Sunday, 21 September 2008

Off around Auckland again.

13/6 - Up not to brightly and the weather is not so bright either, overcast and mizzle off and on. By the time I'd had my porridge and toast, both me and the weather had brightened, so I set off to go to Mount Eden and ended up in the Domain, a big park in Auckland. Another plan goes array. I left Mount Eden for Sunday. This is the most benchless park I've seen in my life. There's a big old tree full of yellow leaves even though it had shed a lot, this being the winter of Auckland. It looked very pretty and to enhance this even further, I parked my bum underneath it to eat the sausage rolls and custard tart I purchased on the way here. Very nice they were too, so I set my pack down for a pillow and had a read and an unscheduled nap. I was lying there contemplating the world and a loud yelling rose behind me. I glanced up to see a schoolbus full of kids yelling and waving atthe old fella lying under the golden tree, so I waved back and the volume went up a few notches. Sounds like a fairy story, with children, the old fella and a golden tree, but be careful who you are calling a fairy, especially in New Zealand. This strikes me as a place where men are men and fairies are very quiet.

The school bus was like a modernised version of the Vietnamese kids on their bikes, that I experienced with Khien on the Ho Chi Minh trail ride. It gladened my heart and gave me and the kids a big smile. Time to move on in case the police come and lock me up as a vagrant. I headed up the hill, no surprise in Auckland, and out of the park, back to dump my bag, as I'm meeting Mick, my Welsh-Kiwi mate later. With my load lightened, I set off for town. I did a bit of window shopping, but the England shirts were too expensive at $130 ($2 to the pound, roughly).

I'd heard Viaduct Quay is the place to be, so that is where I headed. It is certainly buzzing and looks like the after work drinking and nosh spot. The quay is surrounded by bars and restaurants and the water is full of very expensive boats. This is where the America's cup fraternity base themselves. It is very yuppy-like, in not too bad a way. I elected to go into the Irish bar for my fodder, but they had open fires blazing and it was red hot, so I settled for a Guiness, very nice too and then slipped around the corner to the Thai Chilli, a very good move. I had a green curry, there was lots of it and very tasty too. After stoking the engine, I headed on up the road to meet Mick in the London pub. I was running late, or would have been if I could run. I was only 10 minutes late, the pedestrian crossing here take forever, it's the same in Aus and I'm very impressed at how most people obey them. There was a live band in the pub playing jazz, but we didn't do much listening, I'm ashamed to say. Mick had invited a lass along from work, he was hitting on. We had a good laugh over more beers than I've had for a long while, thank goodness the bar closed at midnight, I'd had enough. Out of practice. I was surprised Mick was ready for the off too, but when I remembered the lady, I wasn't. I had the blooming hill to look forward too, but it flew by. It was good to see an old buddy and have a good natter. Michelle, the lady, is good fun too. When I parted from her and Mick, part way up Queens St. she seemed to be warming to Mick and I certainly warmed when I hit the hostel hill. It was late, so I had to knock up the doorman, in the nicest sense of the phrase, he was a big Kiwi. Then I hit the sack, a happy man.

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