Trip Start Sep 30, 2012
12Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Kate's house, Point Chevalier
What I did
Stepping warily out of customs - after the guy breezily waved me through biohazards despite smuggling a chocolate bar - I spotted Kate straight away jumping up and down with a neon sign. Within two minutes we were chatting away and laughing so already I felt welcome. We did a slight detour on the way home to pick up a surfboard for a friend, so half the journey was spent with that between us and a slightly surreal conversation with neither of us able to see the other, and Kate impressively able to navigate home despite limited vision to the left!
Kate lives in a lovely suburb (?) in a big house with 4 other very lovely friendly girls - why am I always surprised that people are kind and friendly? Beautiful weather, sea at the bottom of the road and the sound of birds I don't recognise everywhere. AND Kate cooked chicken pie for tea so feeling very spoilt. We headed out to a pub quiz in the evening which was good for finding out New Zealand trivia, but I think I ruined everyone's expectations by not knowing the Britain questions or biology. Oops. Kate's brother Isaac very kindly offered to buy me a drink but looked pretty confused when I asked for a half lager. Don't think they have halves here. They seem to have 'handles' (?) instead, which are slightly smaller than pints. Weird.
Wednesday I explored Auckland whilst Kate was at uni. Tried to shop for sandals but very quickly gave up and headed up to the 'Domain' which is a beautiful bit of parkland, really relaxing to walk through and sit in and then headed to the museum. Loads of interesting bits of Maori stuff but would have liked there to be more history of their arrival in New Zealand etc so will look out for that in other places. There was an exhibit of National Geographic finalists which was really inspiring - it showed off all the wildlife and landscape that the country has to offer, which is amazingly diverse. Feeling excited (again) about exploring!
I then met Kate, who showed me the waterfront. Bit grey and rainy which was a shame as I expect it's much nicer in the sunshine. We had beers and got in to the first of many intense conversations, then headed back to eat and watch a film. Tomorrow I am headed out on my first journey alone up to Paihia, although I am getting a lift halfway with Mandy. Bus and hostel booked, but still feeling nervous. It's tempting just to stay in the safety of Auckland, but got to remember I didn't come all this way to curl up and watch movies.