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Published: November 22nd 2016
Friday, November 18
Missed Thursday being in the air and crossing the International Date Line. Flight was fine and arrived in Auckland on schedule. No problem driving the rental car (automatic) this time and we were out of the airport after 2 attempts. Ross did not want to bother with buying a GPS for NZ as they are rather high priced compared to Euopean ones. So somehow we did get headed north but completely missed Auckland even though we were going to stop there for a bit. Friendly people kept pointing us in different directions and we did get to Hwy 1. Countryside is lush, green, undulating hills. Roads are undulating too! And narrow and winding. Put me right to sleep … not a good thing for the navigator. We finally got to a town called Whangarei and bought a real driving map so I could tell where we were (tourist hotspot maps are NOT good for navigating). Also purchased our first SIM card so we could do internet and it worked fine in the store and all the icons the clerk tapped made total sense. More driving to Kawakawa where we stopped for a late lunch. Finally found a
place that had excellent veggie tarts, salad and best of all, very good cappuccinos. Took quite a few shots of the Hunderwasser public toilets. Made me think I was in Europe. I had no idea he spent so many years in New Zealand and in this little town. Wonderful surprise. Next stop was KeriKeri for groceries. Prices slightly higher than BC. Found our home at Bayview Heights at Tokerau Beach in Doubtless Bay. Much further north than we thought. Neat towns and villages nearby though. Quite cool here and very windy. Bed at 10 after the long drive and the unpack etc. Oh yes, didn’t quite get the internet so try again in the morning.
Saturday, November 20
Up at 6 looking forward to Nespresso. Plugged in the milk frother … nothing. Turned on the little outlet switch still nothing. Okay maybe I broke the frother in transit. Plug in the Nespresso machine ... no start-up light on and a funny smell. In fact now the kitchen lights were out too. Aha, found the fuse box and yes one was tripped. Put it on – kitchen lights on. Not the Nespresso. This is 240 V. I
had checked my camera, my hairdryer, my toothbrush last night and all were 120-240 compatible. Never thought of the coffee machine. I blew it. Literally blew the motors on the frother and the machine. They were kaput and I was without coffee and Prince Charming was still sleeping and would be for at least 2 more hours. Chocolate has caffeine so quickly ate a couple of pure chocolate bars. My family and close friends know how much this morning coffee means.
Tackle the internet. Pressed all kinds of icons and adjusted everything I could think of but kept getting that little exclamation mark by the internet logo. I think it was swearing back at me. Now me being without internet wasn’t so bad because I would be able to get by when using free wifi when we went out. Ross however is working on an editing assignment that requires a continual link to the internet. Not so good. He controlled himself pretty well and we headed in to Kaitaia (30 min away) and found an electronics store. After 25 minutes going through the phone and my tablet and seeing exactly how to get rid of the exclamation mark we
had a working phone hotspot. Only took 2 of their technicians. We tried to find the Sat. market there but it had ended at 12 and now there was a hot rod show going on. We decided to drive Highway 1 around to KeriKeri as they had a market. After about an hour of super winding, up and down road (think of that ride at the PNE called the Wild Mouse) which Ross thought of as a Motocross challenge we actually took a shortcut that was much saner and got us to Kerikeri quicker. Found the Saturday market and grabbed some lunch and another real latte and bought a pound of coffee for the French Press. Back to the house mid-afternoon where we tried and tried to get the internet working again. No luck.
Sunday, November 20
Up early and back to Kaitaia where we greeted our friendly technician. Told him our internet woes yet again and said we wanted to buy a different SIM card since this provider didn’t seem to have a tower in the area according to the homeowners. Again we set up the phone and called in our info and purchased a plan. The
wrong plan. When we got home Ross had used up all the data within 3 hours and I hadn’t even been on the computer. Ross persevered with the online chat with the company and eventually that person asked if he would like a phone call and he happily said yes. They called and he plodded through all the questions and learning all the plans and options and how to use the phone. By the end the service rep gave Ross a free 1 GB and her personal email should he have any further questions. She stressed he only had to email and she would call him right back and get him more data should he need it but be sure to do it through her since she had a file set up. I’m sure they red-tagged his info and his call. Anyway the internet has been working fine so far. Went to dinner at the World Famous Fish Shop in Magonui (what do you mean you never heard of it?).
Monday, November 21
Up very early to be in Kiataia to go on our 90 mile Beach tour. Did it in a 4X4 semi driving along the beach
up the west coast to Cape Reinga. Part way up the beach my camera battery was out of juice. Used my back-up tablet after that. Ross went body surfing down a huge sand dune and was the only one to do a dramatic spinout 2/3 of the way down. He stood up quickly with no injuries – just pride and no broken glasses. I have degenerative disc disease so no way for me - just photographer. Saw some gorgeous beaches and the lighthouse at the Cape. Took all day.
Tuesday, November 22
Late breakfast, beachwalk (about 5 km), shell collecting (can’t help it), read, suduko, sketch and out to dinner. Super meal at Waterfront Café in Mangonui. We went there again because they advertised a Tuesday craft and food market. Well 6 stalls doesn’t quite cut it. Back home and the internet is still working so I’ll post this tonight.
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