Friday, March 2, 2007

Kayaking the Puhoi

I always had a fondness in my heart for libraries, particularly small ones in little villages, but I've never seen one like this before-

Welcome to the town of Puhoi, about an hour's drive north of Auckland, which was founded in 1863 by Bohemian migrants. The town itself isn't much, just the general store, church, and obligatory pub, but it's a rather cute little place to stumble accross. (The library was founded in about 1925 but wasn't open, so alas I couldn't ask how many volumes such a little place holds.)

I went on a daytrip out to Puhoi today with the Auckland University Canoe Club (AUCC), of which I am now a member because it's one of the great ways to get out and see things if you're an international student for cheap. We were in town to kayak the Puhoi River, a narrow and slow-moving little river, out to the ocean about 8km away (pictured on the right). I've kayaked quite a bit but never in a river, and it was quite fun to meander along with the current while watching the unfolding scenes of pine forest and pasture.

And then when we were done we went to the pub for a barbeque. Of course. No one does anything in this country so long as there is not a promise of sausage and beer down the line, I've noticed.

One final story for you though: the banks of the Puhoi are rather muddy, and at the halfway point of the journey we kinda-sorta had a mudfight. I got into the thick of things pretty well and got a subsequent layer of mud in places that I didn't even know existed. And I wasn't completely successful in washing it off either: my t-shirt was rather splattered, and there were definite clots of the stuff in my hair.

Ok, not that big a deal. I hear people pay a lot of money for getting plastered with mud. What was a bigger deal though was when we got back to campus just before the dining hall closes, so I got back to my residence hall without enough time to change or shower before dinner. Do you realize how much fun it is to go into a dining hall looking like you've just come back from the trenches? Particularly when people are half-convinced that "the American girl" is slightly crazy? I had a lot of explaining to do, to say the least, but it was worth it!