April 30

We left Debbie’s early this morning to head down to Whakatane to stay with Joel and Vic, Zhoel’s friends. (We visited them back in December before they had moved into their new house). We were really looking forward to seeing their new digs and to doing some fishing with them.

We decided a meander around Cambridge was in order before we left, since we hadn’t had the chance to explore. We came across a couple of amazing shops, including a specialty food store with hand dipped truffles and giant wheels of cheese, and an antiques store with a massive collection of antique books on New Zealand. When I am no longer on a backpacker budget, I would love to start a New Zealand book collection! We also stopped at a coffee shop called Rouge. Zhoel claims that his coffee was the best that he has ever had. It was amazing coffee.

We left Cambridge (wired from our delicious coffee and enjoying a wonderfully sunny day) and headed toward Whakatane. Along the way, we were amused by signs selling feijoas and sheep poo (yes, at the same place). We had several feijoa trees growing out front of our bach in Waipu. I have become obsessed with them. Explaining their flavor is difficult though, they are a bit like a cross between strawberry and pineapple. You cut open the oblong fruit and scrape out the inside and eat it, leaving the skin and the meat just adjacent to it, which has a bitterness to it.

When we got to Whakatane we headed down to the river mouth to see if there were any fish about. By that time we were quite hungry and we decided to do something that I don’t often do. We ate pizza from an American chain, Pizza Hut. My only excuse is that we were very hungry and the pizza was fast and cheap! We took it down to the beach and had a little picnic.

We arrived at Joel and Vic’s house and got the grand tour. It  is a beautiful home. It is conveniently located near town, but it is still large and has a yard with fruit trees and a garden. Joel had to head off to work and Zhoel and I wanted to go buy wood and supplies to build a platform bed in the back of our SUV. We got the materials with the help of a lovely Bunnings (kind of like Home Depot) employee who became quite invested in our attempt to build a bed. However, by the time we got back it was too dark to build so we decided to get some dinner instead. We had some awesome tacos from a food truck called Taco Taco and then headed to Joel’s work for a beer. After we harassed the chef a bit (Joel, obviously) we headed for a walk along the marina. There were giant kahawai chasing bait fish our of the water. They would jump a foot or so out of the water to escape their attackers. It was insane. I had never seen fish so active before. After watching them for a while, we headed home to see Vic who had just gotten home from work in Auckland. It was lovely to catch up with her.

The guys headed out for a late night fishing mission and we had an early night.

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