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Published: September 18th 2006
That's Rangitoto in the background.
Time seems to be flying by now which is why we haven't managed to update the blog for two weeks! During the week we have been passing the time working, which is enjoyable enough. However, we're both getting itchy feet to get off on our trip so thankfully there is only just over a week to go until we can head south to the ski fields.
We spent the first weekend buying some hardware to try and make Max a bit less of a target for our remaining time here in New Zealand. Nothing will now be visible from the outside and all our storage cupboards will be lockable with padlocks. We also splashed out on a crook lock so hopefully no-one will be able to steal Max himself although since I broke the choke cable it's hard enough to start him anyway unless you have my magic touch.
This work was carried out across on the North Shore again at Takapuna. We knew that Mick would probably be over there and managed to track him down. The weather was awful all afternoon and we only ventured out to see if we could swap some of our books, although we
Mary, Ric and Mick.
did stop for lunch at a little fish and chip shop in Devonport. It's official that the "fush and chups" over here are in another league compared to those in the UK. We got a huge pile of chips in the middle of our table and some freshly battered fish, without any grease to be seen!
We had a very lazy evening meal, having a laugh with Mick and another Australian couple. We also cracked open the Pisco again although it didn't go down too well but thankfully Mick had some beers that tasted better. We carried on into town for a few beers as well and enjoyed the local nightlife which eventually picked up.
Sunday morning saw another visit to the little flea market where we bought some more fresh food for the week. We also had to stop in at the pet shop to look at the puppies which Alex loved. We also managed a bit more work on Max and a stroll for the three of us down the beach where Alex again was loving all the dogs that were being walked as well some little pups. We parted ways with Mick and made our
way back to the hostel for lunch. In the afternoon we managed to wake up our friends, Ric and Mary, who had just arrived after taking the crazy flight from Santiago which arrived at 4am. We spent the afternoon chatting to them and comparing South America stories before making our way to Burger Fuel for once again an excellent feast of kumara fries and huge burgers (is it me or does most of this blog just describe our meals?)
Once again the week passed quickly at work, with a bit of mid-week entertainment just down Queen Street at 'The Classic' comedy club, where we met up with Mick, Thom (plus two flat mates), Anja, Ric and Mary. It was 'new material' night, so although not all of it was particularly funny, there were plenty of laughs, especially in relation to the Compere, who stole the show - all for an absolute bargain price of $10.
On Saturday we met up with Mick again as the two of us and Anja shunned a weekend lie in and chose instead to climb a volcano! We had heard that Rangitoto was a good day out, and Simon having inside information that
Looking back over Auckland
the ferries would be half price during the heritage festival, we decided to make a day of it. Rangitoto is quite an iconic part of Auckland's scenery and at its summit is almost as tall as the Sky Tower. It was the most recent of the city's many volcanic cones to erupt, approximately 600 years ago and not long after Maori settlers first arrived in New Zealand. The fact that large parts of the island remain lava fields is testament to this and at times the walking was pretty tough going. After a climb to the summit we decided to cross the island and return via a coastal track, which was well marked but took us through thick bush - worrying that we might miss the last ferry home, we were going at a quick pace thanks to Mick, who seemed to be in PT (Personnel Trainer) mode.
After saying goodbye to Mick (who is planning to visit us in London later on in his trip) we had another quick march up Queen Street. This was followed with another one back down again as we were meeting one of Alex's colleagues from work who had kindly offered to take
us to Eden Park for the evening to see some rugby. Mel had told us that New Zealand's train system was pretty decrepit, but we weren't expecting it to be quite so slow as the diesel train chugged out from the Britomart - the world's only underground station with a hi-tec extraction system to enable diesel trains to pull up there.
Anyway, it was a rugby union match between Auckland and Waikato and we arrived in time to see a couple of matches between lads about eleven years old. This must be a coaches nightmare as they ran like headless chickens after the ball all match. There were also some interesting supporter outfits on show with plenty of spray-painted boiler suits in the Waikato colours and cow bells being rung. The main event didn't dissapoint and with a following wind, and some Auckland mistakes, Waikato were 19-0 up at half time. The second half started with a bang (although I missed the first 8 minutes of it while getting a hot chocolate for Alex from the inept serving girls - why couldn't she be drinking beer?) with Auckland starting their comeback with the wind assistence. I'm sure Alex will
want me to point out here that I was asked for ID when being served the beers for Mel and I which she found amusing since I'll be 26 this week! Auckland managed to overturn the defecit and got three points ahead only to be pegged back to 22-22. A feeble drop goal effort into the strong head wind by Waikato was as close as we got to a winner but the game finished all square.
Sunday was a more relaxed day and we had a lazy morning in the hostel. In the afternoon we went on one of the tours that I have been taking bookings for and went for a ramble down Ponsonby Road. This consisted on stopping at all the old (1800s so not that old compared to England) buildings and hearing some of the stories which have taken place there. After the talk we made our way back, stopping to buy me some jeans (Ric - they're probably similar to yours but we the shop was a big Lee discount store so I got them for $70 !!) and to have a coffee/hot chocolate and cake each seeing as the area has a big cafe
Unfortunately the weekend ended on a sad note as Alex found out that their fantastic golden retriever, Dempsey, had passed away over the weekend.
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