We arrived in Auckland yesterday morning, just past 6am local time. The flight was very long, but I am grateful that we were traveling with the night. It helped to have slept some on the plane.
Customs was no big thing. It could have been, since my dad hid a bag of dried beans in Pat’s bag, which was scanned several times as we made our way through the various checkpoints. We only discovered them as we waited for our tent to get through quarantine. Thanks for the scare, Dad.
We caught a bus to Auckland city center and, once there, found a cafe to refuel and reorient ourselves. I tried to order a cup of coffee, but the barista was totally confused by my order and offered a latte or a flat white instead. They don’t really drink drip coffee here, only espresso drinks.
The rest of the day was spent walking around downtown and hanging out in the sunshine in beautiful Albert Park. Pat slept a little, which helped revive him, but also got a bit of sunburn. The sun is very strong here, it seems.
We caught a bus to the North Shore and after a bit of confused wandering finally found the house of our host for the weekend. John runs a kung fu studio and was about to start a class, but showed us to our couch upstairs and suggested a walk to the nearby beach. The beach and nearby lake were gorgeous and many folks were paddle boarding, jet skiing, sailing, swimming, or running and playing on the beach. Just a regular afternoon, I guess.
Somehow we managed a trip to the supermarket before really starting to crash. We cooked a quick dinner and talked with John and two Czech girls he was also hosting, then crawled upstairs and into our sleeping bags.
After a solid twelve hours of sleep, we woke, had some breakfast, and hitched a ride downtown again to check out the farmers market and Diwali festival. The farmers market felt small to me until I remembered it was spring here, not the abundant harvest season of home. The Diwali festival was much busier. We watched dances and listened to classical Indian music, browsed vendors and enjoyed butter paneer and a mango lassi. As the afternoon wore on, we both started to feel weary, so the evening finds us back in the kung fu studio.
It’s been a solid two days. I like Auckland but am eager to get out to the country. We hope to get bikes tomorrow to facilitate the next adventure. We’ve written a few farms and heard back from one today, so things are starting to come together for next week. It’s a new experience to not plan, and I like it. Not having a language barrier certainly makes it easier. We are excited for all that this year has in store for us.