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Published: August 2nd 2006
29 July - 2 August
Some of you may not have heard about the demise of Kensie, my beloved Metro Kensington (yes, I know the name is original) which happened just before we left the UK. Having decided she needed a new engine, I had to make the painful decision to put her down and couldn't watch as a large grabbing crane was rammed through her roof. However, the scrap metal bloke told me that maybe she would be reincarnated...well, who knows on the reincarnation front, but the spirit of Kensie lives on...in the form of Max, our new camper van! Please note that the photo may not show Max on his best side, and better photos will follow of exterior and interior (at the minute it needs a good clean).
We have had a hectic first few days in New Zealand. After a pretty good flight with LAN airlines from Santiago, we arrived in Auckland at about 3am on Sunday and had to wait until 6am for a shuttle bus into the city. We checked into ACB (Auckland Central Backpackers) on Queen Street and spent the first day recovering from the flight, seeing as our body clocks were a bit screwed by the fact that we set off 10.45pm on Friday, had a couple of hours worth of Saturday and arrived early on Sunday. We had a look around Auckland Centre, which is surprisingly compact seeing as the city is apparently twice the size of London in total, with a mere 1 million inhabitants - talk about urban sprawl.
So far we have been rushing around looking at potential campervans, setting up a bank account and IRD (tax) code and trying to find some work. Things are not going too badly. We purchased the van with only a bit of drama over payment seeing as we came close to exceeding our maximum withdrawal limits which we didn't realise ran on UK time. At $2000, it has been a major investment, but the insurance, AA membership and legal/mechanical checks came in pretty cheap and it came complete with tent, 3 camping chairs, table, cooker, boogie board, some food and other useful odds and ends. The mechanic recommended only a couple of repairs so we are keeping our fingers crossed that the spirit of Kensie has learnt her lesson and will behave herself for the next 5 months. Apparently when we come to sell there will be peak demand for vans and assuming everything is ok we may even sell at a profit!
We have also had a few promising work leads and have joined an organisation called WWOOF, which allows you to go to organic farms all over NZ and work for a couple of hours in return for free bed and board. We've got something lined up for Friday and Saturday, so fingers crossed it should be fun although I understand that there will be lots of weeding involved.
It's all go here - the only thing we're missing is the weather back home as it is raining and grim. Bring on springtime!
By the way, we now have a mobile phone so if you want to get in touch the number is 0211641379. You'll have to figure the country code out yourselves (sorry!).
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