Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kiwi Quest 2010 - Hello again, North Island!

Photos: 1) Chinese Lanterns in the park in Auckland 2) Civic Theatre in downtown Auckland 3) Lime-flavoured milk....yum? 4) The most entertaining legal-ese I've read on an energy drink. It's a bit murky, but quite funny if you can read it.

Well, today got off to a bit of a rough start when one of my 5 roommates stepped on me while climbing onto the top bunk in the middle of the godforsaken night. It would appear that using the ladder for such a task has fallen out of vogue; rather, it's more fashionable (practical?) to march all over the bottom bunk (and its occupant!) while struggling to heave your adult-sized self up a couple of feet in the pitch dark, most likely after being out drinking half the night. I got doubly annoyed when said upper bunk mate left his two backpacks blocking mine although there was a ton of available space at the bottom of the bed and around the other side. I hope he found his packs later after I moved them out of my way...

Good thing I'm used to getting up early. The shuttle bus is here to whisk me to the airport so that I can return to Auckland today. Since it's a domestic flight, I feel safe taking my apples and orange in my carry-on for breakfast. I treat myself to a chai latte in the boarding lounge while I stare transfixed at the television in the corner which is showing Olympic updates. Olympics!!! How I miss thee! Heck, at this point, I've missed nearly all of the Games, but I do manage to get wind of a few recent Canadian medals and I secretly cheer every time the Kiwi hosts mention Canada.

I do like flying with Air New Zealand. Have I mentioned that yet? They have fantastic cutlery, as close to the real thing as you can get in the cattle class these days, their accents are super entertaining along with their edgy safety videos in which none of the actors are wearing clothes, and they serve great food. For example, this morning I'm noshing on muesli with yogurt and fruit after which I surreptitiously stash my sturdy spoon and fork in my backpack. It's almost enough to offset the ferociously squealing baby nearby.

As we approach Auckland, I can see some pretty fierce-looking dark clouds around the city, but my New Zealand geography isn't good enough yet to determine how much they'll affect my day. My bag made it to Auckland, yay! With 10 flights in less than a month on this trip, I'm always a bit surprised when my luggage follows me correctly. Liz & Ross are both here to pick me up, and it's back to the house for a pretty low-key day after we drop Ross to work.

Ahhhh, laundry again! I never thought I'd be so happy to be doing domestic chores, but a clean pair of underpants sure does cheer me up. Time now to book my two upcoming bus tours: Bay of Islands to Cape Reinga on Saturday (two days hence), then Auckland to Rotorua and Waitomo (the complete opposite direction) on Monday. I had written Cape Reinga and Rotorua/Waitomo down as ideas of things to do on this trip, but after talking with a few people and realizing that I only have about 4 more full days here (darn you, February, for only having 28 days this year - I counted 31...), I figured I'd have to choose between the two locations. I haven't quite got the hang of estimating time required for travel here either. Back home, I calculate distance in how long it takes to drive there (I live 2 hours SW of Toronto), but here everything is in km and my brain is struggling.

Uh-oh, Ross just called home for an early pick-up from work as he's feeling unwell. Liz and I head off to fetch him, and I take the opportunity to get back downtown to do a few more errands. They're setting up for the Chinese Lantern Festival in a big park so I take my time walking through there, admiring the different displays. A longer-than-intended stop at an internet cafe cuts into my intended shopping time as the shops here are not open as late as I am used to back home. Oh well, I guess I'm saving money. A stop for some chicken-flavoured potato chips (which do, in fact, taste like chicken) on the train ride back to Point England, then it's a late dinner and some time for reading before bed. Tomorrow, providing Ross is well enough, our little trio will head north to Bay of Islands.

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