Drive: Unintentional Roadtrippin'

Vrooom-vrooooom. Insert the soundtrack to the movie, subtract the gore, add some friends and family, and ... yea, alright, not at all like the movie, eh? However, we did do quite a bit of driving on the trip around the north island, from Wellington up to Auckland, with plenty of stops, including Dannevirke, Raglan, Napier, and Hobbiton, certainly not in that order, nor without repeats. Let me be clear: the roads in New Zealand are not straight. They are winding. Very, very winding. And I thought the signs at the airport were just being facetious...

Luckily, motion sickness is generally not a problem, particularly if the driver is smooth in transitions (unlike Asian or NYC cabbies) and/or I am in the front seat. In any case, driving was certainly the way to see the country. It would be quite difficult to gain full appreciation for the landscape by flying over it, unless of course you were jumping out of the plane. Beyond seeing the holy-crap-this-is-all-photoshopped scenery, driving is also a national pastime for Kiwis, a pastime which I was glad to participate.

Even though the vistas during the ride were pretty darn good, the destinations were also superb. Pressed for time, no significant days were spent in any one destination, so I dub this part of the trip as the 'lookie' trip, though that is not entirely accurate. Eating is an activity, right? I certainly did more than my fair share of that. Looking at others' plates, I get food envy and it helps me none that all present at meal times are at least a whole foot taller than me, while the boys have over a hundred pounds on me. John-O's other half, Jane, is also guilty: she whips up a mean feast with all the trimmings, including multiple desserts. How am I supposed to restrain myself?

In attempt to combat the calorie intake, we did a bit of walking around some of the North Island's surfing beaches. Too scared to go into the cold water, I have yet to attempt surfing, though I do enjoy watching surfers and the activity remains steadfastly unchecked off my 30 before 30 list. The beaches in New Zealand are awful in comparison to Seaside Heights in New Jersey. I like my beaches crowded with people, rough with crappy sand, and water as brown as...well...Ha, just kidding. All I know is that the next time my travels bring me to New Zealand, I'm assured scallop diving and a combination of beach and boat barbeque. I don't forget promises like that.

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