I do some washing and start to pack. Alice vetos more than one bikini.
"Only one Peta, we're packing light!"
I later discover the other girls have multiple bikinis! Damn it! #firstworldbikiniproblems. ;)
After packing some bags, re-packing, adding more, upsizing cases, debating what to talk, discussion about men we are almost ready.... a quick run to the bank for some cash and to a cafe for a morning very green smoothie, and we are ready to roll and are picked up at 11am by Emma, LJ and Abby.
These three ladies are nothing less than awesome, each with their own fascinating outlook and stories. It is a pleasure to be in the car with them from the first to the last moment :)
The girl chat is already underway in the car and Alice and I join in. :)
Why can't men decide what they want?
What type of men are the best to go for?
How long is reasonable between text messaging?
It is hilarious as it is universal. There is something cathartic about hearing that you are not alone in you experiences and struggles and the sense of excitement and comradery is palpable.
It is LJs birthday on Tuesday and that is the motivation behind this trip. She is bubbly, excited and full of fun energy. Emma, LJs roommate is driving. She is a smilie and hilariously funny lady with excellent comic timing that has the car in fits of laughter. She is also a very smooth driver and, although I am not normally very comfortable with others driving, I find I am very relaxed chilling in the back seat with Alice and Abby.
I have not yet mentioned Abby. Abby is a very well travelled lady and aims to work on every continent of the world (except Antarctica because... Well because it's Antarctica!). All in all we have a car of real travellers of which indefinitely feel the least experienced.
All these women exude an impressive fearlessness in the face of new places and experiences. They are all living abroad and for most this is not their first additional working country. Dubai, Vietnam... The places just get dropped into conversation as if they were referring to Swindon or Leeds. I wonder where this fearlessness originates from. Did their parents instill this? Is it innate to them and within their dna? Is it accrued from being more informed or less? Whatever lays behind this trait, it is impressive and inspiring.
Back to the journey... It is a super fun and beautiful car ride to and through the Comorandels on the upper most east part of the North Island of New Zealand.
The journey takes a few hours before we arrive at a little place called Tairua where our holiday villa, or 'batch!' as they call it here, is up a number of steep hills resulting in some minor bumper scraping 'eeek!' moments transitioning to the steep inclines with a car full of excited women and their luggage.
The 'batch' is really awesome and designed to provide everything the holiday maker may need. The views are also incredible.
We decide to go out for lunch and grab supplies for our weekend. The town of Taiura is small but has all the necessities. We find a lovely little Italian place and stop for lunch, we all chose pizza (three of us gluten free pizza - Hurry! I am not alone!)
We order our food and sit down at a table outside. A big group of Spanish women have come in behind us and are looking at us and chattering in spanish. We question what they might be saying and Abby, who speaks Spanish informs us that they are bitching about the fact that we took our time and all paid separately. We debate saying something back me then decide to leave it and just enjoy our pizza and company 😊 It's good to have other languages under your belt and I think I will step up the Spanish lessons when I get back to England. :)
We go shopping in a shop called 4square which is akin to a tesco metro, for those readers in the UK, and has most things you could need. We decide on risotto for dinner, it's easy and delicious.... Nom!
I see a lot of New Zealand ciders and suggest a cider tasting which seems to go down well and I select a number of the choicest bottles from the fridge section. :)
The cart is filled with delicious New Zealand food and drinks and we are ready to return with our gathering :)
We arrive back to the batch and begin the cider tasting. I will do a separate post for the results of this but it seems our conclusions were very much matched by everyone else as our favourites were sold out just a day later.
Bottle number one with the girls! After we had tasted 4 or bottle the beach becomes an increasingly desirable idea and after almost no discussion we select one of swimwear outfits (or just put it on in my limited case ;) and jump in the car. We could see the beach from our batch and so we were very eager to try it out, particularly Emma who in her own words "can't see the sea without jumping in it." I think it's wise she chose an inland job :)
Emma awesomely driving us to the beach.
Peta (aka me), Alice and Abby ready for the beach!
The journey to he beach was a short one, but ironically sufficiently long for he cloud colour to change and the heavens to open. We got out of the car and into light but still very real rain. Alice was intending to potter on the beach and so became the protector of all material goods while myself and the other SPF 50 and bikini clad women debated our options as a man in full wet weather gear and fishing equipment walked by us eyeing us with a look of confusion and semi sympathy.
We needed to make a decision so I said "Here's the thing! If we don't get in the water, later on we are going to wish...."
I didn't get a chance to finish before LJ was off into the sea.
"Well that didn't take much convincing!" I smile and say to Alice as now all the girls were headed towards the lapping waves and I was trying to undo my sarong knot.
I run into the sea to join the others and it is fun and not cold and we splash about to our amusement and the fishermans confusion.
We emerge from the sea victorious. Fearless in the face of a little light rain! We 'dry off' in the rain with our towels and return to the car passing a confused looking couple who we briefly chat to:
"You should head in for a dip, it's lovely!" They chuckle and we get back in the car and head back to he batch where we get clean, dry and ready for dinner.
Somehow, and I am not sure how, I ended up dictating the risotto assembly. I think alcohol my have influenced this and we five women assemble round the electric pan chatting as Abby prepares and chops, LJ adds things to the pan and I cook ("pokey pokey with wooden stick") and drink more delicious cider.
After a while it is suggested that Alice stirs the risotto for a bit. She does and this is Alice stirring the Risotto. Those that have previously made - and burned - a risotto will understand that it needs a really good deep stir and so Emma was itching to get into the risotto stirring driving seat. The bacon, mushrooms, Parmesan and courgettes were added near the end and it was served up.
It was so delicious we all had to take photos. Here is a photo of Abby taking a photo. :)
Pudding consists of what we have luckily and unsurprisingly found to be some of our favourite things. Namely, chocolate and ice cream :)