? Ah yes, so we headed to the beach just as the sun decided to go into hiding, so we sat on the black sand and laughed at the people during surf lessons. Well, I laughed at them. Everyone else probably just wondered what I was laughing at. Everyone wanted to leave but, of course, no one would say anything. So again I took matters into my own hands an initiated the trip home to the sauna. This brings me to what Stina and I have decided are the three rules of our time in NZ:
1. Always order less food than you think you need because these people are closet fatties.
2. Always buy more alcohol than you think you need. you will understand this in a second.
3. STATE YOUR PURPOSE. This one is probably the most important. Basically, if you want something, speak up and ask for it. And about 95% of the time you’ll get your way.

Hot surfer on the black sand beach in Raglan.
Hot surfer on the black sand beach in Raglan.

Now, on to the fun stuff. We went back to the hostel and immediately turned on the sauna. After sauana time, our bus driver cooked us a huge BBQ and we all got drunk. Well, some of us got drunk. I got really drunk. About an hour into our drunk bonding time with what will be our little crew for the next few weeks, our bus driver looked at us and said “you two are trouble”. I think it was right after the manager told us he had more wine for purchased and Stina asked “is it free if she makes our with you?” (point to me) and we were the only two that laughed. To this guy’s credit, I saw a moment of hesitation where he seriously considered it. How could he not? But alas, we have been identified as the trouble makers. Within a day. I can’t say I’m surprised, but we did show our hand rather quickly.

We drank though our measly two liters of wine in a box (sounds better than “boxed wine”, doesn’t it?) rather quickly, as you all who know us can imagine. Luckily, the very nice manager from Boston sold us another three liters. And no, I did not make out with him for it. I paid for my boxed wine like a lady! Boston guy seemed unsure when he stated the price, so naturally I haggled him down a whole $6. He looked at me like I was a fucking nut job for haggling with him on the price of a box of wine. But you know this little jew loves her a good deal. Our team lost trivia night. Primarily because trivia in NZ tends to be all about NZ, which is total bullshit, as I am American and therefore everything should be catered specifically to me. For our credit, Stina owned the question about Bey and Jay-Z’s daughter and I was able to identify Tom Selleck on a page of pictures of guys with mustache’s. I did proclaim “who the hell is that?” at the picture of Joseph Stalin though. Not my best moment. For the record, I would have been able to identify Hitler. Just saying. And this is where everything gets fuzzy. I ran around making an ass out of myself for another hour or so, we initiated a dance party where I probably taught everyone how to “drop it like its hot”, as I often do, and then woke up this morning in my bed with Stina handing me a cup of water and a few painkillers. I have a vague recollection of trying to hook Stina up with the pro surfer staying at our place. And apparently the only qualifications I required was that he, himself, insisted he was pro surfer. As the hottest guy in the room, girls were throwing themselves at him and offering to get him drinks. Stina doesn’t get boys drinks, they get her drinks. So we left him to the hoodrats and their varied STD’s. OMG! Speaking of STD’s I almost forgot to tell you about the douchebag from USC on our bus! So sorry, but better late than never.

He needs his own paragraph. Ok, why is a dude who is in a fraternity at USC (1) traveling alone (where are his “brothers”?) and (2) traveling while school is in session. I have come up with the theory that (1) no one likes him – not even other USC douche lords and (2) he was suspended for a rufie-related incident after which his parents funded his travels to get rid of him because they don’t like him either. But, to his credit, he did get laid at about 8pm. The pair of them came back with some story about a “hike” they went on. That fucker wouldn’t go hiking even if mommy and daddy put his bmw on top of hill, trust me. It was fairly hilarious. Oh, and at the beach he found out Stina was from Manhattan Beach and began to rattle of the names of spoiled frat boys that she may know (because he is really fucking cool and knows everyone you guys). She did not know any of them and I asked “how old are these people?”. “21”. Holy shit. He thinks Stina is 21. And me as well, by association, of course (just go with it, it’s how I sleep at night). Everyone was utterly shocked when they found out how old we really are. I’m not even kidding, genuinely shocked. Score 459 for team Rorina (Rory and Stina…can we do better?). Anyway, Stina talked me into being nice to him for the entertainment, so surely there will be more on this subject to come. We shall henceforth refer to him as Douchey McRich. I’ll probably change that tomorrow to something better, but I’m hungover and that’s the best I got.

It is now 8am and I am on a bus getting ready to go rappel down a waterfall inside a cave – and you all know Rory loves a good cave. And abseiling. And anything else that will prepare me to win the amazing race. And we might have to hitchhike tomorrow for a short stretch at a certain point when we hop off the bus. It’s a kiwi thing dad, don’t worry.

Buses and Boats at the Bay of Islands

We are currently sitting in an 8 bed dorm room in a hostel (the dumb shits at the front desk fucked up our reservation – which is what happens when the job requirements are (1) a pulse and (2) nope, its just the one). I was originally terrified by the thought of sharing a room with stinky 25 year old boys, but it turns out the boys are quiet, respectful, and tidy. The girls, however, are incredibly frightening. And we just have one tonight. It’s like sharing a room with 19 year old Rory. And Rory at 19 is not someone you want to share a room with. Primarily because that crazy bitch would wake you up every night coming in late, scream down the hall at anyone and everyone, and think “handling her booze” meant puking in a toilet (LIKE A LADY!). These bitches be cray. I’m currently hoping the one we have in our room will slut herself out to whichever boy can afford to keep her intoxicated the longest and just not come back. By the looks of this girl, I think my odds are good. Oh, she also has a giant stuffed animal on her bed. I’m assuming that’s for when she needs to be held after the narsty hostel boys have their way with her. Dream big, girlfriend.

You are probably all a bit confused, so let me take you back in time a few days to explain how we got to this very interesting point in our lives.

Monday, Dec 8
Monday was pretty uneventful, we were picked up by the Stray bus and shuttled North to to little beach town of Paihia in the Bay of Islands. The weather was cloudy and was starting to drizzle when we got there, just our luck. We took the ferry over to the historic island of Russel, which was the first capital of New Zealand. Very quaint. But let’s just saymI can see why they moved the capital. Not much going on. When we boarded the ferry we asked our captain what there was to do and he said “just go have a look around”. Should have been clue #1. It’s this guy’s job to shuttle people back and forth all day every day and he can’t even think of something to entertain. We got some wine and nachos and headed back to the mainland. At this point it was still raining, and we noticed the hot tub was empty. We also noticed the hot tub being cleaned when we checked in a few hours ago. I don’t think I have to explain why it is necessary to actually SEE a hostel hot tub being cleaned with your own eyes before entering. So in we went, joined later by some very nice German fellows who we then interrogated about all the best activities to do and where in NZ to do them. 7pm was the big nightly hostel BBQ (included in our package, along with a free drink). It was absurdly mediocre (not very shocking) but plentiful. Sat around drinking happy hour beers until about 10pm, then off to bed for our 7am pickup time the next day.

The most exciting part of Russel....
The most exciting part of Russel….
...was this
…was this

Tuesday, Dec 9
This day will henceforth be knows as the day we glued our asses to a very big bus. Lots of bus time. A slightly uncomfortable about of bus time. We were picked up (along with about half the hostel) at 7am and drove for about 5 hours to reach Cape Reigna, the northernmost point in NZ. The rain thankfully let up by the time we actually got off the bus, so we had a hike around the famous lighthouse with some fabulous views (pics included below).

Cape Reigna
Cape Reigna
Cape Reigna

The (first) highlight of the day was sand boarding at 90 mile beach (no, its not actually 90 miles, and no I don’t know why they don’t put it in kilometers. I’m sure it has to do with the entire world’s obsession to be just like us Americans). These giant sand dunes sit right behind a huge and completely deserted beach. There is only one problem with sand boarding – you have to go up before you can go down. What a bitch. We all got boogie boards from under the bus and started with a baby dune to ease into the hiking up sand. The sun chose an excellent time to come out to play, because the only thing better thank hiking up sand is doing it in the blistering sun! Apparently I have quite the knack for sand boarding…I guess 10 years of boogie boarding at Torrance beach was good for something. After a few runs we were exhausted and settled for watching the boys have a pissing contest. After it was time to make our way back and the bus drove for about an hour on 90 mile beach…giant tour bus, just drove on the actual beach. It was oddly relaxing. After a stop for some of the “world’s best” fish and chips (sadly I cannot attest to this, as you know I hate seafood) we were back in Paihia where the rain continued. And then we stuffed our face…again. I’m not sure how New Zealanders don’t rival Alabama for obesity because their food portions are absurd. Or is that Mississippi? Whatever, fat is fat.

We made it to the top!
We made it to the top!
Our bus load of sand boarders
Our bus load of sand boarders

White girls can jump
White girls can jump

90 Mile Beach
90 Mile Beach

Wednesday Dec 10

DOLPHIN DAY! Up at 7am (these early call times are becoming a theme) for our 8am dolphin exploration tour. Basically you get on a boat and spend 4 hours motoring through the [absolutely ridiculously beautiful] Bay of Islands in search of dolphin pods. If there are no babies and the little buggers are in the right mood, you might get to swim with them. I figured with my luck there is no way we would get that lucky. Apparently my luck is changing. Not only did the sun come out for us, we found (1) a HUGE pod of dolphins with two babies, followed by (2) a second smaller pod with no babies that we were able to swim with. Problem #1 – watch out for sharks. No one else seemed particularly bothered by this, so I figured I would just go with the flow (sorry dad). Problem #2 – water was cold as fuck. Stina jumped in, snapped two pics on her go-pro and then turned to me and said “I have to get out”. And off she went. I can’t blame her, it was fucking freezing. I somehow managed to fight off hypothermia, despite being very worried about possibly losing a toe at one point, and found some dolphins to play with. It was pretty amazing. They get extremely close to you and juuuuuuust when you think it might be ok to reach out and touch them, they ghost on you. Those cute little fuckers are fast. Way too much good fortune before noon. The day only got better as we were able to get in a few prime tanning hours before heading back to Auckland. Note: when people warn you about how strong the sun is here, believe them. We are contemplating visiting a burn unit. That’s a lie…we put on some lotion and packed a bathing suit for tomorrow like good Californian girls.

So many dohphins!
So many dohphins!

Tomorrow is adios Auckland for good! The Dinos are headed south!

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Wino Dinos on Waiheke

Yesterday Stina and I woke up bright and early after about 14 hours of sleep, posted yesterday’s blog, and prepared ourselves for a day of wine tasting on Waiheke Island (code name: heaven). Stop 1: brunch. We were determined not to let the poor people of Auckland who have not been exposed to the finer things like boozy brunch stand in our way. Auckland, however, had other plans. We were successful in finding brunch, however the booze part continued to trip us up. Another restaurant where no one has heard of a mimosa, however they did have bellinis. Fab. We’ll take two (and keep ’em coming). At this point the surly waitress who probably heads up the Auckland chapter of the basic bitch club informed us that they don’t serve booze until 10am…the exact time we were to be on the ferry. And for the record, I saw judgment in her eyes. So we did what any rationale person who needs a drink would do…we asked a different waitress. Less judgmental, but same answer. The restaurant did slightly redeem itself, however, when we each ordered a side of avocado and were rewarded with and ENTIRE avocado each. Oh happy day, all is right in the world again.

Off to Waiheke island! The sun is out and its a perfect day for wine tasting. We make it over on the ferry, hop a bus to the main town and hit up the i-site (information desk). At this point we are told that the buses to the wineries run once every hour (the exact bus that we just go off) but there are a few wineries within walking distance…15 to 30 minutes depending on who you ask. So up the hill we go, with stunning view over the island and the Auckland sky line in the distance. Stina informs me Auckland is basically like Seattle, just a little less fun. We get to our first winery – Cable Bay – and immediately realize the Bougie Backpackers are home. A little boutique winery overlooking the ocean, this place Fess Parker’s super classy younger cousin. We meet a nice Kiwi couple who informs the super hot Kiwi working the tasting room that we are all together and to start pouring. I then photo-bombed a very loud group of Kiwi women and they were none too pleased about it. Chill the fuck out ladies. And quiet down.

Our Kiwi wine tasting friends
Our Kiwi wine tasting friends
Entrance to Cable Bay. So classy.
Entrance to Cable Bay. So classy.

Views and wine!
Views and wine!

Off to winery #2. Beautiful views and a tasting menu that includes bubbles, but other than that, nothing too notable here. Its winery #3 – Jurassic – where the day goes from fabulous to heaven. Jurassic is a suuuuper tiny winery, manned by one guy who moved to the island upon retirement, bought some land and started the winery all on his own. There was a group of regular customers already there. Everyone in the room was over the age of 50, so naturally they adored us and we got along quite well. I was very pleased to discover that Stina posses the same magical quality to immediately endear herself to old people that I do. This should serve us well on our trip. Selfie with the fab winery owner to be included later. We lost track of how much we drank and headed off for the long journey back to the bus stop, when we were offered a free ride by an older gentleman (shocker). We graciously accepted and ten minutes later he was telling us about how American girls can’t handle Kiwi men. I obviously laughed in his face at this remark and he responded “well, maybe except for you. you are the wild one, aren’t you?” Like I haven’t heard that one before. But I’m happy it still shows.

Off to the other side of the island with more tastings, more views, and the most delicious goat cheese “bruchetta” we have ever experienced. We headed back to catch the 6pm ferry back to Auckland. After two minutes on the top deck we said fuck the wind and headed down to get more wine. I mean, it was like 20 minute boat ride. We couldn’t very well lose our buzz at this point. Once the ferry stops we get off, giggling and happy, until confusion settles in when we exit the ferry terminal and realize we have no idea where the hell we are. Hmmmmmm. Stina says, “this isn’t Auckland”, to which I reply “well how do you know that?” Well, “because thats Auckland” and points behind us to the Auckland skyline across the bay. Whoops. Time for a workout as we sprint back into the terminal just in time to waive goodbye to our boat to Auckland. Note: Kiwis are not big on announcing things like where you are. After a short chat with a very nice official-looking man we are told 10 minutes till the next ferry to Auckland. No harm done. But fucking hilarious after 6 hours of drinking. And so we basically laughed our entire way back to Auckland.
Waiheke views!

Stina in the vineyard

Now, what’s a few tipsy gals to do after an entire day of drinking and only one little snack? Make a bee-line for the thai restaurant and get down. And then go to bed at 9pm. Again. I’m starting to sense a theme here. Perhaps one of these days we will drink when the sun goes down like normal people. Nah, fuck normal people.

So Auckland has dillas and beer…thats about it

I arrive at the airport about half an hour before Stina, as my anxiety will now allow me to wait. I peruse the lovely remodeled Tom Bradley terminal (there is a damn champs & caviar bar….hold the caviar, but wow). And then I realize I forgot my kindle. Panic attack ensues. I call my brother, he finds it in the daypack I was planning to take before I changed my mind and switched to another one. Those little fuckers are just so small…a blessing and a curse. Stina arrives and calms me down. We decide Brett will mail it to me in Queenstown and I’ll get it upon arrival Christmas even – so now even this little jew gets a Christmas present! See, this is a good thing (glass half full soooooo does not suit me). I am still slightly depressed, so naturally I rationalize that I deserve panda express for all my troubles. I mean, poor me, forgetting my kindle for my two month vacation. Someone should start a charity in my name, really. Stina gets us two very large plastic cups full of wine. If you ever have a sad Rory on your hands, panda and wine will fix her right up. Lets be honest here, any form of booze and food should do the trick.

We arrived yesterday after a lovely 13 direct flight to Auckland via Air New Zealand. Apparently it was rated the #1 airline of 2014. And it was pretty fabulous, especially compared to some of the other shit airlines I have flown in my day. Also a United partner, go points! I will cover the highlights:

1. In flight entertainment. Holy shit this was amazing. There are so many movies you can create a “playlist” as you go through them so you have a short list from which to pick. I did not figure this out as I was not kidding about being technologically challenged. But Stina informed me of this while we were drinking beers in Auckland, and I’m impressed.
2. The flight attendants were half male. Sounds like a random fact, but male flight attendants are just less bitchy. However, when I declined dinner (after the panda express incident) the very nice Kiwi flight attendant informed me that the tray minus the hot meal involved cheese and crackers….so I gratefully accepted. Who turns downs cheese?
3. They don’t cut you off after 3 glasses of wine. Very generous with the wine in fact. And good wine! Good NZ wine! They just kept it a flowin’.
4. Real blankets. Not that paper thin itchy excuse for a blanket that other airlines pawn off on you. This shit was the real deal. Usually I need about 4 airline blankets to survive the arctic weather of an airplane, but I was good with my one.

So we arrive in Auckland at 8am. Stina gets randomly selected to go through the customs interrogation line. I think their customs officials need some profiling classes, as cute little Stina does not exactly scream to me “sneaking bio-hazard materials into a foreign country”. But alas we make it to the airport bus counter, where the old man at the counter proceeds to give us a brief tour of the entire city in map form before giving us our tickets, even though all I asked him was which line we need to take. It is apparently to me I am going to have to take my bitchy resting fact off autopilot, as these people are just so damn nice.

We arrive at our hostel around 9am. We took one look around the place and decided we would henceforth refer to ourselves as the Bougie Backpackers. Definitely an interesting crowd to say the least. Our room is not ready. So we do what any normal Southbay girl would do without a place to shower on Saturday morning would do, we inquire about brunch…preferably bottomless. We quickly realize brunch is not their thing here (a shame, really). Perhaps I could start a foundation bringing brunch to developed countries that clearly need the help. I am in the market for a job… Everyone is very excited about a racecar “drift” competition that is happening in Auckland today. For those of you confused, just think Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift. Yeah, that shit. But since its just down the street and these people can’t even spell “mimosa” we head down to the harbor to see what all the excitement is about. Turns out, there is a reason Paul Walker (RIP) opted out of the Tokyo Drift movie…drifting is basically an excuse to burn rubber and slam into shit. It’s basically race car driving for men with very small penises….or just short attention spans, I suppose. We did get some free ear plugs out of it though. And found a lovely farmers market where we ate every free sample to be found.

We had been warned that Auckland sucks. We quickly realized that is true. With our room still not ready, we went to a bar and got a pitcher. And another. And then maybe one more. I asked to sample a few of the beers before ordering, as I had no idea what beers they have down here. The bartender then made a joke about how I was trying to get free beer. I thought about educating him on his excellent sales tactics, but thought better of it and giggled along. No bitchy resting face here people! Stina then got us dillas while I checked us in. I am typically skeptical of Mexican food in all foreign countries, but it was actually pretty damn good. Or maybe that was the three pitchers talking. Long story short, because I’m sick of typing, we took a 4 hour nap after which we planned to go out and rage. Woke up at 9pm and immediately went back to bed for another 9 hours. We are party animals.

I don’t have any pictures for you today, because really nothing that interesting happened. No, I did not take a picture of the drift competition. You’re welcome. Today is wine tasting day!! And happiness ensues….

My first official trip picture - Stina getting down on dillas in our hostel room
My first official trip picture – Stina getting down on dillas in our hostel room

Dinos are going down under!

Today is the day – Christina (who will be referred to as Stina from here on out) and I will be spending two months in Australia and New Zealand. In an effort to accurately depict what we are in for, I have opted for visual aids.

I think this one pretty much sums us up
I think this one pretty much sums us up
The baby dino song
The baby dino song

We will start our journey in Auckland, spending the first three weeks travelling through New Zealand. As you probably know (read: you should already know), NZ is the adventure capital of the world. Probably a bad combination for me, since when I travel I think I’m fucking Bear Grylls and attempt to do the most ridiculous shit on the planet (remember the “bridge” over the anaconda filled river in the Amazon? or when I almost killed my friend canyoning in Slovenia?). In actuality, I am just an accountant who sprains my ankles when brunch gets out of hand…so this should be interesting. If we make it out of NZ alive – which may not happen, based on what I have planned – we will head to Australia for the last month and tackle the east coast. If you wish to follow our journey in pictures, you can use #dinosdownunder. Just disregard the first few pictures posted by some losers who don’t know their hashtag is about to get jacked.

If you judge people for spelling mistakes or overuse of profanity at inappropriate times, I suggest you end your time with this blog now. You can bookmark this little blog of mine when you need reassurance that our lives are way better than yours. I will do my best to feed your jealousy at all times. If the urge to buy a flight to come meet us strikes you then I have three words for you: JUST DO IT. Unless we don’t like you – but be assured, you would know it if we didn’t.

We'll miss you all...I swear
We’ll miss you all…I swear

To pack or not to pack, that is the question….

When traveling, I always see those girls who have a backpack the size of a tic tac box and yet still look effortlessly cute with a full face of makeup. Where the hell do these bitches find room for things like fake eyelashes, travel hair dryers and gladiator sandals in that backpack? I, my friends, am not one of those girls (I am aware that you are currently thinking to yourself, “no shit”). I have finally accepted the fact that I will look like I am going to (or coming from, more likely) the gym every day for the next two months of my life. The obstacles that have defeated me in my packing challenge are as follows:

Issue #1 – Summer in New Zealand is apparently not always hot.  Who would have thought?  It’s close enough to Australia, so shouldn’t the damn sun be out in December?  Noooooo.  This leaves me with the problem of packing for everything from lows in the 30’s to highs in the 100’s over my two months of travel (and no, I do not mean Celsius).  Those of you that know me are also aware of the fact that I do not actually own clothes appropriate for weather in the 30’s, as I typically avoid cold like the plague.  And do you people know how heavy jackets are?  Let’s remember, I’m carrying this shit on my back.  I did a trial run carrying my backpack around my house.  I’m already considering busting out the icy hot. Note to self: pack icy hot.

Issue #2 – The toiletries necessary to make me [barely] presentable to the world seem to multiply with every year I age.   When I was 21, I’m pretty sure I traveled around Europe with mascara and 2-in-1 shampoo.  Now at the ripe old age of 29, my bag looks like I’m traveling saleswoman for Oil of Olay.  Not to mention the entire ziplock bag I have devoted solely to medicine.  I’m not talking just pain killers and pepto – this baby comes complete with things like Rx ear drops, a z-pak purchased for $6 in Vietnam, sleeping pills (do people sleep without these?), and the few xanex I have left in life, just to name a few. Because who knows when I’ll get an ear infection which leads to bronchitis while having a panic attack induced by lack of sleep. Should this situation occur, I will be ready, and then who will be laughing?  The days of blissful ignorance and worry free travels are over. Luckily my 50-pack of earplugs doesn’t add too much weight.

Issue #3 – Every time I remove a pair of jorts from my backpack, and angel loses its wings. It’s true. I die a little inside every time I take something out. But if it’s between my Jammy Pack or looking cute, the Jammy wins EVERY TIME. For those of you who don’t know, a Jammy pack is a fanny pack (yes, a fanny pack) with a built in speaker from which you can play music from your iphone/ipod/whatever. Of all the things I have purchased in my life, the Jammy is top ten at least, if not top five. But seriously – 1 pair of jean shorts for two months? That is just wrong. They sell jorts in Australia, right? I will find out – right after I finish my google search for “do they sell fireball in Australia?”

Issue #4 – I can’t fit this guy in my bag.IMG_0137-0

The end result? About 30 pounds of shit to carry around on my back for two months. Oh fuck, I just realized I forgot a towel.

The end result.  I have nothing.  But that shit is still heavy.
The end result. I have nothing. But that shit is still heavy.

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