Aotearoa, part II
I f Mary Jane had a middle name, it would surely be called Aotearoa. In no other land have I been offered as much MJ while hitchhiking as in New Zealand. I got picked up by two professional MJ farmers in different cities and spent the night with both families. Allegedly, New Zealand has the highest rate of cannabis use on Earth. I finally understand why they call it “The Land of a Long White Cloud” and it has nothing to do with the stuff I learned in school. :))) It was more of a rule than exception to be offered MJ during the ride and few drivers insisted to give me a small stash “for the road”.
These are some of the gifts I received in 3 weeks in New Zealand, but surely the most memorable ones:
- A book
- A taser gun
- Mary Jane
- A dog
When it comes to choosing gifts for their guests, Kiwis seem to be quite shocking, but practical.
Talking about practicality… I came across this guy on the street of Rotorua and complimented his awesome, long dreads. Next thing you know, he offered to drive me out of town and dropped me off at a perfect spot to hitchhike to Taupo. Honest compliment and a few kind words go a long way...
Soon after that, I got picked up by a really great woman called Megan who took me to see how a glass blowing is done in the Lava Glass Studio that was on our way to Taupo.
Megan and I also stopped in Waimangu and Wai-O-Tapu to check out some beautiful nature…
When I finally arrived to Taupo, I was planning to walk a beautiful Tongariro Crossing, but it was raining cats, dogs and other animals…so I gave up after a few days of waiting and moved down to the windy capital of New Zealand, Wellington.
I have got a ride with Iain and his dog on the way to Huka Falls and this was part of our amusing conversation...
Iain: My ex-girlfriend was Croatian.
Me: Ohh really? Where did you meet her?
Iain: On the internet.
Me: Wow, you’re lucky she wasn’t a man.
Iain: She might have been a man… I discovered it was a scam just before I sent her some money.
…but I’m more careful now. Just recently, I’ve got engaged to a Filipino girl.
Me: Congratulations! Where did you meet her?
Iain: On the internet.
Me: LOL! You have just told me you are more careful now…so how is that more careful?!
Iain: I went to visit her in Philippines. She is definitely a girl. I stayed there for 3 weeks. I absolutely loved it and we got engaged.
Me: After only 3 weeks? You don’t waste any time, do you?
Iain: Naaaah, her family loves me. She asked me to help them with some money, so I sent her $5000 last week.
Moral of the story: age doesn't always equal wisdom.
Iain took me to see the Huka Falls. The noise, the power and the energy of the water is really hard to describe when you’re standing on the bridge and my photo (above) doesn’t do it any justice.
This is the “Tree Church” near Ohaupo town. It’s all built by different types of trees/plants. Regular ticket to see it is 15 NZD, but my crazy-awesome driver drove me through the gates and right in front of the church where I snapped few picks “on the run” and jumped back in the car, before the priest managed to blink. :)) It doesn’t look as spectacular as it does during "the season", because the weather was still pretty cold.
My ride to Raglan was one of a kind. I got picked up by Johnny, the insurance seller, who was going to the meeting with the client to finalize the contract and decided to take me with him. The client was a lovely Maori family. Before signing the contract, they passed the bong around the table. Later on, Johnny offered me a job in his company on our way to Raglan. :))
Raglan was one of my favorite spots despite a horrible weather. Not many pics from there, because it was raining cats and dogs and all the other animals…
I got picked up by Jack on my way to Matamata. He was going to the town above Auckland, but decided to make a detour and visit the Hobbiton movie set with me. That location was used for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy and The Hobbit film series. The place is WAY TOO touristic and the rule is to stick with your tour guide the whole way. I generally can’t stand such places, because I don't like waiting around and Jack is the racer and an ex-special forces guy who loses his shit easily, too…so we decided to wonder around on our own and got in trouble as the tour guide accused us of trespassing. Needless to say we missed our group and transportation from the Hobbiton back to the car, because we failed to stick to our group, again...
My 2nd time in Auckland I got hosted by Aaron, the guy who I met in the coffee shop on my very 1st day in Auckland when I arrived, 3 weeks ago. He lives literally 100m from the Sky Tower in the center of the center. In case you are wondering how I could possibly trust a random guy from the coffee shop… The answer is, I don’t trust a guy, I trust my own judgment and my gut feeling. I stayed in his flat for 3 nights before leaving to French Polynesia and he turned out to be a great guy and better host than some people I stayed with via Couchsurfing.
Aaron decided not to work over the weekend, so he had time to show me some amazing spots around Auckland. We also went target shooting with the rifle; we played golf and baseball and I lost the game of mini golf, so I had to buy him a dinner.
In short, the rainy weather followed me through all 3 weeks of my stay in New Zealand, but the people and the nature made up for all the shitty weather. New Zealand is high on the list of my most favorite countries and MJ shouldn’t take too much credit for it.
Thank you lovely Kiwis for being such a great example of humanity. We will be seeing each other again as I can't wait to visit the South Island! <3