I know it's a little ridic to be updating on every day .. but I feel every day is an adventure worth writing about... but, I'll condense it.
I went to the local "grocerette" to purchase shampoo and I bought 'scrumbles' a breakfast bar for children which is actually quite tasty. Went downtown to SKY CITY which is a really tall tower (the tallest in the southern hemisphere, as it were) similar to the space needle (actually exactly the same). While waiting for Stefan (my online friend lulz) to show up at sky tower, I was staring upwards at the people who base jump off... and this old British couple came up and talked to me. 'Has anyone jumped yet?' asked the woman 'oh someone just did' I said. 'I'll do my first jump at 73 years old.' said the man with a chuckle. 'No better time,' I responded. Our conversation continued a bit till they left for coffee.
After that, ate at MEXICAN CAFE which was pure crap. worst "mexican food" I've ever had... Purchased my first beer, however, which was quite an experience. I felt weird about it, but after showing them my driver's license and having them dispute whether to accept it or not, they did and I drank my beer. Victory was mine.
Left for somewhere just outside Auckland to go to the Auckland Museum, which had a BEAUTIFUL view. I got there on THE BUS! My first real experience with Auckland public transportation and.. I got change! Passed by a pick-up truck that is actually some sort of race car? it had a wing on it! and a billboard for 'Hung' which was a giant penis and balls in underwear. like bulging and everything... a bit much.
Reflection: The bus gave change, which I thought was the most amazing thing I've ever heard of. A bus? giving change? That would never happen in LA (and probably not USA in general). And yet, there I was, handing the driver a 2 dollar coin and getting 40 cents in return. There is much to be learned here...
As I ate, I thought about customs of eating and social behaviour and thought whether I was fitting in enough or not ... then realized I didn't care.
Being here is opening me up to more conversations with more people than I could have ever expected to have. The most interesting thing so far is people have been asking me 'So are you from around here?' as if my accent wasn't a dead giveaway. Maybe I'll start playing it off...
Talking to some of the kids in the hostel, they agree I'm not a typical American.
I DID, however, stumble upon a few "typical Americans" and right off the bat I did not like them. I thought perhaps this was my automatic instinct to dislike that which is like me, but yet everyone else I've talked to in the hostel agrees--they're loud, obnoxious, and snobbish.
I went to mission bay, all on my own, and on public transportation once again! I walked down Queen St. to Britomart (the Union Station of Auckland) and caught a bus heading to Mission Bay. As I walked out the bus was just about to leave but then he motioned to 'YOU WANT THIS BUS?' and I ran to it. The drive was beautiful, as the road it took hugged the coast and wound around the hills and bays. I got off at Mission Bay (a sortof posh venice beach? with no hippies or vendors.. maybe The Grove + Beach) and sat in the park watching children play in the fountain and boys playing rugby/cricket. I walked to the beach and sat enjoying the small waves and warm sand. Two old ladies came in their bathing suits and went straight into the water, yelling at each other and doing flips in the water. loved it. Listened to 'Saturday in the Park' by Chicago, which fit so, so well. There were sooo many shells in the sand, I made a little image out of them, but forgot to take a picture.
After I got up and walked to Fish Pot Cafe and bought some Fish 'n Chips (of course!). I was looking around for ketchup and found packets...for sale. The ketchup packets were 60 cents each. OUTRAGEOUS! I vowed after that moment to keep ketchup with me at all times to avoid paying such high prices. The fish and chips were delicious though! Then I went to the corner to get 'movenpick' ice cream. I thought I knew what ice cream was.. I knew nothing.
American ice cream does not hold a MATCH to this. It was the most rich, flavorful, delicious, creamy ice cream I've ever had. I'm going to be dreaming about it for the rest of my life. I will move to Auckland just for this ice cream.
I then went back to the beach front to enjoy the weather a bit more before I left. Sitting on a stone wall, two Asian boys came up to me asking to take a picture. I asked why and they said 'We are tourists and would like a picture with you as souvenir' how could I turn that down? I agreed and I posed as any Asian would .. PEACE SIGNS! they said thank you and left, even though I was not from New Zealand (and they knew this). It was truly the strangest event of the day.
I came back to the hostel and hung out with Oke (my Maori friend who lives here) and two other kids I met (Afren was the girl's name and I don't know the guy's) and we played pool. Then Oke and I talked a bit and started talking to this kid Todd who is from the South Island but studied here for the past three years. Turns out he is an ANIMATOR and is hoping to go to Cal Arts sometime in the future.. I then met his girlfriend (who is from Missouri) and found out SHE KNOWS SOMEONE I KNOW FROM LA. small, small, small world. I mean, what are the chances? Really? Oke and I and a few other kids watched the 3rd Pirates of the Carribean and thus ended my day.
Reflection: At the beach made me feel like I was still in California, just a part of it that no one realized was there and where everyone kinda talked funny. I didn't feel far from home at all and it was extremely comforting. The Asians, the tourists, the american ads... it all felt so familiar.
The potatoes I had in my fish 'n chips were so very different from the kind at home. they're ... thicker, i suppose in terms of .. I don't even know. but they feel very different. best fries I've ever had.
I don't know what else to say ... I guess this post is long enough...
you don't have to read it all, but I like keeping down everything that is happening.