Hello there! Or Kia Ora as they say down under. I have officially arrived in New Zealand. I flew Air New Zealand, and they did an excellent job of making an economy seat pleasurable for 11 hours. They had all sorts of on-demand movies to watch which was neat. I arrived at about 5:30 am and I had a kiwi friend of mine pick me up. We had breakfast, but I still was not able to drop off my bags until 8, and check in until 12:30. To pass the time we headed out to Piha beach which is about 30 minutes east of Auckland. It was beautiful and had the softest black sand. Since we were there so early, we basically had the beach to ourselves. Which was nice since I decided to take a cat nap. I happened to arrive on Halloween and about 24 hours before the Rugby World Cup final which the All Blacks ( New Zealand National Team) were in. That night was going to be a big night. I wanted to be prepared, so after Piha, I finally checked into my room, took the most amazing shower, and a longer, much needed, nap. My kiwi friend Matt, was going to pick me up and take me to a party at his friend’s. After the party, we were to take another nap and then watch the Rugby. The party was fun, I met lots of kiwis, an ex-pat Irish Women, and a fellow American. I’m not quite sure how I did it, but I woke up and watched the Rugby at 4am. Boy, what a game. The All Blacks were victorious. After what I think was my final cat nap, (too much going on, and no proper sleep in days) I explored the area of Mt Eden and then went over to Matt’s parent’s house for a local kiwi Sunday night dinner. It was lovely. I made it back to my room, took a shower and crawled into bed ready for my first real night’s sleep in New Zealand. Because of all the craziness that went on when I first arrived, I just had a few really tiring days, and then I was used to the time zone. Before I left, New Zealand was 19 hours ahead. Then they had their summer time change. When I arrived, they were now 20 hours ahead of the west coast. Then the States had their fall time change. So New Zealand is 21 hours ahead. It’s simple for me to think everyone back home is 3 hours ahead, but I am a day ahead. All very confusing. Mt. Eden (where I was staying) is a suburb of Auckland, so after two nights there, I made my way to my new room downtown. My first day downtown I took the ferry over to Waiheke Island. It’s a 30-minute ferry ride over to a quaint little ritzy beach town. Something similar to Coronado. They have all sorts of little shops, restaurants, and wineries. I did a lot of hiking and exploring that day. I ended up getting lost near a few different wineries. It wasn’t bad; the view from one of them was breathtaking. I could have lived there. I finally made my way back down to the ferry and back to Auckland. My last day in the city I wanted to explore downtown more and find Mckenna her All Blacks rugby jersey. I found some neat shops with lots of kiwi things I wanted to buy, but I will definitely have to wait until I make more room in my bag. Matt came and picked me up, and we went to the Warf for some kiwi style fish and chips. I’m not a huge fish person, but I enjoyed them. They also have this french fry which is made of a type of potato called kumara (which is essentially a sweet potato). It tastes even better than a sweet potato fry. Also, the salmon is different down here. I had a small bite, and it tasted less fishy than in the States. It looked more oily, not as flakey and a darker pink shade. I said farewell to Matt and gathered my things as I prepared for my next journey up north to the Bay of Islands.
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