Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Exploring Auckland

So it was July 26th, because I skipped a day by jumping over the international dateline. Anyway, I woke up from my nap, and by that time the sun had came up. It's winter in NZ, so I'm still getting used to the much fewer hours of daylight. Anyway, here's the first view of New Zealand, from my hostel window. Isn't it beautiful? Ha!

I had an entire day to explore Auckland. First item of business was to book a bus ticket for Matamata for the following day. I learned that the bus terminal was located at the base of the sky tower, which is a lot like the space needle in Seattle. I walked down Queen Street and Victoria Street, which are known for their shopping. Something that I'm not used to is how open everything is to the elements. That day was about 40 degrees F, and it really doesn't get much colder than that, so there were many open air malls. Another thing I noticed was the influence of Japanese culture. I soon realized that there were a lot of Asians. I wasn't sure if they were tourists or residents, but I remember reading that many Japanese imigrate to New Zealand, so the culture was definately visable.

I realized during the day that because I didn't have my cell phone anymore, I had no clue what time it was! So, second on my list was to find a watch. Problem was, I was in an area known for it's upscale shopping. Eventually, I found a mall, and I was told there was a "Warehouse" on the top floor. I figured out it was Kiwi Wal-mart, so I bought a few other things along with the watch. And in true Wal-Mart fashion, they were out of what I wanted, so I ended up with a huge, ugly man watch. Oh well. The food court at the mall was awesome- lots of good food. I had a kebab, which I thought would be a kabob, but instead was a pita filled with meat, sauce, and a bunch a vegetables.

I went to a Barnes & Noble type bookstore, and literally spend a couple hours there. I've been known to do this, so when I realized I should get going, I had a mini freakout because for a second, I thought I was really at B&N in Appleton or Green Bay, and when I realized where I was, I thought to myself, "holy crap... I can't beleive I'm here!" So it's still setting in.

I noticed that a lot of the clothing was expensive, but then I realized that the clothes I was looking at were of good quality, and made with natural fibers. It was quite a change from the mostly synthetic or cotton that I'm used to. So once I got over that, and looked at quality, it didn't seem too bad. I also found a really cute store that sells paper and organized products. Kikki.K

I also made a huge mistake that even holds true in the US. I went to the grocery store on a Sunday evening. I found out later that most stores, except for grocery stores, close at 5pm, so of course, I went right after 5pm. I decided I needed to save some money, so I went to
FoodTown. I wandered around the store for quite awhile, getting used to the different brands and food, as well as looking for items that won't have any leftovers. So there I was in downtown Auckland, wondering around like a lost puppy in the grocery store, with a big stupid Holstein cow on the back of my jacket. Pretty much a big target on my back. But everyone was in a huge hurry to get home, so it wasn't a big deal.I even found a little bottle of wine to drink. And yes, those chips are poppy seed, garlic, and feta, and they were delicious! After I ate them, I hoped there wasn't a work required drug test because of the poppy seeds!

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