Published: November 17th 2009November 17th 2009
We bought a lovely little beauty of a car!! She goes by Karlene Jean and is a Toyota Windom.. which I have no idea what is, but looks like an old school Lexus/Camry mix. She is dark green, with a few "birthmarks" where the paint is chipping. We met up with our Israeli friend, Noam (sounds like No om), who we met at the first sketch of a place where we tried to buy a car and decided we would give a different place a shot. We walked up and this car sales place is basically a parking lot with a ton of clunkers and people trying to get to you to buy them. We were wandering around just looking clueless as ever before we were snatched up by some crazy Kiwi, who goes by the name Karlene Jean Kene, thus the naming of the "beaut" (which is her nickname). It is impossible to get people to understand the whole double name thing.. it drives Eliza crazy when I introduce myself as MK, but it's what people understand. Then, if we talk for longer than the usual 20 minute "Hey, where are you from, where are you going, where have you been" they get the full intro to Mary Kathryn. haha, which when I typed that out sounds really awkward, but I know you know what I mean. Anyway- back to the real Karlene Jean.. so she basically talks us into taking it for a drive... now, I pride myself in knowing that I am a good driver (thanks Dad), but I was scared out of my mind to drive off this "lot" in a random ladies car. haha, so I told her it would probably be best if she got us out and into an area where I could practice a little. (We're on the left side of the road here, remember)
So we get out and change for me to drive. It was not nearly as bad as I imagined. It's been really funny actually. So anyway- we drove around for about 30 minutes, she took us by her house, through the city.. the whole 9. Then we pull up to the post office (a one stop shop) and we change the car into my name. The whole process, minus the driving around, took a good 6 minutes... to buy a car.. 6 minutes, still blows my mind. So, it's official.. my/our first car is a car with everything backwards. It's hilarious. When we got back into the car, that was officially ours, I freaked out because I thought it didn't have seatbelts. LOL which makes me laugh because literally everything is backwards. I can't tell you how many times I have looked out the window instead of into the rearview, or turned on the wipers instead of the blinker. My favorite is when we park, Eliza automatically puts it in Park.. haha because she is used to being on that side. We laugh everytime because we don't realize it until we've already done it.
It's a little nerve racking when we are the first ones at a stop light. We always have to say our directions out loud and before we every go anywhere we always have to remind the other one which way the cars will be coming from. I know this sounds like you should be worried, but don't worry, that's all part of us being here!
The "interstates" are hilarious. They look like the backroads from Madison to Yazoo City and the "big cities" that are bold on the map are in reality very similar to Itta Bena or what I imagine Hot Coffee would look like. We have learned not to be fooled by the boldness on the map. The road we have taken is SH1 and it takes you all the way to the tip. It is very windy (is that how you spell it, or is it whinedy? no that can't be right, but you get it now I hope) maybe I should have said curvy.. haha ok so the roads are curvy.. up and around these huge hills/mountains. We have seen some amazing scenery.
Also, we saw our first sheep and I was finally able to say what I have been waiting to say since booking my ticket... "Holy Sheep"! :) and yes, I cracked myself up very much. We also had the chance to go through a Toll Road, but chose the free route. We were laughing because in order to pay the Toll you have to go to a website within the next 5 days. haha what? That would never happen in the U.S. Do people actually pay? We don't know, but we were afraid with Karlene Jean being brand new to us. We didn't want to upset her in any way. So we took the longer, free route. Which turned out to be great anyway. Now, we were starting to feel like we actually in NZ. Auckland was a big city and had the feeling like we were in any other city, not necessarily in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
So, I guess you figured it out, but after purchasing our first car, we headed straight out of Auckland and up to Whangarei. No, we don't know how to pronounce it either. Oh yeah, before we left Auckland we bought tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping mats. (insert your laugh now)
So, we made it to those previously mentioned bold places on the map, but as we drove past/through we quickly realized how, in fact, not bold they are. We drove around for a while and finally decided on a nice looking campground. As I was getting the tent out of the "boot" aka trunk of the car, Eliza proceeds to tell me that she has never camped before. So.. as I pitched our tent, we both mentally prepared for what lie ahead. We had our dinner (which consisted of PBJ, cheese, french bread, bananas, and wine). We made the most of it and pretended that we were in the Grove with the rest of you, except out chandelier was made up of two headlamps hanging from our literal tent. hahaha, still cracks me up.
AHH! I just got a notice saying that I have less than 5 minutes of credit remaining so I must go, but will catch up soon.. Hopefully buying a netbook in the next few days!
I love you!