A bag of chips and the last bus home

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
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Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Thursday, October 7, 2010

We woke up at about 7am and had some tinned pairs and an ultra cheap fresh kiwi fruit for breako. We were tired as our evening interneting ended up going on far too late, but it had been the first time to Skype in a long, long time. We then set off to catch a bus into Auckland, the journey was about 20 minutes long and we soon arrived fairly hassle free and glad not to be driving and parking then paying by the hour.

We started off by nipping into a Warehouse extra (which in my view is getting the day off on a bad footing by letting a woman go shopping). Thankfully we managed to get out with a pair of jeans for the lady that were about 10, we need more long trousers, especially for South Island. We had a walking tour of the city thanks to Lonely Planet and started to wander round the absolutely huge marina area. I don't think I have ever seen a city with quite so many boats in the centre of the city, however it is called the City of Sails so there was our clue. We also saw some of the America’s cup boats now used for tourist trips which just looked like awesome sailing machines. Still they were a long way out of our price range. We then walked up and down the reclaimed land that makes up the water front and the docks. Feeling a little peckish after a couple of tinned pairs we had two pieces of sushi to share which only cost about 50p each for a big old piece. Unfortunately the duck one we chose for the lady was actually smoked dark fish so she was slightly disappointed, I just loved it though and can’t believe it is so hard to get your hands on really cheap sushi at home.

We wandered up and down and around the lanes of Queen Street before we came upon a cheap hairdressers, Erica has been complaining for months her hair is falling out she needs to get to a hairdressers quickly etc. So I also went for a haircut, the first paid haircut since I was about 17 I think a good 15 years of clippers and self done haircuts, I’d be interested to see what would be done. It was about 12 for a woman’s cut and 7.50 for a man’s cut. I asked for extensions however I think the Asian lady in the shop thought I was very odd and settled back just to do something with my hair. She then cut the backs and sides with scissors not clippers and put on some gel I thought it was called "hot gel" Erica confirmed afterwards it was “hard gel”, as normal I made a fool out of myself. I also remember why it has been so long since I went to a hairdresser, I’m incredibly hair sore and at times literally had tears rolling down my cheeks. No wonder the woman thought I was a freak. My sideburns ended up being cut in the 'Asian style’ basically going to a point (like Spock) Erica found it highly amusing. The lady cut was far more straight forward, excuse me can you cut this shorter, layered (??) and with a shorter fringe. We were soon in and out and back on the street. I think mine quite frankly looked ridiculous but it does a job.

After walking around Albert Park and the art galleries (where Erica got told off for taking pictures (obviously without a flash), although the woman conceded the no photo sign is stupidly placed and very small) we then headed for another luxury of the city we managed to pick up a lunch time special offer on a Dominos pizza for 3 for a large pizza and we sat by a water fountain outside the art gallery while we ate. After lunch we finished off the walking tour (including the continually added bits). We then decided to head for the Auckland Museum which was in a different area of the city and I did get us a bit lost in the Domain by wanting to follow various walks instead of the road that took us straight to the museum. After a short stop at the fish pond watching ducklings play around we entered the museum only to find out it was $10 each, we had already seriously overspent today but they agreed to our donation of $5 each. The first part of the museum was about Maori culture, history and pacific communities and to be quite frank was fascinating. There were full size meeting houses which were awesome, original fishing boats as well as some of the huge but very simple exploring vessels. The carvings were beyond belief and the really tall ones you wondered how long it must have taken to do them. After about an hour we had learnt so much but we had started to get a bit of museum lash, that was until we found the special exhibition dedicated to the food of New Zealand called Kai to Pie. It was really interesting and focused on Maori food, early European banquets and key items of the food industry over the last 100 years like the initial fear of microwaves (again not something we have at home apart from the one we borrowed off Dave and Elaine for a while).

The second floor was the natural history museum. It was absolutely incredible and pretty much blew us away so many different types of animals we had never seen nor ever even knew existed as well as skeletons, lots of live animals like rats, cockroaches, stick insects, fish, lizards etc. We also got to see what a lot of the species we had seen actually were. We then saw lots of local types of fish and sea life, it just kind of all worked so well, being informative, fun, interactive etc. There was also a interactive ‘living room’ which provided you with the simulated experience of being in a volcano – it was great the room shook and was quite disturbing as the reports came in on the TV warning of the imminent danger.

The final floor was dedicated to New Zealand’s part in various wars and several monuments of rememberence as always a chilling reminder of the bad points of war and of those that have died as a direct result of Prime Ministers and Political leaders deciding we must go to war. There was a big theme on World War 1 and 2 in particular. As always the pictures of the holocaust take me back to my several visits to Berlin (still one of my favourite cities in the world) as well as Auschwitz that I have brought myself around to visiting twice and always leaves me with a chill down my spine.

We left the museum realising we had spent over three hours there and we loved every minute definitely the highlight of Auckland. We then headed back to the water front to go to Minus 5, a bar where all the contents are made entirely of ice (including the glasses). Whilst our get one in free voucher made it plausible the fact that they would not let you take a camera in and would charge about 8 for a single photo then 6 for each proceeding one made it economically unviable especially after the money spent on clothes, haircuts etc.  Much to Erica’s disappointment.

We headed back to the campsite on the bus and decided that we would nip to the supermarket to pick up some more cheap as chips boxed wine and something for tea. We indeed stocked ourselves up on wine and food on the reduced price chicken then headed further up into the hills of Northshore to try and get some panoramic views of the city. We only ended up finding our view outside a chip shop.... cheap as chips indeed. I was amazed at the menu and it is embarrassing for a culture that probably started and is famed for fish and chips. As well as many types of fish you could order mussels, scallops (no not potato scallops, seafood), oysters, clams, squid and god knows what else. I ordered a portion of battered scallops only to find the price was per scallop not per portion. Oh well for about 1.20 we got a large portion of chips, indeed it fulfilled cheap as chips criteria it was huge and we would have looked foolish with a scallop on top. We went back to the camp site and sat inside with our bag of chips, some buttered bread and red wine. Good lord it was good and something we realised only then just how much we have missed a good old fashioned chip butty. Also similar to Oz everything is cooked to order even the chips, (even McDonalds) nothing is sat around waiting for buyers unlike the UK. Perhaps we in the UK are scared of change but I‘m sure if they reinvented the common chippy like this they would all be booming, although then again there are so many anti shellfish people in the UK it is scary, especially in inland cities like Manchester.

We ended up having an early night, it had been a very tiring day but it was good and a big change to our days spent in Northland where it was all about the scenery and landscape. To be fair though the critics are probably right Auckland is not the most beautiful city in the world, apparently not even New Zealand, but we loved the Museum, it was the highlight of the day and well worth a few hours of anyone’s time.
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Comments

Stevie T on

Awesome, you found Nemo,

PS Did you also find that VAN Halen album I lent you?

farknash
farknash on

Another vantastic day x

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