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December 4th 2005
Published: December 20th 2005
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13th November 2005

Didn't exist! Don't you love the International Dateline?

Auckland and beyond 14-26/11/05

So, we made it to New Zealand by 6.30 am on the 14th, only one hour late but a number of passengers had to make internal connections and were panicking over the delay, we sat back and let them all flap about, then wandered off the plane and into passport control where everybody got to queue for about 45 minutes anyway. By the time we got through our bags were happily going round and round on the carousel so we grabbed them and made our way over to the "stupidly big and just plain weird" baggage area where we found three baby buggies, two removals boxes, one bag of golf clubs, a shoe and a bloke waiting for his guitar. After half an hour all that was left was the bloke waiting for the guitar, the shoe and us. We commiserated with Guitar Man who replied "At least your bikes are replaceable, this is my guitar, man." I didn't bother trying to explain how much the bikes meant, we just left him to his artistic misery and went to report the missing items to baggage control. After a brief check our bikes were found in mid air on the next plane from LA and we were reunited with them at 9 am; fortunately there was a kiosk serving free tea and coffee in the luggage collection area which kept us going while we waited. We never did find out if the guitar arrived.
Next came customs and biosecurity checks, the sniffer dogs ignored us completely, but biosecurity insisted on inspecting all our shoes and they took the tent away to check for illegal aliens of the six and eight legged variety. They also peered through the hand holes of the cardboard boxes the bikes were in, without even using a torch and decided that they looked clean. We spent hours cleaning them, knowing that they would be really closely inspected and all they got was a quick glance in the dark - Bah!
We finally got through all the checks and found the most amazing place I've ever seen at an airport, a bike building area, complete with wall mounted bike clamps and all under cover!!! So armed only with a coffee each we rebuilt the bikes as torrential rain obscured the view outside.
We rode the 20 km to Parnell very slowly and in a rather wobbly style after the eight week lay off. Our route took us over One Tree Hill (or No Tree Hill as it should now be called since a man with a chainsaw did a bit of unofficial gardening a few years ago) and onto the 12, where we first met busy Auckland traffic - it's not nice. Still we made it to Parnell and found a room for the night in the Aloe Tree Backpackers' Hostel. My left shoulder was very sore by the time we got off the bikes and I could barely put any weight on my left hand.
The next day we walked around central Auckland, doing the touristy bit by visiting Victoria Market and the wharves and completely failing to arrange a physio appointment for me.
I finally got to see a physio two days later, she is small, very, very small and very good at inflicting pain, I have decided that the level of pain is inversely proportional to the size of the person doing the treatment. Apparently I have a Rotator Cuff pathology and will need a number of sessions to get
Oneroa Bay, WaihekeOneroa Bay, WaihekeOneroa Bay, Waiheke

It may look nice, but the sea was blooming cold. (Wide angle shot)
it sorted (ouch), I am also banned from the bike again so we decide to take the bus to the Bay of Islands for the weekend to see the family and play with the niece.
It's great to see that my bro has done some work on the house since we last visited (8 years ago), there are walls now, and stairs; no more climbing a ladder to get to bed.

We returned to Auckland for my next physio session, the first thing Tania said is "So did you go out on the bikes this weekend?"
"No" I replied "you told me not to"
"Oh well with the weather being so good I thought you would anyway. Ooh, that's a nice bruise!"
"Yes, you did that"
"I know"
I'm not sure she had to look quite so pleased with herself over the level of damage inflicted. I am allowed on the bike again, so we move to Ponsonby to see a new part of the city.
We take a day trip to Devonport and ride up the North Shore, I'm trying to follow Tania's instructions regarding my hand position whilst riding, but it's all a bit odd and I
How to be 40How to be 40How to be 40

Many Kwaks were harmed in the making of this picture
feel very unbalanced.

Happy Birthday to Clare 27/11/05

I've made it, I am 40 and, amazingly, still alive and in one bit. We spent the day doing normal stuff; washing, writing blog pages etc and in the evening went to the Belgian Beer Cafe for a few Kwaks and Duvels.
The next day we moved to the cheapest backpackers' in the BBH book, Georgia Parkside Hostel just by Auckland Domain; it was a dump, everywhere was dirty and the staff were rude. The move was a false economy as neither of us would cook in the kitchen and we ate out, in fact we spent as much time as possible away from the place. We were approached by somebody selling something while we were window shopping in Newmarket; his opening gambit was "Hi guys, are you guys married or just dating?" my reply was "That's none of your ******* business" and we marched away, honestly how personal can you get?? In the evening we watched The World's Fastest Indian at the cinema - it was a great film.

Waiheke 29/11/05 - 04/12/05

After my last physio appointment we headed off to Waiheke for a few days of hill climbing practise, the Hekerua Lodge Backpackers' Hostel was very nice - swimming pool, hot tub, huge deck area and incredibly peaceful; it's all a bit different to Auckland.
We tried to find a welder to sort out my front rack, but there was a sign on the shed which told us he was on holiday and back the next day. We returned the next day to find the sign still there and no welder, apparently he wouldn't be back for another three days, so no fix for my wonky rack. When we were about to set off in the morning I realised that I had a lock off hair hanging in front of my face which would drive me nuts while I was cycling. As I tried to brush it away it moved away from my hand and proceeded to walk across my face, which is when I realised it was a stick insect.
In the evening we went to The Island Queen, a bar restaurant which was celebrating its 2nd anniversary with live music and an open mike session. The local "character" started telling us that the queen sets all laws in Britain, not Parliament; we gave him a brief history lesson with the emphasis on Oliver Cromwell and he finally left us alone.
Later, at the bar, Vernon had his bits grabbed by a bloke who mistook him for a bar stool!!! He was very apologetic and his mates found it hilarious.
We mooched about for a couple more days doing very little, and can recommend Waiheke to anybody looking to escape the hustle-bustle of Auckland.

We're probably not going to get another blog up before Christmas, so hope you all have a good one, eat too much, drink too much and be merry. We'll write again in the New Year.


4th January 2006

Happy new year to you both and a belated happy birtday to you clare. new zealand look lovely. regards shirley carol

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