Young Blood

We're only young and naive still

Central North Island Road Trip Day 3

Monday, 4 Jan 2016

We woke up early and made our way to Te Puia, a park where you can see geothermal formations and follow tours that give you insights into the Maori culture.

The tourguide was a cool Maori dude and he told us that the each of the wood carvings that they produce have their own stories. He brought us into the Marae, a building where meetings of the Iwi or tribe are held. Then he brought us to a wood-carving and weaving school and explained that the money they get from the visitors are used to fund the operation of the wood-carving and weaving school. Maori kids all over New Zealand don’t have to pay to attend the school and this ensures that the important knowledge and skills are passed on to the next generation.

He explained that there will usually be huge grass spaces in front of the Maraes. The Iwis will hold most of their activities or feasts there. The younger Maoris will make use of the space to play rugby, what else.

We then watched a cultural performance where a group of Maoris sang their folk songs, danced, showed off their finesse with some weapons and performed the Haka.

Afterwards, we walked around the park and saw a glimpse of the shy Kiwi birds, and watched the Pohutu geyser erupt.

We then went to Redwoods Forest and did a hike there. We were too tired to take the canopy walk so we decided to just go to Lake Whakarewarewa nearby before heading back to our hostel.

Central North Island Road Trip Day 2

Sunday, 3 Jan 2016

We slept in the car near a petrol station. In the morning we drove to one of the lakes nearby, lake Whakarewarewa. We then picked up some groceries, before checking into a hostel. We didn’t go anywhere after checking in; thought it would be a good idea to stay in and recover from the horrible first day.

It was nice to finally take a shower, eat some hot food, and watch a couple of films and shows. We watched The Hobbit, and then enjoyed some trashy reality TV shows like Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Central North Island Road Trip Day 1

Saturday, 2 Jan 2016

Mais and I went out to get the car. We walked all the way to Beach Road, which was located 15 minutes away from my apartment… In the rain. It’s the first day of the roadtrip and it’s raining. Ooh la la~

The guy who was in charge of preparing our paperwork at the rental company was super nice. He had a slight German accent so it was fun to hear him explain all the terms and conditions in that German accented English. After showing him our driving licences, he printed off all the paperwork and then processed the payment for the car. Afterwards, he showed us to our car, a Mazda Demio, and bid us a safe journey.

Once we got the car, Mais called Maryam to wait for us downstairs and we took turns to bring our stuff into the car.

Our first destination is the Cathedral Cove, located in Coromandel.

The drive to Coromandel was winding. It didn’t help that it was raining all the way. After driving close to 3 hours, we finally arrived there.

It wasn’t that easy to get access to the Cathedral Cove though. To get there, we had to first do the Cathedral Cove walk, a 45min walking track. There was a parking space close to the start of the walking track but I was worried that it’s going to be full so I parked the car a bit further away, about 15min away from the parking space close to the walking track.

So to get to the Cathedral Cove, we now have to climb 15min up a hill, reach the start of the walking track, and then walk on soft sand and mud for another 45 min. Imagine the look on our faces when we finally reached that cove.

We were wearing our hiking boots and waterproof jackets on the way there so it wasn’t that bad. Some of the people there wasn’t expecting the rain and they simply wore beachwear and sandals. The walking track was located on a beach, yes, but the mud and the rocks located along the way would make it pretty hard to cross when you have slippers on.

We spent some time there taking pictures and videos. It was raining so there were no signs of blue skies and nice clear waters but the scenery was still pretty nonetheless. We spend some time enjoying the views under the Cathedral Cove and returned to our car around 5pm.

Little did we know that things are gonna go downhill from there.

Our initial plan was to spend the night in Tauranga but somehow we made a mistake with the accommodation for the first night and they canceled our reservations. We were tired and were looking forward to crash into somewhere comfy so being told that our accommodation has been given away to someone else was pretty disappointing.

We spent quite some time figuring out what to do, lol. We tried driving around and asking if they rooms for the night but that didn’t work – they were fully booked. We also tried calling different places and looking up online for empty rooms but sadly they were fully booked as well. Mais emailed a couple of places when finally one old man with a think local accent called us back around 10pm saying that they have a room for us in his hostel. He saved our asses and we were so happy!

Too bad that happiness was shortlived, lol. Because on the way to place, I missed an exit and we ended up on a highway that leads us all the way to the next town, Rotorua.

Of course I was disappointed. If I hadn’t made that mistake, we would only be 10mins away from reaching that hostel. We told that nice old guy that we couldn’t make it to his place and said goodbye to our plans to stay in Rotorua.

We thought it couldn’t get any worse than that but nope… To add on top of this whole no-accommodation-for-the-night situation, the car’s fuel gauge was getting pretty close to E.  We were not supposed to miss that exit, and we were not planning to drive in a car that’s running low on fuel. It’s close to midnight, we’re in the middle of the highway, we still have quite a long way to go before reaching the next town, and our tank fuel is running empty. I’ve never felt more stressed out in my entire life.

I had no other choice but to continue driving on the highway to Rotorua. The possibility of having our car stranded in the middle of nowhere at night is pretty scary. In an attempt to calm the Category 5 Hurricane of Panic and Terror that’s going on in our minds we did a couple of Google searches like “petrol stations near Rotorua,” and “how far can you drive on empty.” (To answer that question, you can still drive for another 40 to 80 km after the fuel gauge hits E depending on the model of the car)

Miracles do happen though. After driving for god knows how long, we finally reached a gas station in Rotorua.

Of all the road trips I’ve had so far, I’ve never had this much drama happen in a single day. I’m so sorry that Mais and Maryam had to suffer through such a horrible first day and I hope that things will be better in the days to come.

Central North Island Road Trip

It will take me quite some time to sit down and remember the details of all the things I’ve gone through while I was on a roadtrip with Mais and Maryam :’)

Te Henga Walkway

On Saturday, a couple of friends and I went hiking. We decided to hike along Te Henga Walkway, which was close to Bethells Beach.

It took us a long time to reach there. Mainly it was because the driver and the person who had to navigate were having troubles… navigating. I don’t like to get in the way and let them sort the problem out, but I had to step in at some point. My navigating skills were sub-par but I think I’ve gotten better over the years :P

So the hike is 8km one way. The hike was rated easy but certain parts of the hike were pretty dangerous. It seemed like the hike went on forever but I don’t really mind since there were so many amazing views to take in; most parts of the track overlook Bethells Beach and the Tasman Sea and it was nice to hike with the sea breeze gently blowing.

Once we reached the end of the track, we took a short break and then hiked back to the starting point. In total, we spent close to 9 hours in there.

My next hike will be the Tongariro Alpine Crossing with Maryam and Mais. It was not reassuring when my friends said that the hike there will be steeper than what we did at Te Henga Walkway.

I’m gonna have to brace myself up for the challenge then.

Issues

I’m having trouble sorting out my timetable for next year. I’m planning to major in French as well but I have so many timetable clashes. It’s not funny how the French courses that I want to take clash with each other…

French department, why u do this to me?

In other news I’m now on summer break. I’ve downloaded a couple of books but I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet.

The only person that I can hang out with here has gone back to spend their summer break in Singapore. It’s pretty boring when you don’t have that many close friends to hang out with. I can’t wait till Maryam and Mais comes here. We’ve sorted out the car, accommodation but we’ve yet to decide on the activities that we want to do. I’m still having doubts about going bungy jumping. I can imagine myself spending hours standing by the ledge and having to be coaxed to just jump down.

Grief

I lost my brother in 2006. I was thirteen back then but I’m not even sure about how I felt about his death in the first place to discuss much about it. The first few days after his death, I remember feeling sad but I don’t remember grieving as much as the rest of my family did. My dad didn’t say anything but sometimes I can hear him crying in his prayers. I saw my mum cry too. She cried a lot, didn’t eat or sleep much, and barely talked to anyone in the following weeks. It seems that she took the longest time to adjust to the fact that my brother’s gone. My parents were hurting so much more than I did, and I felt helpless because I did not know how to comfort them; to see your loved ones grieve over someone is heartbreaking.

I saw my parents deal with their grief in different ways over the years. It seems like they’re doing fine now but only god knows what they feel like when they think of my brother.

I still can’t understand the pain that they’ve experienced and neither will I understand yours, but do know that I’m here.