Auckland Airport became our first home in NZ! kinda:) We hung out here for 3 hours after we landed. On purpose! What a great place - they have free road maps, free coffee, an info desk that will hook you up with everything you need, and FREE INTERNET THAT'S RIGHT I SAID FREE INTERNET!! It's amazing how valuable this is on the road, when you have to pay $4-5 and hour for internet, and it always seems to cut off right when you're about to post a blog entry. I will keep that as my excuse:) Also, some very nice people at customs and agriculture took our shoes and power washed the village mudd off them, right on.
We crash out exhausted at the Fat Camel, a charming hostel next door to Lipstick, an all night massage and escort service (prostitution is legal in NZ) and sleep right until checkout, and sneak our way back to the laundry room to try to get some of our stanky clothes less stank. Kori-the travel clothesline is a saviour, Thank you! We stay in Auckland long enough to find the Shagwagon, our home for the next month.
We found it for a brilliant deal at Alternative Rentals on Beach Road for $25NZ/day. (about $21US?) I think it was so cheap cause it's defective and they put the steering wheel on the wrong side. The guy Allan was excellent - we asked for a quote and he asked us what price he had to beat, and beat it, and hooked us up with an old white toyota station wagon with 300,000km (what is a KM anyways?) and the back seats lay down and he threw in some extra mattresses to make it super comfy. It's a giant bed on wheels!
In NZ, there are clean public bathrooms everywhere, clean drinking water, and you can "Park Up" anywhere--this means pull up to a gorgeous beach and wake up to the sounds of the ocean. Or you can fall asleep next to the gentle cooing of birds at lake Rotorua and wake up to creepy gutteral growling or lord knows what but maybe possums? and the plinking of ducks deucing on the tin roof. CREEPY!
We pull up to a grocery to pick up our road trip food for lunches and breakfasts- it's fun to have choices again! A loaf of grain bread, (no white bread n' butta! ) almond butter, granola, bananas, hummus and eggplant dips, and some veggies to cut up with the leatherman - and 2 sporks and 2 deli containers that become our bowls for morning granola and our cups for Dark & Stormies and other various beverages.
It's so easy to live in the Shwagon!! Now driving on the wrong side of the road is another matter...