Clowns, fairies, and driving on the left

Trip Start Oct 28, 2004
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Trip End Aug 08, 2005


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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Sunday, November 7, 2004

Well Moms, you were right. Turns out that the hostel life isn't for us.
Sometimes you're stuck in a room with 6 people and the showers really
aren't that inviting. So we decided upon permanent accomodation. We went
to buy a car with Mike and turns out we drove out in a van. As we stood
in the market in drove a 1988 ford ecovan completely decorated in blue,
red, yellow and green spray paint (eat your heart out, clay). We bought
it from a British clown for $2000 and it came complete with a bed,
curtains for the windows, camping stoves, solar shower, two chilly bins,
dishes, flatware...the works. The best feature is a tape collection that
not only spans the decades but covers every major genre and
country...bjork, alanis, billie holliday, counting crows, prodigy. We
like to think of the van as the fourth member of our traveling group but
have yet to name it. We figure that will come with time.

We spent a good four hours cleaning the van in a grassy median of a
parking lot. We removed EVERYTHING and then reorganized it into a homey
little space. We have a bookshelf and eveything. And if you pull a
curtain a certain way it becomes a two bedroom living space. It's quite
inviting. Come visit any time you'd like.

Molly has been our resident driver for the time being as she is the only
one with the experience of driving on the left hand side of the road. We
never knew how difficult or thought provoking driving on the opposite
side could be. And then add a manual transmission on a 1988 vehicle with
no power steering and you really have yourself a stressful ride.

As we were cleaning out the van a woman came over to warn us that we
were in the bad part of town and we should be carful with our life
possesions thrown across the lawn. We chatted with her for a bit and she
promptly invited us over for a swim with the family. A couple hours
later we made our way out of the bad part of town and into a more
affluent area with the cutest houses around. Angela welcomed us in like
she's known us for years and she had a huge lunch of shark and salad
waiting for us. She's got a musician, surfer, carpenter (he built the
house) husband, two daughters and a son. Us being there didn't phase
them for a second and within the first hour they left us alone in the
house while they all went out. We spent a majority of the afternoon
sitting in the hot tub overlooking the bay. The afternoon quickly turned
into dinner and a walking tour that turned into us staying the night
which turned into a fantastic breakfast...and well here we are staying a
second night. It feels as if we've known them for years. I know you are
all freaking out that we're just staying at random houses, but it's
fine...not only is Angela a preschool teacher but she is also a
professional fairie. Unfortunately we're heading out tomorrow morning as
not to over stay our welcome (although I think we would be welcomed to
stay the entire duration of our holiday) and headed to Northland.

We have instated van rules, the first one being no politics, the second
one being no smoking in the van (none of us are smokers so it works
well) and three having little to no plans among a few others. Going with
rule number three we have a tentative plan for the time being. (This is the part where you get the maps out and being plotting our trek)Today we went trampling at Rourototo Island which is a resting volcanic island. Aparently it has been resting for quite sometime because the crater is completely overgrown with trees. It was a great(and very tiring) two hour hike up and at the summit we had a 360 degree view of Auckland. It was nice to see the city from afar. Mike proved to be a great asset as he was a geology major of some sort so he was always more than willing to explain the rocks, lava and other fun volcanic facts to us.

Tomorrow we are headed to Northland, more specifically Ninety Mile Beach and then
Cape Reigna. From there we will travel down the east coast of the North
Island stopping at locations such as Bay of Islands, Bay of Plenty,
Rototura, Corramandel, etc. We plan to be in Hawk's Bay by the end of
the month for the jazz and wine festival. We're going to do some fruit
picking along the way since our bank accounts are quickly declining.

As for future plans...we'll tour the south island that same was as the
north and then in Feburary we will sell the van (we'll probably make a
profit from it) and drop Mike off at the airport and then Molly and I
will head to Queenstown to settle down and find work for our last couple
months.

We're totally excited to get out of the city and into the real New
Zealand life. And we still haven't seen a sheep. Soon though. Who knows
when the next posting will be since we'll now be living out of our van.
But we promise that we will post pictures when Mike gets his camera
hooked up properly.

Miss you all. Start planning a holiday now...you won't be disappointed.

Cheers.
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