Trip Start Aug 15, 2006
Trip End May 27, 2008

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Friday, November 17, 2006

Spent the day chilling out in Santiago and got to the airport no probs. Saw Niels again and the Irish girls from my hostel in Salta. Flight was a bit dull and the only movie worth watching was 'John Tucker Must Die' , quite an amusing chick flick. However, for the fisrt time I managed to doze for most of the flight which was great. Arrived at 4am in the morning, kept speaking Spanish to all the airport staff out of habit which was embarrasing, got a coffee in the airport and waited until 6am before getting an airport shuttle to my friend Leanne's auntie and uncle's place. I was in luck that her aunt, Rae was in the street when we arrived and took me up to their flat - they had a penthouse apartment overlooking Auckland, I had my own room and they had a cute collie dog called Giovana which loved licking me and a talking parrot. They took me for a quick drive to show me the main streets so I could wander around on my own so i wandered in a daze down Queen's St, the main part of the city, although it was pretty confusing as there's a huge Asian influence and a lot of shops have signs in Chinese, sell Hello Kitty clothes and the unusual style of outfits that girls wear in China and Japan.

We had a great meal for tea, although Rae insisted it was nothing special - the tenderest lamb chops i've ever had, grated corgette, asparagus and Kumura potatoes which are Maori potatoes, like sweet potatoes, followed by strawberries, ice cream and merrange.

The next morning I awoke to find Giovana outside my door, tail wagging as she heard me getting up which was really cute! I got my hair cut and styled really nice so I felt girly again (what a difference) and headed off out to the Aquarium, Kelly Tarltons. That was pretty cool as they have this Antarctic experience where you walk through a recreated version of Scotts hut, including original photos and instrumentes, then you can take a ride in this closed car into the indoor penguin enclosure which was so cool as they had king penguins which you can't see in many parts of the world. I saw a stone fish which has enough poison to kill 10 humans in a small drop, huge stingrays and a sea snake which can kill and there's no antivenom for that. Saw an old couple from Yorkshire and they thought I was a Kiwi for some reason.....

Booked a backpacker bus tour with a company called Stray who claim to be for people who are keen on wildlife and being active, not getting drunk every night so I'm hoping that will be worth the money. That night I met Leanne's mum and was taken out for dinner to a great Thai restaurant.

Thursday I did a city tour that was free with the Stray company. It wasn't really worthwhile but we got to see people jump off the Sky Tower, throw themselves off the bridge on a bungy rope and we had some good food in a pub. I met some nice people, incluidng a really young Danish guy who is taking the same tour as me but probably not the same time. Had another great tea, nachos with beef and strawberries and ice cream again.

Tomorrow I will take the Stray bus up North to the bay of islands for a couple of days before coming back here for one more night.

Had a good run of luck in the last few days which was a nice welcome to the country. My first was the nice girl in Santiago airport who let me off 1 US dollar for the coffee and cookie as I'd ran out of Chilean pesos and US dollars and didn't realise how expensive it would be. Then in Auckland airport, the lady let me off 10 cents for a coffee, then the airport shuttle guy charged me 20 instead of 26 dollars, plus with the stray ticket I got 50 dollars off, plus a free trip, the at the hairdressers they charged me for the lowest stylist and gave me one that should cost much more just because she wasn't busy!

Can't upload any pics at the mo as it costs too much for internet here
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