Blog Post #1 from Champions Trophy Case Competition in New Zealand
“Not another one!” are not the first words you would expect from a blog about New Zealand, but once you read this you will understand why those three words became our motto today.
The trip over was uneventful, and good, we all slept to some degree, so when we arrived at 5:00am on Sunday morning-today we were feeling pretty good.
Our ambassador, George from the University of Auckland was there to greet us, and he accompanied us to the hotel on this very quiet Sunday morning. We got to leave our bags in one of the rooms and then we decided that we would go find some breakfast. George tried very hard to find a cafe or something that was open in the wee small hours of the morning, and he was successful. In the meantime we had the joy of walking through the very quiet city streets. The area has some resemblance to SF, a downtown crowded with corporations, and the beauty of the bay next to it. After eating, we decided that a little adventure would be good since we didn’t have any obligations until later on in the day.
We decided on a ferry ride to a small island called Waiheke island about half hour away from downtown to Waiheke island. The quiet of the island and it’s beauty just enveloped us-it was absolutely beautiful. As we walked around we tried to decide what we were going to do with our time on the island. At this time I should tell you that we were in the same clothes that we were wearing on the airplane-jeans, sweaters in some cases, basic warm clothing. The temperature was in the mid 70’s and there was a soft breeze coming off the water.
The firs thought was to take scooters around the island, but alas they had sold out, and then we found a bike rental place. The owner, who was originally from Chicago gave us a deal and we rented 5 bikes, helmets, a map and of course some directions. We promised that we wouldn’t have the bikes out too late since we needed to return to Auckland around noon. No problem he said.
So the five of us got acquainted with our bikes-for some this took longer- and then off we went to tour the island. At first this was a carefree ride, making sure we stayed to the left of the road since they drive on the left side. We all were doing very well, the scenery was breathtaking, and then the hills started. My oh my, these hills went from a gentle climb to monsters in a short period of time. We kept looking at the map trying to find our way down to the areas that the bike manager had told us about, and we were somewhat successful. We found the ice cream shop and the lovely Palm beach that he spoke highly of. Warm white sand beaches stretched out before us, the water was clear and blue and not too cold. We decided after our ice cream break that it was time to start heading back.
Since we had just finished tackling a very large hill (going up it of course) there was no hurry to do another hill so we decided that we would get creative with how we would get back, maybe we could avoid the hills. So Davis went to look for an ulterior path and in the process we found a nudist beach. Wow what a sight, and what a surprise…the people were very helpful when we told them what we planned to do, they said we were crazy. We quickly changed our plans and followed the route they suggested which sounded vaguely familiar to the path that the bike man had told us.
Needless to say, we rode up and down lots of hills,(hence, not another one, was said often) beside beautiful scenery and panting at every push of the pedal. We saw a couple of roads more than once-by now we had realized that the map was not accurate-and the people who we saw as we were riding were helpful when we asked directions.
So the noon ferry had left and the goal was to make the 1pm ferry, we finally did. It was grueling at the end but the team pulled through and we celebrated with lots of water and juice drinks once we retired our bikes. We figured that we rode about 20 kilometers in those 3 plus hours in 80 plus heat! No matter it was a fabulous outing. To say that we looked a mess is an understatement. But we made it back, very appreciative of our showers and change of clothes.
So after all of that we went to the registration portion of the case competition and then off to dinner with the other schools. There are 11 schools represented, this includes representation from 4 continents and 7 different countries.
Tomorrow we will have our official Maori welcome, a scavenger hunt and a BBQ. The weather continues to be beautiful.
So not bad for a first day.