Wellywood!

With the most pleasant hitch of our life in our back pocket, we were promptly picked up by our Wellington hostess, June, who is… the best! Pure sunshine. One of the finest things about having a lady for a host is that women appreciate a good view. Doug and I chase good views with the same unapologetic giddiness with which a sheepdog chases sheep (fresh off the farm, prepare yo’ self for some sheep analogies), especially sunsets, which are my meth.

June took us all around the city, from one ridiculous view to the next; Wellington reminded me of a bigger, cleaner San Francisco, which is, to quote Andy Sandberg imitating Nicholas Cage, “High Praise.”

It was getting late so June recommended Chinese food, beers, and some reality TV… all things we don’t hate. We’ve really enjoyed all the advertising in this country, especially this gem… “You know I can’t grab your ghostchips!”

Now that is QUALITY; much better then, “If you drunk drive, you’ll get pulled over, have to roll down your window, and your car full over beer will start pouring onto the cop!”

Day two began with more views and the Te Papa museum, which gave us a solid grasp NZ culture, and was good, clean, free, fun as we ran around the place sharing freshly learned facts—we all agreed that parents in Colorado and/or Washington must be way more excited when their kids recommend going to some museums… so many interactive activities!

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Doug going HARD on some selfies

The next stop was the Weta studios, the people responsible for the graphics in all the Lord of the Rings movies… but more importantly, they have statues of characters we could take a bunch of selfies with. Wellington is now home to Peter Jackson and James Cameron; the hawt rumor is that “Wellywood” will one day rival Hollywood… we shall see!

Knowing that we enjoy a good afternoon cordial, June took us for some fish n’ chips right on the beach and then to a few more bars in the inner harbor. One of the beautiful consistencies of New Zealand is how clean their water is; even in their capital’s inner harbor, the water is a beautiful blue (NOT littered with Baltimore eels aka homeless men’s condoms), clean enough to dive into, and they even have a platform to jump off, so that is what Doug did!

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He dried off and we headed to a super trendy spot to, wouldn’t you know it, take in more views, discuss our goals for the year ahead and have a few more beers. As we discussed,  I spotted a group of kids that looked American. I looked closer and noticed we had met these pats before… destiny was waving back at me as I yelled, “Ayoo Charlie!” from the second-floor balcony.

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“And ma whole crew is loungin'”

Sure enough, it was Charlie, Marty, and Ira, three American men we had met during the world record skinny dip… which doesn’t sound gay at all! (we tell people we met setting a world record together, it has a nicer ring to it)! We had discussed combining forces and heading south, as they had bought a car and offered spots to us.

We hadn’t heard from them because we had wifi, they had phones, but fate had brought us together and we agreed to meet up the next day in Nelson. “Things are looking up!”

We also agreed that since it was Friday and we had to catch a 2:30 a.m. ferry the next morning, we should go oh so opposite of soft that evening, and so we did.

“I would never come here if it weren’t for you guys,” June told us, which made me confident it would be a perfectly grimy scene. The beers were cheap (the real reason we requested it) and the DJ could have been the worst… playing songs you’d expect to hear a hygienist singing along to in a dentist’s office.

Despite the poop leaking from the speakers, I waddled over to a couple of German girls and began speaking with them (so scary!). After finding out their names and nationality, it became clear that one was sexy, and one could inspire Orc designs at the Weta studios. Knowing how much Doug love’s the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I opted for the sexier of the two, and my ol’ pal was left to deal with her friend, who’d go on to say,

“Ya, us German girls love to pahty!”

“What kind of musik do yew like? I love ze Beastie Boiz! Do you think DJ will play Beastie Boiz!?”

“Do you like German girls bettah than ze Kiwi girls?”

Putting Doug out of his misery, I exchanged numbers with my German lass, and we headed to the ferry, where we were warned earlier, “If you show up drunk we will not let you on the boat,” ok! Spoiler alert: we got away with it!

South Island here, we, come!

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Moral of the Story: If you told me a month ago we would meet some dudes while skinny dipping, have a good chat, exchange some info, then end up road tripping with them for weeks, I’d tell you… “Hey, they must have some nice hogs!”

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Thumbs Up: Part II

Pleased with the progress we made and the characters we met on day one of our hitchhiking adventure, Rob and I were both eager to throw our thumbs back in the air and continue our journey “SOUTH”. We stopped at Maccas (McDonalds) for some free WiFi the night before and, to our delight, received a message from another Contiki legend named June. She lived just outside of Wellington (the capital of this glorious country) and said we were welcome to come kick it with her. You rock June!

After finally getting a symcard for Rob’s unlocked iPhone (welcome to the Smart-phone world you big dummy), we were back on the side of the road and spent about half an hour before we were picked up by two more pleasant humans who were in Napier doing a little long boarding on the boardwalk. Our new friends appeared to be in their late 20’s, early 30’s and, judging by their appearance, seemed to be of the native kiwi variety.

They were only going one town over, but as I am sure Vin Diesel would tell us in the dramatized Hollywood version of our adventure, if you ask any hitcher, any real hitcher, it doesn’t matter if you hitch an inch or a mile, hitching is hitching. After dropping her friend off, our girl Mon had to make one more pit stop to get changed at her house so we happily tagged along to check out her digs.

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We were both pleasantly surprised by both the inflatable pool in the front yard and the stripper poll in the middle of the living room. Both purchases and the fact that she mentioned she had seen the sunrise 11 out of the last 14 days indicated she also was a “free spirit”.

She went on to tell us they were having a party that weekend for one of her flat-mates and sold it as quite the event. She said they would be sipping on Jungle Juice all day which apparently is a real thing that is brewed naturally and sold illegally, as it is apparently far stronger than the Hawaiian Punch based drink we became accustomed to in #college. Although we were tempted to pull a wildcard and join in on the festivities, we decided to continue trekking and had her drop us off on the side of a main highway.

Before leaving Gisborne, our gracious hosts, Hayden and Kelly, had asked if we were nervous at all about hitchhiking. Jokingly, we responded “Nah, the way we see it going is two hot girls are just going to pick us up in big van with a mattress in the back and we’ll just take turns ‘thanking’ them in the back until we get to Wellington.”

As my ol’ pal Mitch would get high and tweet, “it costs nothing to dream.”

The entertainment of our hitches up to this point had pushed this fantasy out of mind until we were standing on the side of the road and two cute girls drove by with smiles on their faces and room in the backseat. Unfortunately, they continued driving straight past us until… in an unprecedented move (based on the day and a half of hitching we had under our belts) they pulled a double U-turn and before we could really put together what happened, they rolled down their window and asked where we were going.

Although there are times this trip we’ve felt like we’re in a movie, this particular film would be more likely to be seen on ABC Family than Pornhub.com.

In the non “reality porn” version, the car was a four door sedan instead of a van and both girls were a little young and in committed relationships. However, they were also super cool, introduced us to real fruit ice cream (which is a real treat), and were also going to Wellington after spending the week at R&V. After four hours in the car together we became Facebook and Instagram friends so if you guys are reading this now, thanks again for the ride and sorry of the hitch hiking sexual fantasy thing is awkward!

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Like the sweet hearts they were, the girls let us borrow their cell phones to hit up our girl June and then dropped us off at the train just as she was pulling in #purfect #timing.

Moral of the Story: I wish there weren’t as many sickos in the world because hitching is chill.

Thumbs Up: Part I

2013 began well, almost too well, and with the New Year came new adventure. Doug and I didn’t know where we wanted to go, but we figured going south would be a fine idea… we really have no plans. We had been spit-balling the best way to travel through the homeland with our Kiwi brethren, and the overwhelming majority told us hitchhiking was the obvious choice.

“Ye, just put your thumb up and you’ll be sweet as,” sounded like the beginning quote to the horror movie, Rob and Doug Get Brutally Murdered During a Hitch Hike Gone Wrong, but we decided to trust the Kiwi people. At the end of the day, we’re two able-bodied dudes (ex-Division I or is it III? Lax player, and an ex-D-III club hockey player), but more importantly, you don’t get many opportunities to hitchhike in your life.

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Would you pick up these two svelte brahs?

Saying goodbye to our phenomenal hosts and the glorious views was tough, but they dropped us off on a main road and wished us luck. We put our backpack down, held up a sign that simply read, “SOUTH” and threw our thumbs in the air (it felt very cool!). Not one minute had passed before a lady pulled over in her ol’ hoopty and hollered, “I’m going to Wairoa, hop in! Oh, and can one of you drive? I don’t have a license.” Ok!

Though the red flags were certainly there, so was the adrenaline of our first hitch, so we hopped in. I felt confident I could stay on the left side of the road and hoped our pick-up hadn’t lost her liscense because she murdered a hitchhiker… fingers crossed! Our hostess was in her 20’s, had island skin and a bunch of questions. She did not stop talking the entire 2-hour drive; she was in fact a very nice lady, and kept referring to herself as a free spirit. “I have 50 missed calls. I don’t want to talk to anyone, I’m a free spirit!” Ok!

She proceeded to talk to us about an abusive ex-boyfriend, the fact she is a professional rapper, and how she had snacked on three E-pills the night/morning before. It was now obvious she was still enjoying the effects of the drug and I was glad I was the one driving.

“I’m not afraid of death. I wouldn’t care if one of you guys killed me right now…”

WOAH WOAH WOAH! How did THAT come up in conversation? And she said it with a smile. I kept driving, trying to ignore the statement; we began to realize her definition of ‘free spirit’ is identical to our definition of ‘crazy lady.’

Though driving on the left side of the road while listening to some radical banter served as challenges, I was doing a solid job behind the wheel, and the views were beautiful. I had my right arm out the window and it was getting COOKED by the sun (the NZ o-zone layer is thin, deli-cut ham, thin).

I looked down to see if I could move it into some shade when I heard our lady friend, Kyrsa, yell real loud… I looked up to see us headed straight off a cliff turn… Oh nooooo! (are Rob and Doug’s ghosts writing this blog?!?!?!?!)

Suspense….

More suspense…

I yanked the wheel right, as Doug and Kyrsa screamed, managing to avoid a quick end to 2013. After a deep breath, I asked Kyrsa, “Why did you scream? I thought you weren’t afraid of death…. Ha!” we had a laugh and continued on.

She dumped us off at a gas station on a main road, we thanked her profusely, and the thumbs were back up (we would later find out the town she dropped us in, is known for it’s gangs… thanks again Kyrsa!).

Dude-that-lady-was-out-of-her-damn-mind’s were exchanged while we waited, and after thirty minutes, a kid picked us up, “I’ll bring you to Napier,” ok!

This time around, we landed on a stable human. Sandy, a curly headed 18-year old dude, was a spirited fellow who had also enjoyed the glory of R&V. The conversation had less to do about murder and more to do with music and babes (my favvvvvvv!).

Sandy, that fahckin legend, managed to hook up with three different girls, all three nights! We asked him the obvious question, “What do girls smell like?” and then a less obvious question, “How’d you do it?”

“Ah, the Kiwi girls love a bit of charm, and you have to put in some work.” Dually noted!

The hours went by quick, and it was a shame we couldn’t spend more time with the kid, wise beyond his years, but the night was coming and we had made it half way down the coast.

We landed at a lovely hostel where we were greeted by an omen, the sign below.

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Though the day was strange, it was interesting, and we were excited to throw the thumbs up the next morning.

Moral of the Story: Hitchhiking is like life, which is like a box of chocolates, which are always mysterious!

NZ NYE: Part II

“New Year’s Eve is NEVER disappointing!” –Skip Bayless

Skip Bayless, the perennial #1 seed in everyone’s preseason top-25 hit list poll, once again, makes a good point (for any girls reading, this is a joke for the boys, he’s a big idiot).

Luckily, our gracious Kiwi hosts gave us a glorious day and a night to boot. On our Contiki trip Hayden told us about the festivities “Yea, it’s basically a music festival, people camp out, it’s right near the beach, and it’s always a pretty good time.”

Once again, our good pal had harshly undersold the Kiwi lifestyle. R&V was nothing short of magic, and for three nights we enjoyed the euphoric atmosphere… for Free.99

Tui-time would come to an end (WOOH beers), we’d hop in Tommy’s van, or the town bus, where we’d sing along with all the other excited souls. At one point, a group of Maori boys found out we loved the Hakka, and began performing it for us… beautifully executed. We then started hollering “Heyyyyy, heyyy baby. WHO, HA,” which would get the bus literally rocking, to and fro’.  (Just like ze oktabahhhfesht ya!)

All three nights we’d arrive all fired up, walk through beautiful vineyards, babes LeFt and RigHt, then into the festival, where the stages were wedged between rolling hills and the trees were straight out of that scene in Lord of the Rings that lasted way too long… we didn’t hold that against them. It was like nothing I had ever laid mine seafaring eyes upon!

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Thousands went from stage to stage, dancing, rejoicing, mouth-kissing and enjoying the mix of Mother Nature and Father Wobbles. The theme song of the weekend was Icona Pop’s I Love It, which they performed and performed well. DJ’s including good ol’ Knife Party kept us dancing like yacked-up robots and a man by the name of P-Money (the only person to ever achieve success after using the nickname algorithm, (syllable of your first name) + Money), played non-stop hip hop classics (DMX).

When midnight came round on NYE, the fireworks exploded above us—it was pure joy. Though the two of us didn’t find midnight kisses (on purpose according to TMZ) we hugged our Kiwi brothers and sisters and both agreed, “2013 is not going to suck.”

I could go on for days, but the video below does a proper job capturing the spirit of the festival (they also have clips of the rock slide and waterfall).

“It’s 5 o’clock in the morning,” came quick, after dancing super hard, getting on stage, (“Please don’t do that again”-a security guard) and we headed back to Hayden and Kelly’s on a bus full of sleepy heads. Once we got back, we decided to make good on our promise to see the sunrise (a promise sealed with blood).

As it began creeping up, we headed to the beach, and wouldn’t you know it, we found a group of ten kids sitting around a bonfire, one of them playing some jams on his guitar… once again, almost too good to be true. Side note: If I could compare my New Zealand experience to any book, it would have to be Matt Christopher’s, The Boy Who Only Hit Homers.

They were local kiwis, and good souls (have yet to meet a ‘deeeeekhead’ kiwi yet). Naturally, I could let the guitar player get ALL the ‘attentions,’ but I didn’t want that, so I played them an American classic, and wedding favorite, “Bitches Aint Shit,” which they enjoyed.

The first sunrise of 2013 poked it’s head out, and it couldn’t have been more perfect.  Doug and I took a photo hand in hand, to serve as a reminder to TMZ that we’re just friends, and once again we reaffirmed the solid belief that, “2013 will NOT suck.”

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“Doug, when did your hands get so soft?”

Moral of the Story: If Skip Bayless was referring to New Year’s Eve in New Zealand, then I would have to agree. It is never disappointing.

NZ NYE: Part I

I don’t think I am dropping a bomb on the blogging world when I say, in general, New Years Eve is consistently the most over hyped day of the year. It’s cold, it’s crowded, and people spend way more money than they normally would to have way less fun.

The fact that this post is being broken up into two parts should be an indicator that this is not the story of our new year’s eve. We had ourselves a full day of activities taking advantage of the fact that, on this side of the world, New Year’s Eve hits right in the peak of summer.

The first activity on the agenda was rock sliding. About 45 minutes away from ol’ Hayden and Kelly’s house is this massive natural waterslide (think waterslide only instead of being man made, it’s natural). People from all around the area gathered with inflatable tubes, boogie boards, air mattresses, and whatever else they could dig up to give them a little bit of cushion against the rock slab they were sliding on.

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There were a couple of sickos that tried going down on their own two feet, but on the scale from 1-Extreme that hit the too extreme mark for us (classic American soft cocks).

Instead, our group took the four guys, one slightly ripped air mattress approach and couldn’t have had much more fun doing it. After countless runs down the slide, a bunch of scraped knees, and a whole lot of giddy laughter (there’s been a lot of that this trip) we decided to lay low for a little bit.

Strapped with a Chilly Bin (chill Kiwi slang for a cooler) of Coronas and a couple bags of chips we just posted up and enjoyed the unreal scene around us. Thirsty for culture and knowledge, we asked to learn ancient Kiwi secrets from our gracious hosts.  Most of these “secrets” ended up being different variations of opening beer bottles with nearby objects that, we soon learned, was an essential skill to be accepted as an honorary Kiwi.

Close by the waterslide was another natural beauty, this time in the form of a 40 ft waterfall. According to Hayden, people climb to the top of the waterfall and jump off, but when we got up there, no jumping locals were in sight. There was one guy at the bottom that appeared to know what he was talking about, but with the height and noise of the waterfall, we had to trust his hand gestures and our guts (#trustyourgut) that we were not about to jump to our deaths. Luckily, for our lives and this blog’s sake, we both survived the jump and became chiller bros for it.

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On our way back from the waterfall our hosts pulled a real fast one on us and made a stop off at a local vineyard for some wine tasting and the most delicious and classy snacking of our young lives. For two kids that have literally been asking random strangers if they are going to eat their crust for the last four months, six different kinds of wine and every cheese combination you can imagine was a pretty unreal change of pace.

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In between reds and whites, we joined a group of 10 year old children for our first game of backyard cricket (crushed them, obviouslyyyyy). Still a little hazy on alllllll the rules, but with no ESPN and a whole lot more cricket coverage on TV, I think we are both starting to understand what was once just a straight nonsense game.

After we had enough saying things like “Ahhhh 2008, great year, great year” and “Would you look at those legs run!!!” we headed off the vineyard. Making a quick stop at the ATM and Liquor store, we got the only supplies needed moving forward and geared up for what would prove to be a most glorious Part 2 of Rob and Doug’s Excellent New Year’s Eve.

Moral of the Story: Don’t stress out trying to make elaborate New Years Eve plans at the city’s hottest club (Boooooof), just come to New Zealand you dummies!

Gissy Gold!

Every day in Gissy-Land would begin with a morning surf with Hayden and Tommy (writing that sentence almost felt… too chill). I use the term surf quite loosely, because Doug and I would get absolutely dominated by waves as we tried to paddle out with the big boys, occasionally standing up on some baby waves—regardless, it was glorious. The water was obnoxiously clear, the views were insane, and the two of us get giddy in any type of water. At one point we checked out early and Hayden noticed us having fun in a different sort of way…

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Unfortunately no photos were taken while we road beefy tubes… BUMMER!

“I look back during the surf and see you two playing shot-put with sand, looking like you’re having the time of your life! Sweet as!”

We are a BIT different than the other boys at school!

‘Sweet as’ is a Kiwi term you hear all the time, and when you first hear it, you ask, “Sweet as? Sweet as… Sweet as what? Please, finish your sentence.” Kiwi’s do in fact know how to form a proper sentence, it’s just their way of saying, “Right on!” and is pronounced, “Swit is.”

In other NZ news, there is a conflict playing out in NZ politics that is eerily similar to the clash between sky’s and urchins in the critically acclaimed film, Johnny Tsunami… it is probably more comparable to the conflict between the European immigrants and the Native Americans in our U.S. of A., depending on who you ask.

The Maori peoples (pronounced Mary) were some of the first inhabitants to the island, and have been pushed around by settlers for a good while. Much like the sky’s/skiers claiming the ski-mountain as their own, the Maori peoples are now claiming the water, air, and land. As in, they own it, it is theirs, which doesn’t seem to be all that reasonable. If you end up on the wrong beach, you might get a good ol’ beating to the point where you are no longer living. Obviously, there is much more to the story, but that’s the tale told to us, so we’re going to believe it!

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TUI’s and views for days!

After the morning surf, we’d eat some eats, play some drinking games with Tui’s, head out for another afternoon surf, then drink some more Tui’s… it should be no surprise that New Zealand is located close to Antarctica (the chillest place on earth) because they have a good thing going. We’d watch the sun dip a bit, then make our way to Rhythm and Vines… for dance and more fun!

Moral of the Story: Any country who’s biggest political conflict can be loosely compared to Johnny Tsunami, is pretty, damn, chill… swweet as!

Hogs Out, Record Set

One of the chillest things about traveling is you get to do a bunch of things you wouldn’t normally get to do. For some people that means trying some different foods or learning a new language. For Rob and I this meant setting a World Record for being a part of the World’s largest skinny dip group,…obviouslyyyy.

When our friend Tommy first told us they were attempting to break the world record at the R&V music festival we both immediately knew this was something we had to be a part of.  Admittedly, I had slightly more reservations about getting naked in public than Rob who, as many of you know, has none. That said, the realization that I was in New Zealand and was never going to see any of these people again quickly reminded me of the classic Abraham Lincoln quote, “Life’s too short to go hogs in.”

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Would ya just look at those American poopers!

With our founding fathers in mind, we stormed the beaches of Gissy only to find that the skinny dip had been pushed back a little bit due to the Bikini contest going on inside the festival. While watching the most unenthusiastic and utterly confusing bikini contest I had ever seen, we began customizing our birthday suites with the phrases “Made in America”, “USA”, and a couple of other Sharpie subtitles on our backs.

When random, male audience members were getting 10 times the amount of applause for exposing themselves than the booty dropping girls on stage, it was clear we were both in a much different country and that people were itching to set that world record. Slowly, people began filing out of the festival and onto the beach with each participant scanning their festival wristband on the way to the waiting area to ensure the accuracy and legitimacy of the coveted record.

Since we were amongst the first 20 people, we had plenty of time to get fake tats from the event’s sponsor “Skinny” mobile. The excitement continued to grow and before long, the first wave of hogs came out. Standing there I couldn’t help think how much more comfortable I would feel if I were drunk (both dead sober) and/or had a massive dick, but like my man Mac Miller says, “You’ve gotta work with what ya got”. The board shorts came off and it did not take long for things to start getting rowdy. We quickly realized we were the only guys wearing crew necks, everyone else were sporting hoodies… this is a circumcision reference.

Within minutes you had a group at the front doing a naked hakka (the warrior dance NZ’s rugby team does before every game) and this legend ninja ginger doing an ass naked rumplestillskin (smashing a beer over his head a chugging it) while standing on his naked friends shoulders. Looking back, this act smashed any boundary of homo eroticism I or the members of the Philly crew were comfortable with; however, constant chants and quick peaks at some of the female participants didn’t provide too much time to dwell on it at the moment.

Rob and I made our way to the front row and as the count down ended, set off with over 500 other guys and girls (mostly dudes) for the cool waters of the Pacific ocean. In order for it to be counted as an official record all the participants had to stay in the water for 10 minutes. This left plenty of time for people to body surf into a sea of naked bodies, jump on a floatable trampoline the sponsors provided, or just have some oddly casual conversations with a whole bunch of other naked ass people.

Before you knew it, the 10 minutes was over and riding the high of being world record holdings Rob and I skipped past the filming crew and straight to the crowd of pervs (including our friends) who decided to watch and not participate. Hollering lines like “The Cialis didn’t work, it’s still really small” Rob and I posed for our own little photo shoot to document the glorious and triumphant afternoon.

After collecting our clothes we were warmly embraced by our Kiwi friends and their excitement and regret they hadn’t participated themselves only confirmed what a good call it was not to pass up on this unique and epic opportunity.

Moral of the Story: When the ocean water is that cold everyone has a small hog, all that matters is having big enough balls to get in there.

Gissy Gissy Gissy!

Touching down in Kiwi-Town felt good, and we were greeted by, “Welcome to Middle Earth,” signs, which felt very good. After a quick flight on an 8-seater, we landed in Gisborn (Gissy, Gissy, Gissy, OI, OI, OI!) on different flights due to the great ticket mix up of 2012 and were greeted by the beautiful couple, Hayden and Kelly, who we met on our Contiki trip in the beginning of the summer.

That trip is pretty much the reason we pulled the trigger to head west; after spending two glorious weeks touring western USA with many Kiwis and Aussies, we figured, let’s see what those legends can do with home-field advantage. Hayden had also told us about a New Year’s Eve music festival called Rhythm & Vines, that sounded perfect, and he mentioned that he lived near the beach. Yes, and yes!

Driving through Gissy (pronounced Gizzy) gave us a healthy taste of what was to come—the town was full of tents, there were people/campers everywhere, and there was a caution sign for the festival that simply said, “Don’t be a dickhead.” Gisborn’s population (30,000) doubles during R&V weekend, so it’s straight buzzing.

When Hayden and Kelly casually told us they lived by the beach, they really undersold it. They live on top of a cliff that overlooks one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and the Pacific Ocean stretches as far as my eagle eyes could see. This was paradise. Yes, we were happy to be here.

View from the porch... come on!

View from the porch… come on!

After taking in the ridiculous views and having a few cordials on the porch, we met a man named Tommy, who would help show us one of the best weekends of our lives. He recommended that we don’t pay $300 for Rhythm & Vines, and he along with Hayden and Kelly could pass back their bracelets… ok!

R&V began the next night, the 29th, but Bay Watch or B-dubs was that night, and there was going to be some homegrown talent playing right by the beach… ok! We piled into Tommy’s van (vans were everywhere, every group of friends seemed to have a team van, great way to cruise about) with our squad and headed to B-dubs.

The scene was already electric, you can tell a lot about an event by the line in, and everyone was fired up, sun-kissed beauties LeFt aNd RigHt. We stormed in, grabbed a few RTD’s (Ready To Drinks, not Rob Transmitting Diseases, basically canned Jack and Cokes) and followed our ears to the Jaeger (a German liquor you can mix with red bull) truck that had created a mini-rave in the corner of the park. As we walked up, Azalea Bank’s 212 came on, and the boys started dancing super hard-like.

The dancing did not get softer, but we decided to go see a Kiwi group called Six60 on another stage. Despite having no prior knowledge of the band, we bought in pretty quick because those boys can put on a show (we’ve become big fans). They were a group of friends who lived together in college, apartment number was 660, and formed a very successful band, much like me and my pals from a place called 6107…

The night was filled with more dancing, a DJ named Optimus Grhyme came on a wobbled around a bit, and before we could rave dangerously, we hopped into Tommy’s van and headed back to our home base in paradise.

Moral of the Story: Not every group of friends in college who live together and happen to play instruments and talk about making a band, and competing in a school-wide battle of the bands actually make it, but when they do, they tend to put on a good show.

Let the Games Begin?

“I’m sorry sir, but the name Doug Prusoff is nowhere in our system…”

Hmm, what’s that you say ol’ boy? This combination of words is NOT what you want to hear from an Air New Zealand employee, as you are riding the high of starting, ‘an excellent adventure’ at LAX airport. We pulled up to the check-in desk, looking, feeling, smelling like a MILLION buck ahhhh, but, there we were–the Air NZ employee was frowning down at his computer, avoiding eye contact with the two of us, who were looking at each other with disbelief. This was not on the itinerary, the itinerary that has one thing on it–things will just go very chill-like.

The Hobbit decorations at the check in, which told us, “Put you Baggins here!” became less funny, as we scrambled to get Doug on the last plane of the night (The Hobbit was all over the place, which was an omen of magical things to come!). The last thing we wanted was to have to go back to Playa Del Rey with our tails between our legs looking like real amateurs; two kids who planned to travel the world, but couldn’t manage to leave the country.

Luckily, the Hobbit’s magical spirit was in the air, and our friends behind the counter (Isaac you legend!) somehow got Doug a seat, next to this ol’ boy, and we were off to the Island of the Long White Cloud before Gandalf could say, “Fly, you fools!” The safety video was filled with Lord of the Rings characters, which was a real treat, their TV/Movie selection was beautiful, and drinks were unlimited.

Episode of Californication–bourbon drank.

Episode of Californication–bourbon drank.

This continued until our flight attendant/cocktail waitress, told us to, “Slow down.” Slow down? GIRL! We aint freshman Kappa betches at an 80’s party, asking for 6 more cups of jungle juice, lolz! We continued to add to our nice bourbon blanket, and we giggled as the turbulence lulled us to sleep.

When we awoke, we only had two hours left in the flight… easy floating!

As we softly landed in New Zealand, the two of us were beyond relieved that we were now in a glorious country, not at the NZ check in for the second time in 12 hours.

“Things are looking up!” I said, after Doug and I exchanged a chill Cali-high-five (sideways high-five, followed by a pound, relaxed fist of course, not the javelin or the pound you get from a Dad trying to be cool.)

Moral of the Story: Traveling is about learning from your mistakes… I think we will be doing a lot of learning!