Peter Malcouronne meets the arrivals at Auckland Airport
They promised themselves, back in September when they were sick of studying (and sick of every minute being marred by numbers, ledgers and liabilities), that if they passed their exams - and finished their degrees - they'd head to Southeast Asia for a month. A mini-OE they called it. Two friends having one last adventure before life gets serious.
However, our story starts in 2008 when Rotorovian Jake Badrick met Hawke's Bay boy George Wilson. It was their first year at Massey University: Jake, now 22, was studying finance accounting; George, 23, was doing finance and ag science. Boarding at Colombo Hall, they became good mates, then best mates.
The buddy narrative is well-worn, but these lads could be cast in the 'Dukes of Hazzard' (George the dark-haired one, Jake the blond - albeit with a mohawk).
Both talk quickly, George especially, and finish each other's sentences. They continually interrupt, yet somehow never talk over the other.
To wit, the duo travelled to Thailand after three days in Singapore.
George: "We went to Phuket..."
Jake: "Stayed in Patong..."
George: "Which is pretty intense..."
Jake: "Crazy ..."
George: "Pretty much party central the whole time."
Not a place, then, where you'd get much sleep.
Jake: "Actually we slept pretty well..."
George: "Considering our beds were rock hard."
Jake: "Basically wood with a blanket."
George: "Or a sheet."
For a week they swam, drank and snorkelled, before moving on to Ao Nang near Krabi. Here they engaged legions of "introverted" Norwegian and Swedish women who, evidently, were charmed by the two Aotearovians with their strange giddaying ways.
Later, they went to Angkor Wat. They got to the great temple at 5am.
Jake: "For sunrise."
George: "Everyone stands outside waiting to get the shot of Angkor Wat with the sun coming up. Then it's up on Facebook."
Jake: "We were like: 'Stuff this - there are 500 people here, and no one inside'."
George: "So we went straight into the temple..."
Jake: "Had it to ourselves..."
George: "For probably an hour."
Jake: "The whole thing."
George: "It was pretty dark, but we used the flashlights on our phones."
Jake: "And just walked round. It was choice."
George: "Just awesome."
Indeed, it was possibly the highlight of a trip that both say, more than once, was "a blast". A taster, perhaps, for a grand European adventure in 2017. But they'll have to work for a while and save up. And Jake will have to explain that haircut to his mum. "It was quite hot over there and so this was cool."By Peter Malcouronne