Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Auckland, New Zealand

I had to transfer planes in Melbourne - an English passenger freaked me out by telling me I needed a Australian visa for transferring. This made no sense, and I the interweb didn't mention anything of this, but the lack of sleep was exaggerating everything and all through security I was convinced I was going to get deported back to Bali. Turns out there was no issue with a visa for transferring passengers, he was full of shit. The only issue was the ridiculously drawn-out luggage screening process, on a transfer. My bags were screened 4 times in Indonesia before I got on the plane. Where do they thing I'd been since then?? 

On the plane my paranoia turned to New Zealand immigration, and the little form they hand out asking a million questions about what you have with you, and where have you been. I was positive on 2 of these questions - I was carrying coffee beans and I'd been jungle trekking in the last 30 days. I thought this over a lot. I'd better declare the coffee beans, as they're sure to scan my luggage. The trekking I decided to half-declare, as it'd been nearly 30 days since Borneo, and I'd been walking around the volcanoes of Java for a week. When interviewed at immigration (they're strict!) I mentioned the beans and she let them pass. I said that I'd been trekking around some volcanoes and she looked at the soles of my boots - and let them pass also. Good-o! New Zealand here I am!

I'd booked into the fat camel nomad hostel. Each floor was like an apartment with 4 or 5 rooms, each containing 3 bunk beds - the rooms could barely fit these bunk beds. On entering the room there were some 20 year old's discussing last nights bucket drinking feats, and whether or not the alcohol was as strong as it is in Europe. I said hi (and was mostly ignored) and went to the bedroom. Mom - when you came into my room as a teenager and asked me if a bomb had exploded, I have the utmost understanding and sympathy at this point! There were clothes, bags, washing products and wires EVERYWHERE! It was incredibly muskly, like no fresh air had ever passed through. I was exhausted from the journey and after some food I was asleep. I woke early the next morning, and in the bed opposite were boy and girl in bottom bunk, and underneath me were boy and girl in bottom bunk! I hate it when couples book shared dorm's then decide to sleep in the same bed - it's just rude - or maybe that's just me being a prude.

The non-humid cool air is literally a breath of fresh air - I can feel my lungs grabbing as much as they can hold. It was a little rainy from the "mini-hurricane" which had passed over - this left the ground soggy and I LOVE that soggy grassy tree-bark smell - it's incredibly comforting! Walking past a group of taxi drivers and them not even noticing you feels a little odd - I almost want to say hey guys, possible fare here! Just not standing out like a sore thumb feels nice - although I do stand out a little, as I'm remarkably browner than everyone else (apart from the Maori's). There's a great "who shot the stars" exhibition at the Auckland gallery - showcasing the best rock and roll photography over the decades. There was also a cute outdoor salsa night on at the local square - I went there instead of a pub crawl they were trying to get me to go on at the hostel.

Auckland is OK, nothing special. I was ready to head south within one day.


Sniff sniff - ahhhh !!

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