Auckland, Day Two

Posted: December 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

We had Ava’s 4th birthday dinner last night with Angela and Richard, a couple we met a few years ago in Santorini, Greece. Back then we did the usual “hey, it was great to meet you…let’s stay in touch” e-mail swap, knowing full well that we’d probably never bump into each other again. But strange things do happen, and here we are in New Zealand after all.

Richard, Kelly, Ava, Angela and Al

Kelly, Ava and I have not fully adjusted to the new time zone. After all, we crossed the equator and the International Date Line to get here. It’s 18 hours earlier here than on the east coast of the US. But little by little, we’ll catch up and be fine, even with the colds we’re fighting, thanks to the aassistance of some fine New Zealand Pinot Noir, and their own brand of very tasty wheat vodka called 42 Below.

We spent the morning of our only full day in Auckland fighting Verizon over an international modem that is not working–what a surprise. But we did get out to see the Auckland fish market (the one where all the restaurants come for their catch of the day) and Kelly took tons of fish pictures for future artistic inspiration. We then went to see some live fish, as well as penguins, at Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World and Antarctic Encounter. Sharks, fish of all kinds, sting rays, penguins, even a robotic orca that scared the crap out of Ava…it was all there and a fun experience. We had a quick bite in Parnell, a neighborhood in Auckland that has quite a few restaurants and art galleries. Not too impressed with any of that, but we did get a card reader which will allow us to download photos onto the web.

Tonight: dinner at the French Cafe, what many consider to be the best restaurant in Auckland and maybe New Zealand. Tomorrow: we hit the road and head south to Taupo, which is next to Lake Taupo, a giant lake formed when the crater of a volcano blew off many years ago. Our original plan was to go on a catamaran cruise of the lake, but we won’t make it in time. So we may take a detour instead and check out Rotorua, a town we were going to go to at first and then removed from our itinerary. It’s full of geisers, mud pits, and all kinds of wonderful smelly bubbling geologic features remeniscent of Iceland and Yellowstone National Park. We’ll try the morning cruise on Lake Taupo the next day.

>>>Al

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