girly week!

/ grapefruit gimlet / james bond book cover / cocktail glasses by breadandbadger / wallet by tinymeat /

i set out for auckland very early on saturday morning (thank you for driving me reuben!) to meet up with stephanie and her business school group who were visiting nz for a few days of their course before heading over to sydney. after waiting forEVER for everyone to make it through customs, i finally saw my little curly-haired friend amongst a sea of american accents. we were all quickly ushered onto the massive tour bus by old kiwi fellow with his socks rolled up to his knees. i think everyone got a kick out of that. with commentary all the way (like, yes it is safe to drink the water in new zealand......), we were driven to the sky city grand hotel. after stuffing ourselves at the buffet breakfast, we had an hour or so to relax before the day's organised activity: sailing on an america's cup boat.

the weather was fairly overcast and occasionally raining, but it held out long enough to enjoy grinding and jibing and riding the waves in the auckland harbour on a very impressive boat. we barely missed being splashed quite a few times, but overall we were rather moist from the poor weather, so we made our way back to the hotel after the sail in order to change and chill out before dinner. i had organised dinner for a small group of us at the revolving restaurant in the sky tower a few weeks back because no first visit to auckland is complete without going up the tower. while we didn't have the best view because of the cloudy weather, we could still see a lot of glittering lights and had a delish meal - lamb and a lovely pinot noir for me.

the next mornign we were up bright and early. ok, the weather was actually anything but bright, but we were on the bus to rotorua by 9. the weather was especially cold and rainy and disappointing and everyone was tired, but luckily nz scenery still looks impressive in the rain, though i'm not sure everyone appreciated being dragged down to rotorua for the day. i often wondered who in the world organised this trip - obviously not someone from nz because the itinerary was ridiculous - but i got to spend time with steph so it was ok.

our first stop in rotorua was whakarewarewa thermal village where we got a yummy thermal-cooked veggie and meat pie for lunch before the girls learned how to make mini poi and the guys learned the haka (hilarious to watch). we had a short cultural performance before we got a tour of the village. all of this was in the pouring rain for the most part, so we were getting soggier and colder by the minute and just wanted to jump into the hot pools! we drove by the polynesian spa and i just wanted to kidnap steph and jump off the bus. but on we went to the gondolas and luge. i wasn't really looking forward to the luge, but i must admit they were really fun! steph and i squealed the whole way down and got thoroughly soaked to the bone before we had to head into dinner. we scarfed down dinner quickly and had to head back to the bus where i said so long to steph and gave her some dry clothes for the ride back to auckland.

and that's where emma picked me up to go back to her house where there was luckily a warm fire, a cup of tea and some dry clothes! yesterday, emma and i spent the morning and afternoon doing some work of our own - me on my masters and her on her residency application. it poured the entire day and we struggled to keep a fire going to keep us warm! last night we braved the weather and headed to cambridge to have dinner with kodie - another great meal (venison, pinot noir and pear & ginger cake) and a great catchup with my rotorua girls :)

today i was planning on going into kiwi encounter with emma, but woke up feeling completely congested and sick :( i had been a little bit sickly ever since last week, but i think the cold and wet finally caught up with me. it just so happened that this is the first day that i've seen the sun in ages!! sunny, but not all that warm, so i am currently struggling to start up a fire so it might get remotely warm in here before the sun goes down or decides disappear for another week...


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