First Week of July.

You can see how far behind I am that I'm posting photos from around the beginning of July at the end of July. This is what you would call a busy life. :) In the first week of July, we edited the 2nd short film that our class produced. We spent the 4th of July in the editing studio, and then ended it by watching Down With Love in bed. It was quiet, but it was nice. Not much patriotism for the USA in Auckland. Ha!

On the 5th of July, Brenda and I took a bus out to Ponsonby. I love that area of Auckland- so many cool restaurants and boutiques to check out. We went to Ponsonby Central, which has a bunch of restaurants all connected with some shops interspersed. It's really cute! Brenda and I got some meat pies- mine was chicken and almost like a chicken pot pie! I was impressed. And the fries were a-ma-zing. Really hot & fresh & delicious! I'm hoping I can make it back there just for that reason. After lunch we walked down Ponsonby Rd. and stopped in some shops. Brenda got a hat and I got a little purse! Success!

At some point in June, Nithya and Kelly introduced Brenda and I to Sal's Pizza. I have become very obsessed. That photo was our first Sal's experience. Life changed!

Auckland's style is very different from Houston's, I've found. I am not buying too many things here due to the crazy prices of living on an island, but I have picked up one or two things that make me a little bit more new zealander than american. ;)


Shakespeare Cliff

After our kayaking venture, and eating the most delicious pizza at a random winery, we followed a local's directions to Shakespeare Cliff. This was the most perfect end to our 2nd day in the Coromandel. We were able to drive up to the top without having to hike. Our bodies were exhausted from kayaking all morning, so this was easy and lovely. We walked about a minute from the car park up a small trail and found the most amazing view. Mountains and ocean and the clouds. Gorgeous.


Our 2nd Day in Coromandel [via iPhone]

So, as you know, we went kayaking on the second day that we spent in the coromandel peninsula.

Afterwards we asked our kayaking guide where we could get some good food. He pointed us in the direction of a local winery. We weren't sure if that was appropriate given the fact that we were sticky with sea water and sweat. But he assured us that it was a board shorts kind of place. So, we believed him and drove over. Purangi Winery is the MOST random winery I have ever come upon in my life. Brenda and I walked up and found a mismatched wooden building with a volleyball net set-up in front with picnic tables scattered around. When we walked in we met a man named Danny who immediately led us into the wine cellar for a free liqueur tasting! The cider was amazing- we bought some! I couldn't drink the amount he gave us because I was still driving with the added bonus of being on the left side of the road!

BUT the best part was yet to come. He made us a delicious margherita pizza and we ate it with the mountains as our backdrop. Most amazing pizza I've ever had.

Danny then told us we needed to check out Shakespeare Cliff which was further down the road. So we decided to take the local advice and carried on! Shakespeare Cliffs was an amazingly easy look-out to get to and so very worth it.

When we finally got home, Brenda's arms were in danger of falling off her body. She doesn't have a very high pain tolerance, we found out. So we filled up some hot water bottles and cuddled with them while taking a quick nap. It worked miracles. Brenda will attest. We went into Coromandel town and picked up a pizza to go! Then off to the beach we drove! The tide was out, but we still enjoyed the view and my first hawaiian pizza!

At this point it felt like our trip couldn't get much better... but it did! :)


Blowhole Caves

During our kayaking adventure, we got to go into a bunch of caves! They were all incredible. The first one was a giant sea cave that may have blown my mind. That 2nd to last photo shows the scale of how large it was (we're in the green kayak!)!

After that we got to go into a blowhole cave, and walk around. It was a nice stretch for our legs and also a good opportunity to take some photos. The water was so clear, it was unbelievable. We couldn't stop looking up and around and down and at everything in general.

Our last moment of the day happened to be the funniest. By this point we had been kayaking for about four hours and our arms were nearly dead. Our guide paddled up to us and very seriously explained how we were going to kayak through a sea cave and unfortunately we'd be paddling into the wind for a bit. At the point we thought we'd been kayaking into the wind so we laughed it off, and began to paddle into the cave.

Well. Turns out paddling into the wind is way harder than it sounded. We got about a foot into the cave and got blown back so that our kayak was stuck between the sides of the cave. Maybe this could have been easily fixed if we weren't deliriously tired. I think our guide was worried because we were laughing so hard that it may have sounded like we were crying. We were stuck there for quite a bit,
but we finally forgoed the kayaking rules of not using your hands to push off of things, and we clambered out of the cave. That last photo is of us victoriously emerging into the wind.

It was quite hard, but a great way to end our kayaking trip.

It turns out that sea kayaking is really fun (despite the intensity of the workout), and I hope to get to do it again!