I am currently already in Auckland, New Zealand, and have been for 5 days now. But unfortunately the weather is extremely rainy, and this has kept me in hostels for the largest part of my time so far.
Tomorrow will be a pretty nice day, and the day after should be ok-ish, but after that it is another 5 days of forecasted rain. Where I will spend those days I am not sure yet. Tomorrow however I will try to hitchhike out of here, going up north from Auckland to try and get to the north-most tip of New Zealand for no specific reason other than that it is the complete north, and that will give me the added goal of reaching the utter south-end of the country. It should be doable within a day, after which I will camp there and await the weather of the next day before planning on where to go next.
But what have I been up to so far?
Despite the rain, I HAVE been doing things. The first day I slept through most of the day, as I had a very long trip to get here: I'd been awake for at least 30 hours, suffering through 24 hours of flying with a single 2-hour stop in Kuala Lumpur. I didn't feel great physically, as the weekend before leaving I've caught something or other giving me nausea and the runs. By the time of leaving on wednesday this had largely passed, but not completely. Airplane food certainly didn't help.
So on the first day I woke up at 15:30 and managed to get some food and a power adapter so that I can make use of the sockets here. I talked with some people in the hostel, and went back to bed pretty early in my single room. I spent two nights in the single room before having to switch to a dorm-room, but by then I'd recovered from the trip ok and the company was welcome.
On Friday I walked downtown to check out the stores and just generally have a look around. I found a small shopping centre, and while I was checking out the second floor I came to the conclusion all the stores were closed. Right before I was about to turn around, I saw a homeless man lying on the floor asleep, oblivious to the world around him. I decided to help him out.
I walked back down and started to look for places I could get him something to eat. I saw a convenience store where I bought a 2,5 liter jug of pineapple juice, and I ordered a pepperoni pizza at Domino's. Then I wanted to find two cups so we could share a drink, and set out looking for them while the pizza was being made ready. I checked out a store where they sold fruit-drinks and stuff like that, but they wouldn't give me any cups. I offered to buy two for a dollar or two, but I was told that wasn't possible and it would cost 7 bucks per cup. Hearing that I walked out, and tried somewhere else. I found another convenience store that had a coffee counter, which unfortunately was closed. I walked in to see if someone in the store could still help me. A woman somewhere in her 50's came over to me, and explaining what I wanted to do she gave me two cups as she carefully looked around to see if nobody was watching. Apparently giving me the cups could get her in trouble, but she helped me out anyway. Having all that I wanted, I went to give it all to the homeless man.
When I woke him up he was startled, probably expecting the police to send him off, but instead he got me. I gave him the pizza and poured the both of us a drink, and as he woke up we got to talking.
After a minute I sat down next to him, and thus we sat there talking for quite a while about life on the streets, what I had come to New Zealand for, and life on the road. An hour or so later I said goodbye to Inhaka (I'm not sure if I spelled that correctly, but he told me he was also known as Big John) and went back to the hostel, fulfilled after having been able to pay forward some of all of the help I've been given during all my hitchhiking.
Yesterday I spent the better part of the day at the Auckland historical museum, which was really interesting. The ground floor was all about Maori life, and held the biggest interest for me. The second floor had exhibits about nature, the local wildlife, vulcanoes etc. and the third floor was about New Zealand's history of war: the New Zealand Wars, the Boer war, WW1 and WW2. I saw a small alcove about Vietnam and UN troops too. The biggest attraction there were the two WW2 fighter planes they still had, a British Spitfire and a Japanese 'Zero'. But overall, I liked the Maori tribal stuff the best.
The outside of the Auckland Museum.
Some Maori woodcarvings. Unfortunately the GoPro isn't all that useful indoors.
A house filled with great carvings.
A head bust of a Maori warrior.
Restauration work being carried out.
There were schools on a field trip too.
An old-school raft!
There were a lot of old weapons, armours, shields and tools on display.
These were put over doorways to ward off evil.
A long ship.
Weapons on display.
Shields and spears.
This was something very special: an icepick used by Edmund Hillary during his ascent of Mount Everest, where he became the first to ever reach the top along with Tenzing Norgay.
This one was rather weird to look at: it's a cast of a Pompeii victim. When he was discovered the excavators put a mold on him to preserve his shape and posture. This is a cast of that mold. He was discovered sitting up against a wall with his hands covering his mouth so he wouldn't breathe in the smoke.Today my habit of extending my stay at the hostel with a day at a time bit me in the ass, as it turned out all the rooms had been fully booked. That meant I had to pack up all my stuff and find somewhere else to stay. Thankfully I had seen another hostel just a hundred meters or so away in a little sidestreet, and I figured I'd try my luck there. I was in luck, there was still room in a 4-bed dorm room. When I entered the room someone was already there, a British guy called Scott. He's a very friendly and socially pro-active guy, and he immediately invited me along on a walk to Mount Eden, a local vulcano about an hours walk away. Our neighbour was going along as well, and before we left we got another roommate from Norway. Now we were four, and so we headed out.
It was a brisk walk that immediately taught me how out of shape I am as we headed uphill. I have some training ahead of me! Thankfully the way up wasn't too long, and the view well worth it.
The Mount Eden vulcano.
And to top it off, a video :)
I had a shower before dinner and managed to do the laundry here, and now I am all set to head out tomorrow. Hopefully I will have some interesting stories to tell when I next return. See you all then!