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Trip Start Mar 06, 2013
Trip End Apr 04, 2013

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What I did

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Thursday, April 4, 2013

Yesterday we visited the city center and the wharf in Auckland. We were feeling a bit worn out so no heroics were involved but we had a nice time wandering.

Every once in a while we would suddenly end up feeling like we were in Tokyo. There were shops selling the kinds of Asian food stuffs that invite curiosity for western eaters. But the bins full of  food items in inexplicable shapes and colors labeled 'dried BBQ Squid' does not invite a taste. The bins with moist grey-brown substances were even more intriguing.

We ambled through a department store that had kept its tin ceilings. We are not good shoppers so nothing tempted us. Queen Street was bustling with workers and tourists. Eventually we made our way down to the harbor and started our usual boat-envy tour. There are some spectacular ones in the Auckland Harbor. 

 On the sailing vessel side we have Janice of Wyoming. How could we not notice a 130' sailboat with the Wyoming state logo on the side? When Doedo googled it, it had its own web site. The spinnaker has the logo on it as well. Not that our pockets would ever be deep enough to own or operate a boat that size, it's hard not to have a few fantasies.

 The slips were chock-a-block with other sea-going motor boats, all looking fabulously expensive and glamourous. Across the entrance of the harbor was Arctic P, an icebreaker ocean tug turned yacht that clearly had severe communications needs. This was a ship that looked like it could go anywhere and still get internet access. Just in case, there was a helicopter pad on the back. Who knows, you might run out of the preferred brand of champagne at an awkward moment far from port. Or, you might need to return part of your staff. Googling this ship as well we found a bit of a scandal involving the IT guy hired for a trip. He was fired after a week, apparently for insolence. No mutineers allowed here. The helicopter would be a better way off than the plank. 

 We crossed the harbor to find the building we had admired from the air. ASB (Auckland Savings Bank) has a brand new building at the West end of the harbor for 'retail & hospitality'. There was a little display set up to give info about development of the harbor and we got a few details. The building is one of the new green buildings that manages it's environment without airconditioning. On top there is a large scoop to collect fresh air and exhaust unwanted heat. Windows actually open on this multi-story hi-rise. The louvers over the south side can move to prevent unwanted heat gain. We thought it would be a neat idea to visit again in 5 years and see if it all works as expected. It looks good, but can it deliver?

 From there we found the fish market. Lovely fish on display that would be a huge hit at home. Compared to Pike's market it lacked charm and smelled way more fishy.After another hour we decided to find the bus back to Ponsonby, the chic neighborhood where we have another airbnb place to stay. Good timing! We just got on the bus and it started to rain, then pour. We rode home thinking of the laundry we had left on the line in the sunny garden that morning. Happily Jess, another airbnb tenant had gotten it off the line for us before it was soaked again. 

 A hot cup of tea and a little snooze later we headed out for dinner in the neighborhood. Argentinian BBQ made for a fine dinner. Our last full day in NZ ended with us trying to figure out how to pack all the stuff we needed to drag home.
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