Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Day 9: Auckland
Day 9: Auckland
Pictures: In and around Devenport, a Victorian suburb of Auckland. Note the bus stop sign: that is actually spray painted on the sidewalk. Is it a tree or a cell phone station? The realtors sign with a smaller sign that the open house is one day from noon to 12:45pm, doesn’t seem like a long time to get the crowds in for viewing.
NZ Fact: GDP - per capita (PPP): $27,300 (2009 est.) country comparison to the world: #51. Note: data is in 2009 US dollars, and the local paper is talking about the NZ debt being in the Greece and Ireland range!
More news about money: At the Westpac ATM (a BofA sister, so no fees) in Sydney, $200 Aussie came out in 50’s and was equal to $198 US. At the Westpac ATM in Auckland, $500 NZ came out in 20s (quite a wad!), and was $380 US.
Department of Amplification: the weather yesterday on Y-hee-key eeh-lund. In the morning while we were hiking it was overcast and humid, we had no trouble sweating and sweating some more. During and after lunch (around 1pm), the sun came out as the overcast burnt off, and the wind came up. By the time we were doing the Headlands art walk, the wind was so strong that we didn’t see one of the pieces down on the beach, we didn’t feel safe navigating a narrow path in the gale.
The weather today in Auckland: high 70s and 88% humidity, meaning it feels really, really hot. VERY HOT! So hot that a 15 minute walk starts to sound like a car ride. So, brilliantly, after breakfast on the deck, we walk to the ferry building, over 40 minutes, to take a 10 minute ferry ride to Devenport, and stroll around and eat lunch.
It is hot in Devenport too, so basically it is very slow walking and lunch of pizza and crispy squid salad, shared beer, $40.
Then back to the ferry, slow walk back to the condo, and time for a rest-up before dinner.
Dinner is at a semi-local spot, down on the wharf area about 15 minutes away on foot. However, we decide to give it a go in the AIR CONDITIONED car and test our navigation skills, letting the GPS take a nap. Four minutes later, we are sitting in the parking lot of Mikano, debating on whether to just sit in the car, letting it run, for another few minutes, or brave the short walk to the hopefully a/c’d restaurant. The debate doesn’t last long enough, into the restaurant we go, where it is reasonably cool. Dinner is very good: vodka gimlets (the bartender had not made one before, it was very tart), rocket (aragula) salads (DB’s has a dead bug in it, which doesn’t really bother either of us), grilled cheese, eggplant, tomatoes, and sweet potato main course for DB, grilled chicken with Morrocan bread salad (lots of red peppers) for THB, shared Pavlova (really good…meringue with fresh berries and a tart berry sauce), and two glasses of wine for a total of $105. G&Z have given us use of a discount card, so the new total is $88 (we leave a bit of a tip as the service was very friendly and they comp’d the salad; tipping is not mandatory and rarely done here).
And, there was mid-meal entertainment: the restaurant overlooks a heliport, and between our salads and main courses in comes a helicopter to land right below us. Out pop six guys that look like they have just come off the golf course. Sure enough, the pilot gets out and unloads six sets of golf clubs! Heliskiing…Helitouring…Heligolfing!!! Wonder if they shoot the little birdies and eagles from the air or if they are Democrats and get out and play from the ground? Just kidding, all you Palin fans….don’t get huffy, THB is just making a joke…a small, mean-minded joke, still it is just a joke.