Published: January 21st 2012December 31st 2011
I hate goodbyes. But the end is near, and I can feel it in my spine. Tomorrow I need to catch my flight back to the concrete jungle and leave this beautiful country. So does M. Tomorrow doesn’t count. In my mind, today IS the last day.
I try to wipe away the bitterness, but another gloomy day really doesn’t help. We ran out of luck, and ran out of sunshine. I was secretly hoping that with some magical cosmic power, the parade of blue skies will come back. But it never did. It ended the minute we left South Island. If before I kept asking “Dude, where’s my shoes?” (as I prefer to be shoeless in long journey in car), now I’m asking “Dude, where’s my luck?” I try to pick myself up. Hey, I’m in New Zealand. With someone who called me their best friend (which is a compliment). The weather is not great but I should make the most of my last hours here.
Original plan was to start today with amazing view from the top of Mt Eden. But with the rain and all, decided to start the day late – 11 am. M and
I met up at the corner of the street as our accommodations are somewhat 500 meters apart. His hostel this time is much more humaine than the one in Rotorua. My hostel was like rickety ex mental hospital or something.
We had brunch at Mid City Kebab at Queen St (which surprisingly selling more than just kebab). The 4.5 NZD fried chicken and fries taste so so, but at least I got some halal food in my tummy. Then we bought couple of books at the Borders which happens to run 75% discount as they are going bankrupt. Too bad for them. But I guessed in this era, it is difficult to compete with anything digital.
I then accompany M to take his daily dosage of coffee. From his pout, I can tell that he’s struggling to be happy as well. He said, this city just reminds him of a place he wants to get away from. And the weather doesn’t help his mood either. “What’s your address?” – he asked, already prepare to write it on one of his postcards; catching me off guard. Couple of days ago I teased him that he sent 20+ postcards to
every single one of his friends but me, apparently he’s taking it seriously ha ha… I was joking! He wouldn’t let me know what he wrote, he said it doesn’t work that way. You don’t just give the postcard, you have to send it (although I think it’s inefficient). Until today (3 weeks after the trip) – the postcard hasn’t arrived yet. Perhaps it got lost. But I’m sure he wrote something nice ha ha
We walked around, following a lead from a red building – which I’m naturally drawn to. Then we accidentally found the Auckland Art Museum and its FREE! Perfect for the rainy day. Im instantly were drawn to it as the color combination of the museum was red-black-white, which is just my favorite combination. You can store your stuffs at the cloak room for free. They have bunch of art stream from modern to Maori. M was surprised that I’m interested in museums now ha ha... Well, people changed. And I’m preparing myself for Europe! Enjoying museums in rainy day IS part of the preparation *smile*.
Interestingly, in this museum, you are allowed to take pictures as long as not using flash. There's one
painting that catches my eyes. It’s from year 1896, the title is "Married" by Walter Sadler. It’s portraying a couple that werent in love anymore but still married. The rose in her laps already dead, the husband is reading a book but with a very distant body language. There are actually racquets lying on the ground. Indicating that they actually have other activity options, but since her husband doesn’t love her anymore, he just chose to ignore her. I’m not a very artsy person, and to be honest that was the first time in my life where a single image tells such a deep story. At that moment I felt lucky that I have a husband that adores and truly loves me.
From there we took a very long walk to Auckland Domain, which is a very vast and green park. At the top, there’s the Auckland Museum. You can also get a glimpse of the harbor and sky tower from there. I’m not sure whether that’s Devonport in afar? Maybe it is. M was saying “We should have a back up plan in case of such a rainy day”. I was like “Err…. Going to museums IS the
back up plan…” He seemed uninterested. I just grin. Being the understanding friend that I am, I encouraged him to do something else that he wants – if he doesn’t want to come inside the museum that is already in front of us. We can just meet up later.
Anyway, for me the Auckland museum is actually better than expected. It’s only cost 10 NZD and very value for money, especially compared to Rotorua Museum which cost almost double but have less sights. Here, you literally have lots of things to see. From Maori cultures to dinosaur’s skeleton, up to holocaust history – they got it. Great place for families as they also have kids corners and detective section, to make it more interesting for kids.
What catches my eyes? Well, I particularly love this panel of glass butterflies. They put a backlight panel so it shines through beautifully… Just gorgeous… I also like the candy walls, where they put up all sorts of candies from the 50’s and 60’s. Although some already turn colors to something yukkie. I was also surprised that Albatros (the bird) can actually grow very big! It’s like…. Almost half a sheep or
something. Another thing that catches my attention is this war wing, where they put a real copy of British propaganda encouraging the men to voluntarily becomes soldiers. Bunch of lies. I think wars are just… unnecessary.
I was there in the museum for at least 2.5 hours or so. Time just passed by without me noticing it. I had to get out because the museum is about to close. Another nice surprise waiting for me outside. Part of the sky is somewhat blue. Just enough for me to take a picture, then the wind usher the clouds right back in. Hhh…. As I sat down and enjoying the view, M texted me offering to meet up. I know that on paper, it should be like 15 mins back to my hotel – but I asked for 1.5 hours buffer – just in case I got lost ha ha…. I’m good in a lot of things. But spacial intelligence is something that unfortunately I don’t have. I’m not good with maps, and I sucked at geometry. But luckily this time no drama. I did get back to my hotel just within 15 mins, although I took a different route as
a short cut, just out of instinct.
For our last supper in NZ, I suggested we go back to Fuga Japanese Brasserie. It was such a good memory from yesterday; that I just want to end this trip with similar level of happiness. M agreed. This time the brasserie was full. We were lucky to secure a table inside without a reservation. And that night, out of the ordinary, M put his smart phone aside and chatted with me instead. Apparently it’s not only me that realize the end is near.
At the beginning of journey, I told him – “Be prepared, I will ask you what are the top 3 highlights of the journey” – which is a standard question regardless with who I spend my vacation with. But this trip has been amazing that he ended up with 10 highlights, and me with 12 highlights. He then asked me “If there are high moments, meaning you have also low moments? What are those?” At the back of my mind, even in a split second I know the answer. It was when he unnecessarily drags me down from Skyline Queenstown! (read it here
didn’t want to ruin the moment. So instead of saying the truth, I just smile and gave a political answer “Well, I prefer to remember the things went right rather than the things that went wrong”. OMG, me? Political? I think I’m ready for a promotion at work ha ha ha… Well M, if you’re reading this – now you know the truth ha ha...
Not long after, roads started to get closed for the New Year’s Eve. We were unsure whether there will be any fireworks at all due to the weather. But we decided to go to Viaduct Harbour anyway. It was quite empty vs Sydney or even Singapore, as when we arrived at 11 pm, we can still get a good spot by the water.
While waiting, I’m multitasking between taking pictures, dancing to the music from the night club across the street and engage in a heart to heart conversation with M. He told me that overall had he had a great time, and felt happier after the series of turmoil in his life. He thanked me for coordinating the trip. I thanked him for taking such a good care of me during this
trip. We’re all good.
The fireworks show itself was very humble 5 mins show. Very small scale, to say the least. It doesn't resembles the 2011 show I saw in YouTube. Even the Hongkong Disneyland firework is much bigger and better. We joke that even bad sex last longer than that ha ha ha... Well, at least the rain paused for a while during the fireworks.
“I wonder how long it would take to arrange visa to UK?” he asked. “Why? You don’t need visa to go to UK anymore”, I’m puzzled – referring to his new citizenship status. “Not for me le, for you. New Year Eve’s firework in London would be amazing”, he said. I smiled. Well, if he’s thinking of the next trip together, meaning I must’ve been a good travel companion ha ha ha… We’ll see. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.
Apparently walking back to hotel is more challenging. So congested with people. Many of them are drunk. And it started to rain again. I was happy that I'm not alone. Felt much safer.
We said our goodbyes before heading to our separate hostels as we have different flight schedules the day after. I made M promise not to do anything stupid and to take good care of himself. I’m still worried though whether he’ll be alright. “So I’ll see you again in some random place?” he said. I bitterly smiled. “Sure”, I said. Although in reality, I don’t even know whether we’ll see each other again, ever.
Hhh, I can’t believe this vacation is over already. There were ups and downs, but for the most part – it has been an amazing journey. There’s nothing left but good memories and 328 gigabytes of pictures (seriously ha ha).
But regardless, I hate goodbyes. I really hate goodbyes.
To view more of my travel pictures – pls go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/ariyanti_p/sets/72157628705874019/