Wednesday, March 4, 2009

New friends, giant birds and motor scooters

We just got back from our weekend in the big city of Auckland. There we met up with Danny and Jaime, a couple of Californians who arrived here for a two-year stint in October, who were kind enough to put us up for a night. Danny's with KPMG too, and he and Jake met a few months back at some training in the States. It was so great to meet them and hear how their NZ experience has been so far -- they gave us lots of great ideas. 

Because it was a little rainy, we went in search of things to do indoors. We started out at Sky Tower -- see the pointy thing in the background of these photos? That's the tallest building in the southern hemisphere. We decided not to spend the $25 to go up in the tower since it was so rainy and cloudy at the time that it would have been useless. So we wandered through the Sky City complex, with restaurants and fountains and the most obscure casino I've ever seen. 

After a driving tour of the city, we landed at Auckland museum, where we saw all kinds of Maori and Pacific Island artifacts. There were awesome carvings, artwork, and an amazing 20-meter-long war canoe. But Jake missed all of that -- he was preoccupied with a giant bird that was giving him a dirty look. 

The next day Jake and I hopped on a ferry to Waiheke Island, just 30 minutes or so from the city. The sun was out and the scenery was spectacular, so we rented a couple scooters and drove all around, stopping at beaches, shops and wineries along the way. What a great little vacation spot! I was having so much fun that I completely forgot to reapply my sunscreen and came back with a bit of a burn on my arms. 

This is a handy sticker. I wouldn't mind getting one for our car. 

Then Sunday night we drove out of the city to the Coromandel Penninsula and stayed in a fabulous bed and breakfast near Thames. We came back with so many photos from our trip that I didn't even sort through them before posting the slideshow below. So I'll warn you now there are 96 photos.

I've added a map on the right-hand side of the page for your reference. Clicking on it will take you to Google Maps, and from there you can search for any city or region that we mention, if you're curious.



Jamie Stark said...

I'm going to start my own blog as a point-counterpoint to your little 'diary' here. It's going to be call "HOW THE OTHER HALF LIVES".

Corey said...

Eek, you should have just showed that damn bird your 12 gauge; he would have shut his mouth then.

Jake said...

I don't know if a 12 gauge would do much to that turkey...probably just get him angry!

Mom Deed said...

You guys look so cute in your helmets, I bet that was a fun scooter ride! That sounds like a great weekend to me. By the way, did Jake try a conciliatory caw-caw to this bird in an effort to communicate?

jamie said...

That's funny ... I'm not sure, so I'll let him respond. But wanted to mention that anytime I've ever heard him communicate with birds, it's been at the top of his lungs. "caw-CAAAAAAWWWW!"

Corey said...

Yea, that sounds about right.

Well, NZ birds may not be scared of Jake but if they ever run into any of the tattooed bullhead from the creek out at the farm they might think about giving Jake a bit of respect!