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Adventure Weekend – A Series of Unfortunate Events

Throughout the semester, IFSA organizes different programs for us to attend. So Kylie planned an Adventure weekend for us Canterbury students. I was really looking forward to the weekend and figured it would run smoothly since I essentially had to show up. However that was not the case. This will be the recollection of possibly the worst weekend I’ve had in New Zealand.

The plan was to meet at 7:00 am on Saturday morning. So while most people decided to stay in on Friday night, Dylan and I decided to go to a climbing club party. The party was great, however Saturday morning I was just slightly dehydrated and very much sleep deprived (Unfortunate Event #1). I groggily turned on my hair straightener, and started fixing my hair when I noticed it was just a bit too hot. However I just kept going, that is until the straightener started to burn my hair which eventually lead to my straightener shorting out (Unfortunate Event #2). So with a crazy hairdo I ran to meet the IFSA group.

We boarded a train that would take us through Arthur’s Pass and to the West Coast. The early morning wakeup meant that none of us ate breakfast and we were very much thankful that Kylie, our SSC, brought muffins and other various snacks. We stopped at Greymouth for some lunch at a cafe and then all boarded into a van to head up to Punakaiki. Roads in New Zealand aren’t exactly like most roads in the states. They are very narrow curvy roads that are anything but flat. Essentially it’s like you’re riding a roller coaster the whole time. The drive gets interesting when you get a strong wind that tries to knock your car off the road. Needless to say, this ride to Punakaiki had us all feeling quite car sick (Unfortunate Event #3).

The plan for the rest of the day was to visit the pancake rocks and then go tramping (aka hiking). I decided to wear my glasses for the train ride and change into contacts before we went tramping. I brought one pair of contacts with me on this weekend trip figuring that’s all I would need. So while I was fighting off car sickness I attempted to put contacts in my eye. I thought I successfully managed to get my contacts in, with just a slightly uncomfortable right contact. So I battled through the rest of the day with a slight pain in my right eye. We had a great time walking around the Pancake rocks and then enjoyed the tramp/partial rock climbing along the coast.

The Pancake Rocks

A natural bridge at the Pancacke Rocks


Some sweet as patches of algae!

The end point of our tramp

When we got back to the hostel we were all quite eager for dinner. The plan was to get some fish and chips from the nearby pub, but as a vegetarian I had to go and pick out another option. I made the decision to take out my contacts and switch back to glasses. This is when I learned that the pain in my right eye was linked to the missing right eye contact. So I was left with one contact for two eyes (Unfortunate Event #4). I wasn’t too upset. I had a great time tramping and I still had my glasses so I could still see. As we walked to pick up dinner the sun had started to set and it was quite windy but not raining. However, when we left with the takeaway to bring back to the hostel it was down pouring. I silently told myself, “welcome to the West Coast.” The rain prompted the group to start running back. Since I don’t own a pair of glasses with windshield wipers, I decided to take my glasses off and put them in my pocket. Everything was going fine until I heard something hit the pavement, and realized my glasses were no longer in my pocket. At this point the sun had set, it was raining and now I have a pair of glasses in the middle of the road. So I started the search for my glasses and I eventually found them… with my feet. Unfortunate Event #5 –  I now had broken glasses. I could still wear them since it was only the one ear piece that fell off, but they didn’t exactly stay on my head. I was upset, but I wasn’t too disappointed since I only spent about $20 on them. It also helps that can still manage without my glasses, but I still prefer having good vision.

After dinner we headed out again to visit a nearby cave to see some glow worms. The walk in the rain was slightly miserable but at least the cave provided some shelter. It was definitely a cool experience. We walked into the cave and once situated, had to shut off our headlamps. There we stood silently in the dark searching for glow worms. It didn’t take long as we soon found patches of cave that looked like a bizarrely colored night sky.

When we woke up the next morning, we graciously welcomed the currently sunny conditions as we made our way over to kayak. This was the part of the weekend that I was most looking forward to. We dawned some wetsuits and each hoped in a kayak and by this point I was still upset with the series of unfortunate events, but It didn’t matter. I was finally in a kayak enjoying the beautiful, slightly blurry scenery of New Zealand. This blog post may make it seem as though I didn’t enjoy the weekend however, it was still a great weekend. The burnt hair will eventually grow out, and I can replace my straighter and glasses, and I can still see since I have enough contacts. Thanks Mom for your generous shipment of some extra pairs of contacts!




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