By the way, if you're looking for a cheap way to spice up any special occasion, add two types of public transport and a blindfold. Passersby were really into it, shouting, No don't go that way! Danger! Josh wouldn't stop guessing where we were going, and every time he got close I'd laugh nervously, so then I had to start laughing nervously at everything just to cover it up. It turns out I can be a really terrible liar. We got a little carried away with the game walking from the bus to the ferry, and with 5 minutes left to board we had to run to the boat. At this point I could have let him take the blindfold off, but I hate to ruin a surprise, so...instead I put one hand on my shoulder, grabbed the other and said, Josh, we're going to run.
We landed on Waiheke and went straight to ziplining. Here's what I've learned from the experience: it's mildly terrifying for the first few seconds, then it's amazing. You stabilize. For a moment, careening through the air becomes normal. You look down at the canopy dipping far below you and it's breathtaking. Then your realize you're rushing at high speed towards a platform on the other side and your heart jumps into your throat like you're seconds from death. So that's the formula: mildly terrifying, then awesome, then actually terrifying.
I found the key to this last part was turning around at the last moment so you come in backwards and you can't see when you're going to stop.
If there's no time to react, there's no time to panic.
They're not kidding when they say it's addictive. That moment in the middle--that moment of amazing when you're flying through the air like a god--that's the part you come away with. After three different runs, we didn't want to stop. We were ready to zipline everywhere.
Here's the fastest zip we did, at 60 kilometers per hour. I'll warn you, I scream through a lot of it. You can tell the part when it hits "amazing" by when I start laughing in between screams.
Things go slightly wrong.
The road to fanciness is long and confusing.
Again, a Kiwi saves the day.
Waiheke has its more modest side: it's home to plenty of lower income families and what is possibly the world's smallest used car dealership (a grand total of three cars), but it's also rife with vineyards and million dollar holiday homes. The restaurant where we had dinner was firmly on the fancy side of the spectrum.
I have to admit, as much as I live for good food and beautiful scenery to look at while I'm eating it, expensive restaurants make me feel like I'm taking a test. How do I need to speak/sit/stand/walk/order/pretend not to care about the prices/use a fork to pass? And is "pencil shavings" something I want my wine to taste like? I asked the waitress, and she didn't really get it either. The food was really delicious, but not so delicious that we didn't enjoy the next morning's normally priced breakfast even more. (Although it's really hard to compete with breakfast. #BreakfastIsSexy) The best part was the otherworldly view. I know I keep saying it, but I can't stop thinking about how bright the sun is here, and how completely that changes the mood of everything it touches. It turns shadows on the wall into detailed, ever-changing landscape paintings, and it makes everything around you seem slightly off, so it feels possible that you're not on Earth at all--that you're actually having dinner off somewhere on Naboo or in King's Landing or in some other fantasy world--that what you're looking at is not the sun, it's a star.
And we didn't walk home under the moon. It was a moon.