Thursday, April 11, 2013

A more relaxed weekend

Due to weather constraints, I was not able to do the Tongariro Crossing this weekend. But that does not mean that I idly sat around staring at the sky (truthfully, that was Saturday afternoon though). This weekend I kept busy, doing some of the activities I had been meaning to do for a long while.

On Friday, after my last class, I walked around some of the busiest parts of Auckland for almost 5 hours! During that time, I was snapping photos, eating local cuisine, and walking through what is just a marvelous city. It was an all-around good time. I met some quality street performers, chatted with some skaters after a quick photo sesh, wandered the harbor area, and accidentally meandered into a maritime museum! I want to learn how to sail now (Starling class). But since I don't think I'm going to get to that anytime soon, I'll stick with working on capturing moments with my camera.

On Saturday morning, I was up super early, as I had to get on the ferry to Rangitoto, a volcano off the Auckland coastline, before the sun rose. It was a cloudy, rainy morning. Peaking through the clouds was the reddest sunrise I had ever seen (after looking at my pictures, I realize I may be insane, as it wasn't red at all, although I remember it that way), and it lasted quite a while. The climb to the top of the volcano wasn't too extreme, after Taranaki anyway, and Bianca, Lyssa, and I summited relatively quickly. We chilled in an old bunker at the top for a bit as we willed the rain to stop. It did very quickly, and I got the tripod out so we could take some pictures with my remote (best $2.50 I've ever spent). It didn't take too much longer to explore the small island, and we were soon back in Auckland, right in the middle of an intense triathlon with competitors from around the world!

I took a nap later that day, and it was glorious. Then I watched Cool Runnings with my roommates and went to bed again. Successful Saturday.

On Sunday, I got up and made myself a big breakfast. Then I got in a car with Rob, Gemma, and Bianca, and headed back to Hobbiton to see The Shire from Lord of the Rings! The whole site was really cool, and the guide showed us where all of the major scenes took place. I honestly wish I had watched the movies a few times and read the books before getting here, because watching each extended edition just once is not even close to enough. Everyone else felt the same, so we're going to watch all of them next week some time. It was fun to learn about Peter Jackson's filming tricks; for example, on Bilbo Baggins' one-hundred-eleventh birthday, to film the sunset in front of Bag End, they had to film many short segments during sunrise, as the hill was facing the wrong direction. The whole filming of the movies was just so complicated. Just hearing about the mighty crew of 750 people and 200 trucks is just overwhelming and the fact that none of them could come near the actual set for fear of media leaks is just crazy. Oh, and the Green Dragon pub was mean as. I had the Oakbarton Brew, a traditional English Ale, and the best beer I've had since getting here.

For once, I wasn't completely wiped out after the week's end. I kinda like the change of pace. Next weekend won't be anything like calm though, because I'm going to be kayaking Aniwhenua! This'll be my first time kayaking in whitewater, so I'm pretty pumped. I also completely nailed my roll training last night, so when I flip, I won't drown. Pretty happy about that, I am.

Fa'afetai lava! (That's Samoan, I'm expanding a bit.)

Pierce

And now for an overwhelming amount of pictures:

Britomart: Land of attractive women and bean-bag chairs

Auckland harbor in the early 1900's

An NZ racing yacht, which would be manned by a crew of 16!

Really chill seagull

One wall of a "bach," the ideal Kiwi summer home

Random book swap built into a shipping container on the viaduct

Model of a steamship that would've taken migrants over to NZ

A big boat, and a little boat

Quay St., and the majestic Ferry Building

Businessmen at lunch

The best blues player in Auckland

Awesome street art on a staircase to nowhere

Korean Pancake! Just one of the many takeaways I frequent

A view down Symonds, the street Uni is on

This guy is the bomb, he's on Queen St. every day without fail

I wish I could say he landed that

The Auckland harbor, from a ferry

Sunrise!

I really like when the sun peaks through the clouds

Family photo

This is an exaggeration of what I kept imagining while thinking back to the sunset

Rob, Bianca, Gemma, and me at The Shire!

I ran like mad to get in that shot

RITchie in front of Bag End!

A hobbit hole

A 50% scale hobbit hole

There were a lot of hobbit holes

And wonderful scenic views

Party Tree!

The Green Dragon!

A garden!

The tree above Bag End is fake, and worth $1.5 million

Inside the Green Dragon

Again, the Party Tree

Green Dragon once more

Happy Pierce in LotR land

I love taking pictures of signs

The Water

Gemma was taking candid's on Mt. Eden later that night

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