2am Wake Up Call.

2am Wake Up Call.

I tossed and turned all night. What is it about needing to wake up early that does this to us? I still felt wide awake and I did the thing you’re not supposed to do, check the time. Well thank goodness I did! My phone was off, it had the apple symbol and the bar going across it, it was undergoing a restart. I jumped up and ran over to my laptop to see what time it was, fearing I overslept. It was 2:10am! My ride comes in 20 minutes, so thank goodness I looked at my phone or I would have been late as I doubt my alarm would ring during an update.

I slept the whole way to Mt. Batur. Fun fact, I don’t think I get motion sickness at night. We arrived and it was still dark. I don’t know why I was surprised, I mean, we were hiking up the mountain to see the sunrise so obviously the sun wasn’t up. I guess I thought there would be a hint of light, but there wasn’t. They handed up each a flashlight and we followed our guide. It was a flat path we were on and the girl next to me said she read on TripAdvisor that girls who are in their 20s and physically fit said this was a difficult hike. We laughed thinking about how easy it was right now. We laughed too soon. Slowly the hike kept getting progressively more difficult. Add in darkness and a flashlight that was losing power, and you began to agree with the review. I stopped saying I think I can see the top because each time I was wrong. However, we finally made it to a big hut with chairs and we hurried to find ourselves a good spot to sit without an obstructed view. All of the benches were wet, but who cares, we made it! But we didn’t. Our guide came over and said the break was finished. We were just taking a break! LOL

Two people in our group stayed there as they were too tired to go on. When we asked how much time was left he said 10 minutes. Well, 10 minutes to the next break I think is what he meant. It was no lie, the hike was difficult and towards the top it got pretty slippery and windy. Although I was tired, I was enjoying the adventure of it all. We eventually did reach the top, and it was clear that the sky wasn’t. The fog was very heavy, so it was evident we wouldn’t be watching the sun come up. While it would have been great to watch and see all of the views, I kind of enjoyed the eeriness that came with being able to see nothing around you. We sat on a blanket, enjoyed some hot coffee and a sandwich and chatted.

On the way down we stopped at a few caves where hot steam was coming out. They say you can cook an egg on it. There were also a lot of monkeys on the hunt for food. To our delight and amusement, there was an “easier” way down. We all agreed to take it and we slowly made our descent down. The fog was lifting and the sun was up and it was fun to see what was actually around us. The whole way down I spoke with two girls from Ireland about all the greatest Netflix shows, magic and comedy and before you knew it we were back to where we started. Our guide parted ways because he was “off to work” (apparently the 6 hour hike was just his morning job) which made me level set how tired I actually was. I guiltily had planned to lounge around and read by the pool the rest of the day. I ended up doing just that and was in bed by 6pm.

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I’m not actually smoking 😉

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Road to Piha: Solo road trip turns into party of three.

Road to Piha: Solo road trip turns into party of three.

I reserved a car for Tuesday because I planned on driving to Piha, about 1 hour from Auckland. The plan was to go solo, it would be a nice quiet road trip. That all changed Monday night when I received a message from Olga, my old roommate from Bondi Beach. She saw that I was in Auckland via Instagram. I invited her to come along figuring  it would actually be nice to have some company, and I enjoyed hers. I was headed to pick her up Tuesday morning when I received another message from Alejandro, a friend I met in Cairns on my diving trip. He was also in Auckland and very quickly my solo trip turned into a party of three!

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We headed out around 10am and thank goodness it was raining or it would have been pretty awkward when my windshield wipers came on every time I tried to change lanes. You see, old habits die hard, especially with driving. As a right-handed driver of 13 years, it took some getting used to having the gears in my left hand and the blinker in my right. I decided to cut bad drivers some slack once I get back home…maybe they are just visiting from a left sided country!

50 minutes later we made it to Piha beach where we walked down the black sand beach. The sand was SO soft! Alejandro is going to sell it as a foot scrub along with the biscuits he brought from home (LOL sorry there will be more inside jokes coming, just ignore). We climbed Lion Rock and made it all the way to the top since we were on our own tour (I read a lot of trip advisor reviews where you make it to the rock, take a picture and then they tell you it’s time to go).

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We hopped back into my car, this time I’m feeling a lot more confident driving, and made our way to Kitekite waterfall. We parked at the base and upon getting out we were approached by a German guy who told us that he was having car troubles. He wanted us to jump his car but I was nervous because it was a rental and what if something went wrong?! Well, my karma jar needed filling so we agreed. We quickly realized that it wasn’t the battery that was dead, so we encouraged him to call his friend he bought it from for help. He did so and we left, hoping it all worked out for him. I think we still get half karma for trying, but I need to read up on the karma jar rules.

It said it was a 20 minute walk to the falls. It was more like 45 minutes between flip flops and photo op breaks. It was a beautiful walk, it was so lush and there was almost no one on the path. Along the walk we discussed our survival capabilities. On the television show Naked and Afraid, you are only allowed to take one thing. What would it be? Well, I would take my camera and Olga would take a reversible bikini. Why? Well, we probably wouldn’t make it the whole 15 days, so we may as well get the free trip and some cute photos for the blog 😉 I would wear one side of the reversible and she would wear the other. While not wearing the bikini we would be behind the camera so it didn’t matter. Alejandro didn’t seem to agree, he said he would take the drinking straw that makes all water clean and able to drink (I actually brought one on this trip but haven’t needed to use it yet). I guess I see his point…

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The waterfall was spectacular. It was so high up with such pretty colors. We wanted to go for a swim in it, but there wasn’t anyone else there. Usually I take a cue from others to determine if it’s safe to swim. Well, I decided to just give it a shot. What’s the worst that could happen? Snakes, that’s probably the worst. Turns out it was fine, so we had a fun time swimming around, and of course, taking pictures. I get the question A LOT on who takes my photos..and there you have it!  Although I’m traveling alone, I DO make friends. I also happen to be really really good at ten-second-timer… We hiked from the bottom them up to the top before we made our way back to the car park.

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with g3 presetFor those keeping track, our German friend with the stalled car was gone so he must have found a tow service. We stopped for lunch on the way back then I dropped off Olga and Alejandro at the airport. I made my way back to Auckland city center and arrived back at Avis Rental Car at 5:59pm because the traffic was so bad (they close at 6pm). I walked back and took a much needed shower to get the mud off of me. As much as I said I like the privacy curtain, it does make it hard to socialize with the people in your room. Two of the four people in my room I’ve actually never seen because I leave before them and come back after them and their curtain is drawn. I wonder if it would be weird if I peeked my head behind their curtain and said hi. Probably. I guess I won’t.