Now Serving: A Big Slice of Auckland
This past week has been choppy, broken up by travel to different countries, different airlines, different currencies, different time zones, different people, and different foods, so I am going to do things a bit…different…and slice this blog post into different categories and serve my first week in the South Pacific.
Well I’m just going to jump out there and say that if you’re transferring to an international flight with under two hours at LAX, you should lace up your running shoes.
I had a 5-hour layover in Fiji before flying into Auckland. As the plane made it’s descent, sleepy eyes peered out the window at the jagged, lush land colored deeply with hues of red and purple splayed by the not-yet-risen sun. This peaceful awakening was quickly aroused as I exited the plane and stepped into sounds of ukuleles and singing. A small band of men sang to us disheveled and stale airplane guests as we waited in line to transfer planes. While cheerful at first, the singing soon grew old. We were not a special batch, us Fiji Airway Flight 411 people. Every flight that arrived was given the same greeting. The poor men were drenched in sweat, belting notes into a broken microphone at unenthusiastic travelers. By the time I left for my connecting flight, I had heard the song nearly 20 times. If I weren’t tone deaf I’d sing it for you and post a recording.
The food in Auckland is very expensive. It’s about 18-20 NZ dollars for a middle-of-the-range meal. We’ve cooked meals together, but have also done some exploring of the local cuisine. On Friday, we went to an outdoor movie theatre at Silo Park, an architecturally magnificent park along the water. The area includes large Silos with murals painted on them, enormous rolling lounge chairs, and a children’s library made of shipping crates (check it out here! My photos do no justice: Silo Park ). There were delicious food trucks, ecstatic people, and a small flea market with overpriced knick-knacks. While the movie itself was not too engaging (it was about a person who’s parents turn into pigs…or something of that nature), it was a wonderfully spent evening.
The city of Auckland is very straightforward, tidy, and supplemented by lots of greenery. On Friday, we went to the Domain, a large park that resembles the English countryside. The rolling hills, dabbles of greenery, and trim cricket fields provide a silent, sculpted escape from the city. Within the park are the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Auckland Botanical Gardens, among other sights. The Botanical Gardens grew quite unique plants, including lily pads that can hold the weight of a small child.
On Saturday we went to the beach. It was a 7-mile walk along the water. Just because it is overcast, does not mean you will not get burnt.
Our program paraded to a sports bar that played the Seahawks game! While the turnout wasn’t huge, there were other Auckland residents supporting the hawks. Even for a lame, not-football-watching person as myself (this was the first entire football game I’ve watched in…maybe a year?…oops), it was still great. We even got a glimpse of life back home, eyeing the blustery rainstorm from our warm oasis. I’ll stop rubbing it in and let the pictures do it justice.