Monday, September 27, 2010

An Afternoon Walking Sleep-Deprived Around Downtown Auckland

I managed to fritter away the time this morning until 1:00pm reading my Lonely Planet guide to New Zealand (my eyes crossed a lot... I am tired!). Then I checked in and was assigned to Room 206, bed B. When I entered room 206 I saw three bunk beds; two with stuff all over them and one without. The beds aren't labeled in any way, so I threw my stuff on the top bunk of the empty bed and started making myself at home. About twenty minutes later the door opened, and in walked Wendy from The Netherlands and Julia from Germany, also both doing the IEP program, and also as confused as I was as to the bed arrangements (they took the remaining empty beds). I thought my 14-hour direct flight from Vancouver was bad... Wendy left from Düsseldorf and spent about 32 hours in transit! Ugh. They went off and had a smoke, then went in search of the showers.

I headed out to explore in a few block radius around ACB. I walked up onto the University of Auckland grounds (which were crawling with the "graduands" from the street parade this morning as they call them and their proud parents), then headed down toward the waterfront. I found a park where the trees are so old and sprawling that they have put metal posts under some of the trunk-branches to support their weight... it is in the same "preserve nature!" mindset as those signs along Shelbourne Street in Victoria that say something to the effect of "Low branches - trucks keep left".

As I walked along Princes Wharf I was approached by two very nice young men raising money for the NZ Para-Olympics team (although they didn't bother me for any money after finding out I was from Canada).  I took pictures of the ocean (the water has that tropical light blue hue to it) and found what appear to be old tram or narrow-gauge railway tracks of some kind (HA, yes, it took me all of forty minutes out walking in Auckland to find something train-related).

Then I went into a mall near the waterfront and discovered the New Zealand version of Wal-Mart: it's called The Warehouse, and is every bit as lacking in soul as its Sam Walton doppelgänger.  I bought shampoo and conditioner (so now I, too, can have a shower and wash all that yucky airplane stench off myself), then went downstairs to an electronics store and bought an adapter for my camera battery charger so it will fit into the NZ electrical outlets.

One thing about NZ that reminds me a little of Prince George (yes, PG!): Prince George has some crosswalks where the pedestrians can cross diagonally instead of at right angles. Well, Auckland has the same thing: all traffic stops in the intersection, and the pedestrians just run pell-mell from all sides, crossing to wherever they need to go. It's quite the spectacle to behold.

My dinner of salad and ginger beer is finished (my stomach still hasn't quite recovered from the airplane), and now I am in search of a shower. Then it is off to bed... I don't care that it is only 5:13pm here, I am in desperate need of sleep!


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