White water

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One of the things I wanted to get off my bucket list was going white water rafting. That’s what I did yesterday on the Kaituna river near Rotorua, NZ.

I was picked up from my hostel. Then we picked up about 10-15 Chinese from a hotel. They were traveling with a bunch of little kids and most of them didn’t speak English. They were very loud and excited. It was quite chaotic in the bus towards the river.

The driver was a cool guy. I liked the way he messed with the Chinese woman  who sat next to him and kept asking questions. He said ‘The river is very safe. We have a very high survival rate of 60%.’ And to every safety related question the answer was “Very dangerous” with a big smile. It was funny as hell.

After our short bus trip we put on our gear – a helmet, safety shoes and life jackets. The Asians took lots of pics. I was the only one who didn’t fit in with them. I went rafting alone with 5 Chinese men but they had their fanclub of women and kids with them. We got a bit of training and after a Karakia (Maori prayer) we got into the boat. Since I was the only one who understood English I was lucky enough to be in the front of the boat. Sweet!!!

The first drops were nice and small and we practiced paddling and positioning in the boat during big waterfall drops. All of this was quite entertaining. In fact it was the most fun I’ve had in quite a while.

Then the river went silent. The ‘driver’ of the boat said that place was called the quiet before the storm. We went ashore with the boat and the guy said this is the last place on the river where you can turn around. There was a trail going up the riverbank for people who chickened out. Another Karakia later and we were in the river again going down the 7 m waterfall drop (the biggest one on this river). Before the drop the instructor said three scenarios can happen after that drop:

1) The boat will stay nicely afloat with everybody in it. (Boooooooooooooring)

2) The boat will stay afloat but some of you guys will fall into the water and will need to do some swimming to safety (still boring)

AND.

NUMBER.

THREE.

3) The boat will flip over and everybody falls into the water. And when he did the rock-n-roll horns with his hands… saying that this is the coolest of our options.

I was secretly hoping for option #3 but thought that one wasn’t very likely.

We started paddling towards the waterfall, got into position for the drop and off we went all screaming like little schoolgirls AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We slammed headfirst into the water. I think the whole boat submerged for a couple of seconds and then as it bounced out of the water it flipped over. It was so cool! Just look at the horror on our faces in the pictures below. I loved it. This is living kids! I felt alive!!!

One guy was floating around the boat with his face in the water. I thought he lost consciousness or something and reached out to get his head out of the water (see pics). Luckily he snapped out of it and was OK. That guy scared the crap out of me.

Alrighty, we helped eachother into the boat and continued down the river and other waterfalls. The journey was finished by some ‘surfing’. We got the nose of the boat close to a small waterfall and if positioned correctly the boat would just stay near the waterfall and  would move from side to side (surfing).  Sometimes a lot of water would come into the boat and the nose would get heavy and lift the back end of the boat – that created some cool bumpy action. It was very entertaining. I loved it!

I’m glad I did such an awesome thing on the last day of 2013. It was an amazing experience!

Happy New Year everybody!!!

Ivar the greatest white water rafter in the Big White Cloud

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What happens in Paihia, stays in Paihia

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My first orgy! All the details are a bit hazy but here’s how I remember it. I walked back to my hostel and heard laughter and giggles coming from my room. I opened the door and saw eleven hot naked girls on the bunk beds. They were saying things like “I’ve been waiting for you. Come! Take me…. Take me now!”. And of course I couldn’t say no to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Everybody knows it’s a Christmas tradition in Argentina – it’s called the traditional Christmas  Eve orgy. It’s considered extremely rude to decline such an offer.

It.

Was.

Awesome!

Honestly, that’s how I remember that night.

A merry merry Christmas! I was supposed to go on a road trip with Vera and Tim (from Germany and USA respectively) but Vera’s car started to make a noise and we decided to take the bus instead. We need to take the car to a mechanic. Not a good time for that during the Christmas holidays…

I spent my last night in Auckland at that Latin dancing venue. They had a Christmas party which was a great success. Lots of people showed up and I had a good time dancing with those hot Russian girls. It seemed that almost every second person I danced with was Russian. That was lovely. I had a good time, plus the performances were quite epic.

I did a bit of zouk with one girl – Phoebe – and she was really good to dance with. She followed my lead perfectly. I told her that she’s great to dance with and she just smiled. It turned out she’s a dance instructor at that dancing school. 😀 That’s what happens when you don’t know anybody.

The next day I packed my stuff and took the bus to Paihia. It’s one of those little towns near a nice beach at the Bay of Islands. My plan was to go kayaking and parasailing.

Urupukapuka. I met up with Tim and Vera and we spent one day on Urupukapuka island (the largest island in the Bay of Islands). It was a nice place with lots of beautiful scenery, lookouts and nature. The only crappy thing was that sometimes the track was covered with sheep shit. Literally. We were walking on shit. A bunch of sheep lived on the island and that’s just what sheep do.

I found it funny that the sheep had a fence around them. What’s the fence for? Are kiwis afraid that the sheep will escape and swim to the main land?

We had a good time walking the tracks on the island, had a picnic on a cliff and saw beautiful pohutukawa trees (the trees with the red flowers).

Parasailing. The next day I went parasailing with Tim. Vera was a bit scared or didn’t feel like spending $90 on that. Parasailing was a very nice and relaxing thing to do – you just hang up there in the air from a parachute. I was worried that I’d freeze in the air but it was quite pleasant. Generally a very positive experience – the view was nice and I highly recommend doing it. After all parasailing was the reason why I came to the Bay of Islands in the first place.

Kayaking. The second thing I wanted to do was kayaking. I’ve never kayaked before and this here was going to be my first time. Tim and Vera were staying in a different hostel than me. They had kayaks which were available for free. After my parasailing trip Tim and I walked to his hostel and we saw Vera. She was about to go kayaking with some other German – Jeremy or something was his name. Since I didn’t have any other plans I asked them if I could join them. Vera was ok with that but Jeremy didn’t seem too happy about it. I guess he wanted to spend some private time with Vera 😀

Mwahahahaa !

I’m such a cock-block. 😀

I guess we’re even now Germany. That’s for starting the Second World War.

Anywho, once we got the kayaks to the water Vera became very cautious. We had two kayaks: one single for Jeremy and one double for me and Vera. The wind was a bit strong and Vera was afraid I’d flip over in the kayak since it’s my first time kayaking. She didn’t want to get wet. It took a ridiculous amount of convincing until both of us got into the water. Once I was in the kayak I didn’t really understand what she was so worried about. It seemed like a very safe flotation device and at no time was there any danger of flipping over. I must admit it was quite entertaining in the waves but I imagined it would be more of an adrenaline thrill.

The funniest part was when we got out of the water. We had to carry the kayak onto the trailer but Vera wasn’t able to lift her end of the kayak. It was too heavy. Then one whitehaired elderly lady – at least 60 years old – walked by and offered to help. You should’ve seen Vera’s face. She was all like “No no no no no, I can do it, it’s alright” but she didn’t even budge the thing. It was so funny then the old woman lifted that end of the kayak and helped us get it onto the trailer.

Tim couldn’t join us at the water because he sort of found a job at a restaurant and needed to get to his trial day. We decided to go visit Tim and check out his restaurant but ended up singing carols in front of that restaurant. The local church was offering free cakes, coffee and tea over there. We couldn’t say no to free food. Ok that’s not entirely true – I couldn’t eat any of the cakes because they all had butter and milk in them. So I enjoyed my cup of coffee.

Once all the singing was done we went for drinks at Tim’s restaurant. It was busy and he didn’t seem to like it that much. But I think he got the gig and will probably stay in Paihia. So I won’t be traveling with Tim. 😦 blah blah blah…

Back to the orgy. Uhm… there were 14 people in my room, 11 were girls – 9 from Argentina (it seemed like they all traveled together), one French girl and one Estonian girl. Yes, three men as well (me and two Italians), just to please all the statisticians/mathematicians who might read this and wonder about my math skills. All the lot was a little tipsy. 😀 We had some additional drinks and I was able to practice my Estonian with Taimi because Argentina formed its own Spanish speaking group.

Taimi said that I speak with a weird accent – that’s what happens when I don’t practice my Estonian. The last Estonian I saw in flesh and blood was about a year ago. Tervitused Peeter!

After the traditional orgy I had to change accommodation. I moved into a new hostel and two Finnish girls stayed in my room, so I liked it there as well!

I also saw the Haruru waterfalls and went kayaking again with Vera since there was nothing else to do in Paihia. Later took the bus back to Auckland and now I’m couchsurfing again.

That’s pretty much it!

Merry Christmas boys and girls! I hope you weren’t naughty and got lots of presents from Santa Claus!

Hohohohohohohoho!!!

PS: Lot’s of love to my sister who gave birth to a little princess yesterday.

Auckland New Zealand

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First impressions. Things didn’t start out so well. I was waiting at the Gold Coast airport for the plane to Auckland. As they opened the gates and we went on to board it, the line of people suddenly stopped. Nobody was allowed to proceed. We waited anxiously outside for about an hour until we were told to go back to the terminal. There was something wrong with the plane.

A bit later the airline staff told us a second plane was being fueled up and we’d have to wait for another hour. At least they had free WiFi at the airport. So it wasn’t too bad.

All went well in the air and I landed in Auckland around 2 AM. I spent some quality time at the airport before I headed out towards my hostel.  Check-in was after 2 PM, so I had plenty of time to kill.

I took the bus to the city center and decided to walk to the hostel. The CBD was virtually dead – I only saw homeless people with their red cups begging for money. Not a good first impression.

The weather was also bad – cold, rainy and miserable. Compared to sunny Brisbane this here was a shithole. I hated it.

Sky Tower

I had a bunch of plans for New Zealand. My first task was to find a room to rent. Then find a job and then later do some travelling and touristy things.

The next day I rented a bike and inspected 6 rentals in various parts of Auckland. Biking was great exercise and it gave me a good idea what the neighborhoods were like near my potential new homes. I liked several ones, others were too dirty or I didn’t like the people living there.

One place had 5 beautiful girls as housemates and I thought that would be an awesome place to call home. So I told them I’d love to rent the room but they chose someone else. Same thing happened with another place which had 3 hot females. Looks like girls don’t like me in New Zealand. 😦 I guess I’ll have to try my luck with sheep. 😛

Once were warriors. I hopped from one hostel to another for a couple of days until I found a couchsurfing host – Anna. Her place wasn’t very clean but she was very friendly and also a somewhat weird person. A pic of my room:

20131214_104229

For starters she was an acrobat who performs in a circus. She also used to teach martial arts and is generally a very artistic person. She took me to a circus show. I watched several acrobatics  performances, dancing and a bit of burlesque (girls taking their clothes off to music). Not too bad of a night I must say…

She invited me and another CSer to the beach. I happily accepted. In the morning she gave us costumes and said we were going to play a game on the beach… something about Persians and Greeks.

We drove to a cliff near the beach and were given instructions. It turned out to be a live role playing game. We had about 15 people all in costumes – half were Persians and the other half Greeks. We were going to reenact a war scene where Greeks were chasing the Persians. The task was to catch them, enslave or kill them. The Persians had a minute or two head start and then we started chasing them down the hill. Some sword fighting later the Persians were killed or enslaved. Only one of them got away to the beach.

We climbed down the cliff – it took at least half an hour and then played another game. We were given a story about a treasure being hidden in a cave and were given roles and tasks. I felt a bit uncomfortable throughout the first game so this time I decided to take pictures instead. Anywho… some guys were ordered into a dangerous cave, they dug out a treasure, met a witch and spent some time sword fighting on the beach. It was all a bit confusing.

The place was awesome – beautiful beach and nature, the views were stunning and the cave was really cool. I suddenly discovered that NZ can be wonderful! Check out the videos of me in a cave.

Martal arts. The next day I did a martial arts class with Anna. I’ve never done any martial arts so I thought I’d give it a try. First the warmup – pushups and situps, Then we walked in a circle and did lunges. So far so good. We paired up and started to push each other so that our leg muscles would warm up a bit. It continued like that for a while as we introduced new elements to making the life of the attacker a bit more difficult. I didn’t like the class that much – too much big sweaty men rubbing each other. Plus being pushed around wasn’t that much fun. I won’t be going to a martial arts class any time soon. Not my thing. I’d rather do yoga.

The next day all my muscles were sore from the pushups, situps and climbing that 200m cliff at the beach.

Latin dancing. On my last night at Anna’s place I decided to go do some dancing. Viva Latino had a social dancing night that day. I went there and was positively surprised. For starters the average age of people was younger than in Brisbane’s dancing scene. Also I met five or so Russian girls who were all very beautiful. They reminded me of home and my favorite dancing instructor Jelena. I had a pretty good night dancing, meeting girls and people seemed to enjoy my never-seen-before moves from Brisbane. I loved the salsa performance they had that night too:

Several days later I thought it would be good to do some running. I found a track, the Coast to Coast walkway, which runs for 16 km from one coast to another in Auckland. It wasn’t great exercise because of the frequent stops at traffic lights and because I got lost so many times. I checked out the view from two hills – Mount Eden and One Tree Hill. The last one was the highlight of my day.

Everybody knows New Zealand is full of sheep but it took me about 10 days to see one. One Tree Hill had heaps of sheep and cows as well. I finally felt like I really was in New Zealand.

Now I’m staying with Jason – a new Couchsurfing host – in Albany (North Auckland).

Yesterday I went to Rangitoto island (it’s just a short ferry trip from Auckland). It’s New Zealand’s youngest volcanic island. Visiting Rangitoto was nice – beautiful nature, puhutekawa trees, birds and lots of black lava rocks.

So far I’ve been in New Zealand for a bit less than 2 weeks and I’ve been busy. I will be going on a road trip this Sunday. So next time I’ll tell you guys all about it!

Ivar the Sheeplover

As a door closes

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Close some doors. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they no longer lead somewhere. Paulo Coelho

I’m about to board the plane to New Zealand. I’ve been in Australia for exactly 2 years and it’s been a magnificent time. I’ve made many friends, tried out new things and collected a great amount of awesome memories. Yes, I’ve had my downs but the ups were much greater.

Yesterday’s farewell party was a big success.

I’m so glad I’ve got such amazing friends. I’d like to say thanks to all the people who made my stay in Australia so memorable. Especially:

Oliver: your sense of humor and attitude towards life always make me smile 🙂

Mazza: your lack of comprehension of the English language created many hilarious situations. Thanks for the laugh. 😀

Caroline, Barry, Michelle, Neil, Emma, Paul, Priit and Mihkel it was great knowing you all. I will always remember our trips to Seventeen Seventy and Bargara.

Peeter: you’re one of my best friends and will always be one. I’m glad we could travel around Australia and fondle our guy love.

Rachel:  It’s business time… Every now and then I find myself singing “I’m a lumberjack  and I’m OK…” Thank you for bringing so much laughter and joy into my life.

Benn: the best housemate ever. I loved stealing your food and will miss it a lot. I hope you will be able to get more sleep now that I’m not using the blender at 5AM anymore. Be kind to my guitar and make sure to sell all my shit. Love ya! Please send me food to New Zealand.

Emily: the first girl I’ve asked to marry me. Ever! If only Benn hadn’t been in the way. Maybe in another life 😀 I look forward to stealing your vegan ice-cream. Nom-nom-nom! You’re funny when you’re drunk 😀

My Australian family in Mackay: I’ll miss you Annette, William and Jon. You guys rock!

Estelle, Hugo, Michael: you were my best guests, I enjoyed hosting you and hope that I’ll meet you guys again some time somewhere

Diana and Heather: Princess and H, I will miss your laughter and positive uplifting vibe.

Chamara and Hazem: Was good knowing you guys, take care!

Yvonne: You’ve said more mean things to me than anybody else. Sometimes after talking to you I feel like crawling into a deep dark cold hole and never coming out. I’m amazed at all the things you can say and get away with it because you are so beautiful and innocent and good. I love you very much! 😀 I will miss your facial massages 🙂

Vinh: Petrol, you’re a good friend. I could always count on you. I will have my revenge in Twister!!! XOXO

Helen and Ian: thank you for introducing me to the world of Latin dancing. The lessons were always entertaining and something to look forward to. I will always remember when Helen and Maria danced kizomba… the hottest thing ever 😛

Most of all, I will miss Maria. You know what they say. In every man’s life there comes a time when he gets struck by the arrow of Cupid, by the love of God or the beauty of a woman. Sometimes this love brings thunder into your life and it brings a storm. Think about it… It was a magnificent storm. I cherished every moment. I never got enough of you, I was never bored, it was always difficult to say goodbye to you. You are perfect!  I loved dancing with you, holding you in my arms, caressing your hair, feeding you blueberries and kissing your cold blueberryblue lips. I’ll always remember that smile when I told you I loved you for the very first time. It. Was. Beautiful. PS: Yes, I will buy new clothes in New Zealand… only because I love you, not because I need any.

Thank you for the card everybody!!!

As the plane’s door closes I think of you all. Every one of you played an important role in my life, some more than others but that’s always the case. Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I’m not sure there I was heading and I still don’t. So maybe it’s a good thing this door is closing after all… Fuck you Australia! Here I come New Zealand!!!