Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
123Trip End Feb 27, 2006
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Where I stayed
The last couple of days in Paihia were really nice, as was my whole time there. It was such a relaxing place and I met some great people in such a short space of time, and became quite close friends with a few of them. Therefore it was quite difficult leaving them behind, but I'm sure that this is something I will get used to in time. It's just a fact that you'll make some great friends for a short time, but then you will go your separate ways. I have got their phone numbers and email addresses and we plan to meet up again in Queenstown come the winter season...it's just weird moving on and starting afresh somewhere new again!
I do think that it is for the best though as it means you meet even more people, and you don't get into a comfort zone of only socialising with a few people
My best friend in Paihia was definitely Javier from Chile. A really likeable character! Even though his English wasn't too great, he had improved so much since he arrived here 4 months ago. We used to go for a "siesta" on the beach most afternoons where he would "study" - it actually involved sleeping, sunbathing, swimming and admiring the "beautiful womens!"
We were sometimes joined by Kioko, a Japanese girl who was extremely friendly and funny. It wasn't until the last night though that I saw a wilder side to her personality, as she sunk numerous pints of Lion Red and became quite giddy! Strangely, her English improved dramatically after a few drinks! My first contact with her was when I offered her and Javier a (fake) Penguin biscuit. No big deal of course, but the following day Kioko came running after me and said "Richard, thank you for chocolate biscuit!" I have found the Japanese to be so polite, both here and when I was at University, and I hope to see her again although I think it is unlikely.
Other characters who I shared time with included Angus, an elderly traveller from Canada
Jacco, a Dutchman, was equally as pleasant and I enjoyed some beers with him over the last couple of days. He had a lucky escape though on the second to last night when we were heading home from The Salty at 1am. Me and Javier were walking on the pavement and Jacco was on the road when all of a sudden, Jacco fell down a hole!! The grate wasn't there and he took a nasty fall...it must have been about 3 feet deep! Looking back, we all had a chuckle at the incident but it could have been serious and he was lucky to escape with scratches. A very nice guy though and I will see him again in Queenstown.
Last friday night, I was sat in the TV lounge and got talking to Duncan, a teacher from Oxford. He asked if I wanted to go out for a few beers and I agreed. So we went and got ready. I found it quite amusing when he appeared in shoes, trousers and shirt...you could tell he had only been in New Zealand 2 days!! Sure enough, he felt quite overdressed surrounded by people in shorts and no footwear!!
I really enjoyed my time at Centabay Lodge (www.centabay.co.nz) as it had a really good atmosphere and all the people there were very friendly, with hardly any exceptions. The facilities were superb, and I enjoyed relaxing in the hot tub on my birthday, particularly as Javier and me had been on a 3 hour bike ride in the afternoon! We underestimated the hills that surrounded Paihia, but it was fun and we got to see some really nice scenery.
It was a perfect start to my time in New Zealand...