Saturday, 12/19 8:00am (NZ)- Rydges Hotel, Aukland
Surprisingly easy trip through baggage claim and customs. I now have a stamp in my passport! Yay! Short walk and then on to the bus, 30 minute or so bus ride and then another walk up a very steep hill to our hotel. They let us check in even though its prohibitively early in the morning. So early, in fact, that nothing is open yet. This led to us wondering if this was one of those Closed on Sunday countries.
Its not. Whew.
We are in room 619 and it is very nice. No harbour (notice the NZ spelling with “ou”) view for us, just a view of the next building over. No complaints.
Strange not to start sending arrival texts right away. Putting my phone in my pack and not thinking about it for three weeks.
Everything's in metric and the cars are on the wrong side of the road. Should make for interesting driving. Weather is very overcast right now, but not cold. Doesn't feel too different from home on the skin yet. Probably because its a southern hemisphere island. Similar climate.
We're both tired but we're going to forgo naps in favor of showers. Its the best way to fight jet lag. Sample NZ coffee instead.
Everyone is very nice so far.
Hope my feet hold up in the Vibrams ok. More later. Think we might get matching tattoos by the end of the trip too.
Felt like a busy, long day today and I'm feeling pretty beat. We just walked to a Belgian pub for dinner and atmosphere. I had fish and chips, which were good. But I'm not sure a bunch a fried fish on very little sleep was a great plan for the stomach. Kind of a tired, icky walk back to the hotel. Feeling lame about being back in the room when its only seven, but consoling myself with the thought that I haven't gotten a long sleep in a while. Slept maybe three hours on the plane, took a nap for about an hour and a half at two or three, and that's my sleep total since we got up Friday morning. So I'm allowed to feel lame. Maybe after my food settles we'll check out the nearby billiards club. Or we'll pass out.
Today was wander around and learn the immediate city day. The word of the day is “Rain”. Can you say, “rain”? Good. It went back and forth from crashing down in sheets to a light drizzle, but pretty much the whole time we were out we were getting rained on. Not complaining, it wasn't awful, though my feet got soaked quick in the Vibrams. Hope these were a good choice. Strong feets!
We had coffee and egg and ham sandwiches at a close-by coffee chain. I wanted the daily brew but no such luck. Got a long black. Not sure what that means and I had another at dinner. I'm determined to find and return with good local coffee, Felt like kind of a jackass standing there staring at the menu and guessing at the kind of java I wanted. At least the barista's accent was nice.
Angela's big thing today was a local market she'd read about in one of her guides. Well, either the guide played it up or the rain killed it, but there were three little tents and only one guy talked to us. Market fail. Oh well, we walk.
Did some shopping for basics and I nearly dropped NZ$90 on a cool leather hat that actually looked good on me. But when am I going to wear it again? Put it down and back away.
All Blacks stuff is everywhere. The idea of a national rugby team is something difficult to get my head around as an American. These guys worship the All Blacks and their gear is everywhere and I want some. I know, I've seen maybe ten minutes of one match, but the enthusiasm is infectious! My inner cynic is saying, “Just like a tourist visiting LA and leaving with a Laker hat.” True, but I can't help it. If I can find a decently priced jersey I'm walking out with it. They are collared and I would wear it to school. Poseur.
Something I've noticed walking the streets- NZ crosswalk technology is far superior to our own. The little light men in their signs look like they're walking! We must closely monitor this situation.
Also, I watched nearly an hour of cricket on tv today, since its not rugby season. I...don't get it. I don't know how its scored, I don't know which team is which (both were wearing white!), and I don't know why start cheering and high-fiving. Curling isn't this difficult to understand. Something about bowlers and wickets, I don't know. I'll keep trying. Always thought I could puzzle out any organized game given time. If only I knew how it was scored. Who's winning, damnit!
Two small housekeeping items: All the clocks in the hotel are on a 24 hour system instead of America's 12 and 12. Makes more sense but it has me doing x – 12 in my head to figure the time still. And the room thermostat is in Celsius not Fahrenheit so when Angela went to turn it up we had to look up where we wanted it so we didn't die.
Hope my shoes are dry for tomorrow's long city hike, and my stomach digests all the way so we can go out tonight.
Time to check out some maps.