Its been almost 4 days since I left New York and yet it feels so much longer. I had a great flight to LAX sitting next to a Lebanese Business man who turned out to be a great seat partner. Layover in LA was full of expensive food and some good phone converstations. Finally, I boarded my 13-hour Air New Zealand Flight direct to Auckland. It. Was. So. Long.
I made it through customs successfully and took a shuttle to my hotel getting there just in time to make it to my harbour-side room for the sunrise. =)
Auckland is an incredible city, the “big” city of New Zealand (1.2 million people). I spent the morning on the waterfront before climbing to the top of the Auckland Harbour Bridge. I hate heights, but I had a blast. The view could only have been better if there was sunny. I was the only one on the walk/tour while everyone else there was bungy jumping, which simply terrifies me. After the bridge climb, I got a coupon for a restaurant on the harbour where I had a server from Galway, Ireland. She’s on a work visa from the University of Galway and was excited to hear that I’ll be travelling there in December. I explored all over the city until it began to rain.
Was it really necessary for NY’s weather to follow me halfway around the world??
I went back to the hotel and watched the sunset. I then had dinner 190 metres above the city in the SkyTower, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere. The food was INCREDIBLE and came with a paired glass of wine. Full, I headed back to the Hotel for a short night’s sleep, watched the sunrise in the morning, and boarded my train by 7:30.
This train ride has been one of my best decisions so far. The seats were really comfortable and the views were incredible. Food was reasonably priced at the dining car and attached to the front of the train was an outdoor viewing car which was not that popular during the trip thanks to the rain and cold temperatures. I arrived in Wellington at 8:30 Sunday night and after checking in, headed down to the city with my roommates and some other Americans. The first place we went to didn’t accept a NYS driver’s license as an acceptable form of identification, so we had to leave. After we found another place, we hung out for a few hours, getting to know each other. I then had the best night’s sleep I’ve had since Spring Break.
Today, I got a cell phone for my time here, had coffee in a cafe, explored Wellington’s Harbour and visited the Te Papa National Museum. Which reminds me: there is no coffee as we know it hear. What am I going to do?! I’m trying to adjust to the Long Black, but its very heavy so we’ll see. They also don’t put cream in their coffee, only milk, which I’m also adjusting to. Wellington is my kind of city. It’s not too big and not too small with a lot of variety. I could never move this far away from NY forever (don’t worry mom) but know I will enjoy living here for the next five months.
That’s all so far from New Zealand. Orientation tomorrow and enrolment on Wednesday so I’ll update again later this week. I’m glad to be settled in a permanent place and look forward to exploring the area more.
Talk to you all soon,
Pictures from Auckland: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=281466&id=713885494&l=27d5385327
Pictures from the train and Wellington: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=282624&id=713885494&l=4148bc852f