Last days in Auckland, East Cape and Raglan

Trip Start Sep 17, 2003
Trip End May 01, 2004

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Saturday, February 21, 2004

On the 13th of February it was time to say goodbye to the Railway Campus and to look for a new place to stay. Before that I went shopping, bought some rubber gloves and cleaning utensils to clean the room that I used as a "bathroom" for the last months. It was disgusting from the first day and early attempts to clean it a bit were given up after it looked as dirty again after 24 hours again... It is amazing what dirt you can get used to and after a while it is just routine that you never enter the bathroom without shoes. Anyway since people told me that you have to clean your room and bathroom to pass the room inspections before you move out (and not pay a fortune to pay the Campus to clean your room) and I started my mission impossible the evening before I had to leave.. 2 hours of serious cleaning brought me to the point when I discovered that this bathroom can look quiet nice and clean. Next morning when it was time for room inspections the guy came in had a short chat with me, he discovered that this might be the smallest room in the whole campus, we had a few laughs and off he was again. WITHOUT even looking at the bathroom. I had to laugh about my own stupidity...
For the next couple of days I had the chance to stay with Jawad (thanks again Jawad) before Jawad, Robert (luckily Robert decided in the last second to skip work for 1 week and to join us) and me decided to go for a 10 day road trip...

Recipe for the perfect 10 day road trip:

- 3 guys that don't have a clue where to stay the next night and don't really care how far you get that day and especially don't have a lot of money to spend
- an old car which comes up with new noises every once in a while (some of those noises even disappear again after a while)
- a watermelon that is bought for a "men only" weekend a couple of weekends ago and will be carried out of the car every night just to be brought back in next morning again
- heaps of sunshine meanwhile it is raining on the rest of the North Island
- lots of good music (oh, and please don't forget to take enough batteries (I mean full ones) for the disc man with you :-) )
- absolutely remote and beautiful beaches
- long gravel roads
- an American surf teacher who has only plan (and tells you about this plan whenever he can
:-) ): "at the end of the day we want you to stand up on those boards. Thats all we want..." (thanks again Frank, you were a great teacher)
- a 4 day hike through amazing bush and along a big, beautiful lake
- tons of biscuits
- a bean bag that takes up half of the space in the car ;-)
- a tent

you mix all the ingredients and than wait what comes out for the next 10 days. One example of what can happen is given here: After all the shopping was done on Saturday "morning" (at least this was the plan, in reality we started at around 3pm) and headed out of Auckland at 5.30pm. Next to Robert, Jawad and me there were this old watermelon that still wanted to be eaten, more than one bag of biscuits (and during the whole trip we made sure that we never came down to one bag just by refilling this vital resource frequently) and big contemplation of wonderful music (Jawad spend hours to collect it and made Rob and me really happy with it) and Roberts bean bag which he had just gotten from his flat in good old Pam (for the ones who don't know who Pam is: its my charismatic car).. We headed towards the East Cape to discover this part of the North Island which hardly sees tourists just because it is not on the way of the common routes. Even though this part offers rugged cliffs, remote, sandy beaches, the first sunrise in the world every day and breathtaking views... After landing on our feet on the first two nights and finding a good spot for our tent in the last minute we came to the point when we wanted to go to Gisborne (a surfing paradise on the East Coast) and learn to surf. After a few phone calls we got in touch with Frank from America who offered us to teach us next morning at 7am. Because we had to get up early anyway and Gisborne is the most Eastern city of New Zealand and therefor is the place that sees the sun first in the whole world we set our alarm clocks to get up for sunrise. Nobody of us knew when sunrise is and Jawad suggested to set the alarm clock for 4.30am. Everybody who knows me long enough will understand easily that it wasn't me who was getting out of the tent at this insaint time.. Surprisingly Jawad didn't get up either. Maybe because it was still pitch dark outside... So it was only Rob who was disciplined and awake enough to make his way to the beach... And there he was waiting for the sun.. Unfortunately for Robert (fortunately for me) the sun doesn't even think about crossing the horizon before 6 o'clock at this time of the year... Robert had a nice but bit cold time by the time I met him on the beach to watch the start of the day at 6.30am...
Later we had our first surfing lessons with Frank. He was enthusiastic and full of energy when I made us paddling through the sea. And wow, we all really managed to stand up at least once... What a feeling. Surfing is heaps of fun... He even gave us the boards for a bit longer so we had 3 extra hours in the morning to improve our skills.
Still thrilled of our first steps on the surf board we left Gisborne (here we also said goodbye to the watermelon which finally got eaten by us) again to go for a 4 day hike around Lake Waikeramoana (it took us ages until we were able to remember this name. It is just a tongue twister). Because Rob, Jawad and me couldn't meet on the 20th of march (my birthday) they changed the date of my birthday and celebrated with me during we were hiking. We spoke about this before but by the time they made to a "king for a day" I already had forgotten about this deal and was happily surprised :-).
After the hike there was only one more thing on our list. Robert and Jawad went skydiving in Taupo (I've already been 4 years ago and wanted to save some money at this point). They confirmed the impression I had. The experience of a skydive is worth every cent...
It was not possible to see one of the two without a big smile on their face for the rest of day afterwards...
At the end of those days we all came to the point when we said these days were probably the best time we had in New Zealand up to then...

One week later we the three of us went for another weekend trip to Raglan (THE surfing spot in New Zealand. Only 2 hours from Auckland situated on the West Coast). We had the chance there to do a bit more surfing and spend some more time together...
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