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Livin' it up in the Hellhole of the Pacific

Paihia, New Zealand

Kia Ora, everyone! After 30+ hours of travel, I finally made it out of the Land of the Morning Calm and into Auckland, New Zealand. After a few days in Auckland to shake the jet lag and get my feet on the ground again, I headed north to Paihia in the beautiful Bay of Islands.

A little history: back in the 1800s, Paihia was the main whaling port for the European powers that were in the South Pacific. Thus, all the sailors and various unsavories stopped off here every few weeks, and naturally, a degenerate crowd grew to call the place home. For some time, it's nickname was, in fact, "the hellhole of the pacific." Locals love to report that back then, the only establishment with a higher gross income than the brothels were the pubs, and even then, only just. These days, it's quite a bit more calm in the bay. Over 144 islands to explore at my leisure! And explore them I did.

For the first bit, I was still attempting to get over the reverse culture shock of leaving Asia. It took a bit to get out of my Korea Shell, but soon enough, I took up with an English lad who was thrilled to have found himself traveling with an American Girl. (Which makes...one of him. The general reaction to my nationality is a sort of disappointed look, and then some sort of comment along the lines of, "why can't you just be more like your older brother, Canada...he never seems to get into trouble like you..." Well, sorry for all the muck-ups, folks, it's really not my fault.) Anyway. That first day, I lazed about on the beach. The weather's been lovely, especially after coming from dead winter in Seoul. The next day, I went on a little cruise and saw my first dolphins! Turns out my aquatic photography skills leave quite a lot to be desired, so I abandoned the attempt and just watched them frolic. One word: CUTE.

Next day, I went for a little paddle and explored the various inlets and coves throughout the bay. It felt good to be out in a kayak again--first time in a year! I also went for a little coastal walk, which afforded plenty of good photos. Unfortunately, I left my cable in my room, so you don't get to see them this time around.

Long story short, it's gorgeous here, I love it, people are unbelievably friendly (even the bus dirvers say, "Have a lovely day, darling!") and I may never come home. Well, at the least, I know where I'm retiring.

permalink written by  alli_ockinga on February 8, 2010 from Paihia, New Zealand
from the travel blog: New Zealand!
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Hey everyone! In February 2009 I left the Pac Northwest for South Korea to teach English for a year. This is what I'm up to! Keep in touch!

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