Oh, Aotearua...

Trip Start Dec 14, 2004
Trip End May 25, 2005

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Friday, December 17, 2004

Hello from Auckland! We have only been in New Zealand for a little over 12 hours, and we have been wandering around this city most of the day, mostly trying to keep our eyes open. But we're happy to say that it's 9:00, and we're probably still due for a drink in our hostel. After a 12 hour plane ride from LA that was slightly uncomfortable and made us sad to be short (we could only see half of the movie screen), we landed to a sporadically rainy and windy day in Aotearoa (that's the Maori name for New Zealand... we're doing our research!). We have been slightly surprised all day by how much American influence has seeped into this city... Starbucks, Borders, Wendy's- it's difficult to escape. But we've been told that Auckland is really the only city of this kind in New Zealand. This we are happy about, and it is making us get out of here pretty quickly. We're staying at a hostel that is your classic backpacker hostel, and we know that we will soon be making changes in our choice of lodging.

Overall, I think we're just pretty tired after a long day of wondering exactly where we are :) We are beginning to adjust to our traveling feet, and though this is not always an easy adjustment, it is full of little adventures all the time. I think our funniest (like the strange kind of funny) moment today was stumbling upon this guy at an outdoor market who was wearing a t-shirt that said "Moon Beach, St. Germain, WI." Well, this place is right down the road from a camp that many of you know and love, so of course I had to ask where he got this shirt. He said he traded someone for it because he thought it was funny... then asked where Wisconsin was :) But then we discovered that he is from Scotland, so Jodie and him started going on and on about places they knew and loved in Edinburgh, where he's from. It's these little things that happen during the course of the day that make you realize how funny our world is sometimes. And then some. (oh, and then we ran into him again, about 6 hours later...)

How much more is there to say after one day? We could go on, this is definitely a lot of rambling... i'm not even sure if all of the tenses match each other. We're trying to figure out our route for the next few days, and we will for sure keep you updated. Please keep us posted about your lives as well. We do miss you.
Much love,
Rachel and Jodie
PS: (a postscript written by Jodie) I think it's important that you know a little bit more about the circumstances under which we made the 12ish hour journey across the Int'l Date Line, and down past the equator....
Seated behind us, were about 30 men dressed in military garb- matching pants/shirts/ties/buzz cuts. Rachel and I saw them at LAX and assumed they must have been part of some military squad/school. Well, we get on the plane to see that all of them are seated in a huge pod behind us. As we sidle into our two middle seats, one of them hums a note, and before we know it, all 30 of them are singing in harmony. turns out they were a military choir. Seated in voice sections. And the sopranos were right behind us...and let me tell you- they weren't so great. They sang some Polynesian tunes, before launching into heavily accented Christmas carols. Oh boy oh boy... our luck just never runs out.
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