Today I took an hour long trip to Raglan with a few of the people I met. After a short hour drive, on which I realized there are no "stop" signs in New Zealand, but only "Give Way" signs, we arrived in the town of Raglan. It gives off a laid back surfing-town vibe with small shops and markets lining the streets. We grabbed some snacks for the beach and then went to explore. It was a generally sunny day, and although it was very windy and around 50 Fahrenheit, we waded in the water. I was surprised to find that the water was not too cold. It reminded me of the Atlantic Ocean in spring. After we waded and got some pictures in the water, my friend and I took a walk down the beach collecting shells. Among the things you can find on the beach are completely whole shells, strange worms, blue jelly substances, large driftwood, and volumes of stationary rocks. By the time we came back and ate some of our snacks the group was ready to go. We stopped at a few viewpoints to take some more pictures on the way home.
Once we got back into Hamilton, we met up with a couple of our friends that had just walked into town. We walked around downtown for a little while only to find that most of the stores close early on Sundays. We ended up finding a New Zealand gift shop and a 2 and 5 dollar store that were open so we went in to look around and get out of the cold. We were all hungry so we went to a pizza and sub shop and got some lunch. I ordered a pizza with green and red peppers, pepperoni, cheese, and tomatoes. One personal size pizza was only five dollars which is one of the best deals I have seen for food so far in New Zealand. Once the pizza was cooked, the man behind the counter asked us to pick a sauce off of a list of about ten sauces. I picked sweet chili and he decorated the pizza with a spiral of the syrupy sauce. We sat down on steps surrounding a small town center to eat the pizza. The combination of spicy, cheesy, and doughy was very good and probably one of the best foods I've had in New Zealand thus far. The wind was blowing so hard in the town square it was almost hard to eat.
Walking from downtown to the University takes about a half hour and it is a very enjoyable walk. When I got home I went to the gym on campus. I was interested to see that all of the machines are the same as in American gyms. They put a large emphasis on having a towel with you when you work out - you can't exercise without one. The architecture of the gym is set up in an interesting way with thin staircases leading up to stretching and weight rooms while the main cardio room is lined with machines in rows. Everything seems to be crammed into as small an area as possible.
When I got back to my flat, almost all my flat mates were finally back and ready for the start of semester B! There is a South African girl, two Kiwi boys, a German girl, and me. The one flat mate I still have not met is a Girl from China. We all had dinner together and talked and got to know each other. Then we watched a movie. The flat is so much livelier than it was earlier in the week! It is great to have everyone back! Tomorrow is the start of O Week so there should be some exciting things going on around campus.