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Published: September 6th 2006
Our week passed fairly quietly, with Simon starting at Auckland City Council in a three week position on Thursday. The job is helping book people onto events for a Heritage Festival taking place in Auckland later in the month. He has managed to use his position to our advantage by booking us onto one of the free events before we head out of Auckland. On Friday we ventured out for a drink with our now good friends from the hostel: Anja and Mick, who we would be saying goodbye to and also met Thom, a Uruguaian who moved out of our hostel the week before and brought his new lady friend Claudia with him. Mick would be heading to the North Shore to relax by the beach for a while before travelling the country so hopefully we'll cross paths again.
The weekend started well. On Friday night we grabbed some food after work before heading off in Max up north again. We were trying to find the village of Port Albert but due to some rubbish sign posting we managed to drive around in a big circle - we did manage to see a possum though, which was interesting, and
chased it down the road for a while. Not having found our destination we went through with our plan of camping on the side of a back road. This isn't entirely legal but it's free.
Saturday started early with another failed attempt to find Port Albert and we had our breakfast at a scenic spot that was slightly impaired by the morning mist. We also had more luck on the wildlife front by seeing a bird of prey (not sure which type) catching some breakfast right next to us on the verge as we drove by. Later in the day we found a nice beach on the opposite coast at a spot called Te Arai Point. Here we went for a walk down the beach and even indulged in an exercise regime on the beach as we haven't been partaking in any sports recently. To relax after this I went for the more practised beach past time of sand castle making while Simon had to go for a run down the beach to retrieve insect repellent to ward off the pesky sand flies (not soon enough though as we both have some battle scars from them). After a lovely
Alex test drives Max
Look! I can do it with my eyes closed!
lunch we made our way north to Mangawhai Heads to have a look around. Here we ran into a lady called Jeanette from Simon's office (small world hey - ok, not really!) who we had a chat with before we had a round on the crazy golf course.
The afternoon was finished off by driving down the coast to the southern end of Parkiri beach (the beach we went to when wwoofing with Paul and Jo when we first arrived) and checked into the camp site. Here we had another short walk on the beach before cooking tea and sampling the pisco that we purchased in Chile.
Sunday started off well with Simon going for a run up the beach and partaking in what he described as a brief swim in the sea due to it being freezing cold. I on the other hand started the morning off with some yoga and then was offered a push bike to go for a bike ride up the beach from our friendly neighbour. During our breakfast we were also offered some fresh oysters from the same guy but, seeing as neither of us are huge shellfish fans, we let him
have them all.
The rest of the morning was spent making our way back down the coast to an area called Goat Island Marine reserve. Here we had a lovely walk and checked out some of the marine wildlife. It was here though that the weekend turned a bit disasterous. On returning to our van we found that it had been broken into and that we had lost a lot of our belongings. I don't want to go into detail but we basically had to make our way back to Auckland to report it to the police and start figuring out what we had to do about it.
Basically a rubbish end to the week. I think that it will make us even more aware in the future and to be a lot more security conscious. Everyone else that we have met over here had been so lovely and we had begun to feel far too relaxed. Simon's mid-week update
: Both of us lost our work clothes and we had some explaining to do on Monday morning. Thankfully I can get away with the clothes that I do have seeing as I only have to speak to the public on the phone and don't have to meet them. Alex was also as fortunate. The lovely people at her firm have been finding some clothes that she can have and also some of the partners got some money together to buy her some vouchers for a shopping centre next to where she works.
Another good bit of news came this morning when Alex sent me a story from a newspaper on line (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/story.cfm?c_id=1&ObjectID=10399956), this appears to be the guy that ripped us off so we're hopeful that we may be able to retrieve some of our belongings once the scumbag gets caught (although our belongings won't be high on the police's priorities as the guy is wanted for a murder). I've also had a couple of calls from the police this morning so we're happier that the ball now seems to be rolling.
Last update before publishing: The car has been found so there may be a chance that we can get some belongings back which would be a huge relief. Further Update
We're on the news - kind of!
Police have yet to confirm what they have recovered but finger's crossed we will get a decent amount back.
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