Trip Start Jun 06, 2011
52Trip End May 22, 2012
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LK: We have now been in our fantastic apartment since Friday 25 November, only with one potential last minute hitch with the cleaners not turning up that morning. We didn't care if the flat was piled up with old baked bean cans, we were moving in and the cleaners would have to work around us the next day. It was surprisingly tidy and more spacious than we had remembered. We have rooms to spread round our meagre possessions. We ran out onto our new balcony to make sure it worked.
KK: It didn’t, it instantly collapsed under our combined weight and we were pitched screaming into the street where our ignoble corpses were pecked at by filthy pigeons while the people of Auckland had a party. Well no, obviously not but we have somehow had our standards lowered to such an extent from campsites and hostels that we expect anything good or nice to be undeserved
LK: What might be the fly in the ointment is the exact nature of what goes on next door: the noise of a forlorn, devouring vortex that suggests a portal into another dimension. It’s going to be hard work having to ponder the nature of different realities every time we step outside our front door. And we have stepped out a lot, the first major Auckland event (the day after the election when we had a first class view of TVNZ’s coverage on their balcony across the road from ours) we attended was the Farmer’s Santa Parade. In our part of the crowd a very stern young Chinese man demanded I took his picture, then demanded I took his picture again. KK suggested for this picture he might like to include the Parade in the background, as well as his companion. Then we turned our attention to Christmas matters in the baking heat. “Oh man, look at the size of this Mr Potato Head,” is something that I can’t imagine saying ever again.
KK: The Art Gallery is 10 minutes walk away, the library is well stocked and there are many parks to explore. You will notice all these activities are free . We did – because we have become terrible misers. This is mostly because everything seems to be at least twice as expensive as we expect. The sensible explanation is that there are $2 to a £1 but we have remind ourselves of this on an almost daily basis. Splendid news then that Karyn from the Lucha Lounge found me a job. I reviewed a show there for a local magazine and LK took pictures in return for guest lists for The Damned
LK: Karyn has also influenced our fitness regime by lending us the most astounding book “Born to Run”, by Christopher MacDougall. It’s too early to tell if us two are actually born to run as three sessions in it still feels difficult, but we are running early mornings in a safe, clean city and no one’s laughing at us (yet). We have other friends too: remember Edward, our magician acquaintance? We bumped into him on Queen Street and he did some card tricks for us. He’s good: when we got home we discovered he had made our toothpaste disappear.
KK: As chance would have it nufc.com ran a request for updates as to the whereabouts and meeting points of Newcastle fans across the World
LK: There is a splendid array of food options in Auckland City – we’ve already taken advantage of a $10 lunch special at our local Mexican, and The Cake Boutique sells the most delicious Danishes, as well as making you feel like you’re in Alice in Wonderland. We have our own basil plant on the balcony, bought at the Saturday morning farmers’ market. We’ve been to the Art Gallery for a guided tour; a display of Japanese Ichiban drumming which appears to be an energetic manifestation of music as martial art; and a talk on the Italian painter Guido Reni
KK: Today we bought a $34 dvd player and some second hand films. New Zealand TV is mostly terrible and when it’s not it is fair riddled with adverts. It took about 3 hours to watch “Little Miss Sunshine” last Sunday. But we have not spent all our time gallivanting, drinking and lollygagging, we have also got into quite a work routine. I have written reams of unpublishable waffle for my next book that LK must beat into some coherent narrative. I don’t help myself by renaming central characters and then having to go back and change all the old names. Today I was working on a sub-plot where a serial killer is murdering men with comb-overs in the 1980’s.
LK: For my part, I am researching background facts and figures for our best-selling travel book. So we’re going to stop you getting the rest of it for free, not really, but we are treating ourselves to a Christmas break
KK: In short, dear reader, that’s it for a couple of months. We will pick up when we pack up. In the mean time big thanks to those of you who have been good enough to keep in touch, it is always welcome and heartening to hear from y’all. Do treat yourselves to a splendid and indulgent Christmas. Cheers x