Friday, July 5, 2013

Adventures in Aukland

Maureitai Beach
So, it's either Day 1, or perhaps  Day 3, depending on how one reckons such things, with the International Date line wreaking havoc on our calendar. We flew out of the State on the 3rd, completely losing the 4th, and arrived in Auckland early in the morning on the 5th. Compared to the massive heat wave sweeping the West, the cool temperatures when we got off of the plane, were a welcome relief.
Our friend, Victoria, the bride, and one of her bridesmaids picked us up and whisked us out of the hustle and bustle to the family farm in Whitford. Rolling hills, grazing cattle and sheep, mingled with palm trees and lush foliage. After washing off the airplane miasma, and having a cup of coffee or two, we ventured out with the parents of the bride to the nearby Maureitai Bay to visit the reception site and enjoy the local hospitality in a café overlooking the bay.

We had to run some quick errands on the way back down to the city, and we stopped in (as near as I can reckon) in nearby Pakuranga's mall to pick up a local SIM card - and since the cell I had purchased specifically for the trip failed to boot on the local network - a reasonably inexpensive cell phone which we could use for texting and phone calls in New Zealand, bought some black shoes to wear at the wedding since shoes are not "for hire" along with tuxedos as they are in the States, hit the ATM for some cash (a process far too simple and easy to be real), and enjoyed a lunch at the local equivalent of the Chik-Fil-A, called Oporto. Sampled the famed local beverage, L&P, which is a like very sweet and slightly less carbonated 7-Up.

Ferry Building
Business taken care of, we rode down into Auckland's Central Business District (CBD) area to check in to our B&B near Vector Arena, and to meet our hostess, Antoinette. M and I relaxed around the apartment for a little while, unpacking and having a hot cup of tea. Once again, I found myself enthralled with the electric kettles I have seen here and in Europe, which run on the 240 V power and heat a kettle for hot beverages even faster than a microwave. Gotta have one...just a little electrical engineering to do in my kitchen.

Later, we took a stroll down Beach Street to Quay Street, which runs along the length of the Waitemata Harbor. This is not merely a scenic, pleasure boat filled place, and we saw massive container ships being loaded, as well as the fleet of ferries serving the surrounding islands and communities, which depart from...what else? the Ferry Building. As the evening approached, we could hear the announcements over the PA system announcing a final boarding call, and watched many commuters dashing madly to leap aboard their rides home on Friday after work.

The Sky Tower
The area is filled with an eclectic mix of upscale and hole-in-the wall shops, bars and eateries. We managed to get within shouting distance of the Sky Tower by the time night fell, and spent some time exploring the restaurant possibilities on the very
swanky Viaduct pier before settling for a "takeaway" wood oven fired pizza for dinner
from a small shop run by a pleasant Middle Easter man which also specialized in kebabs, and a couple of bottles of Monteith's Pear Cider to wash it down. Bellies full and many miles under our belts, we bedded down to rest up for another day.


marsha said...

Hi Jon - I'm soooo happy you are going to do a journal online while on your trip. I will be a loyal reader. You did what Paul and I do on the overnight flights - just power thru and stay up all day after arrival. We usually make it thru dinner and then fade quickly, and usually get a pretty good first night's sleep. Hope you did too.

HollyRobbins said...

Love reading your blog. You are a much more creative journal writer than I am. :) I'll be reading about your adventures!