Monday, January 4, 2010

KiaOra from Auckland!

First of all I had totally planned on blogging before now but I've been having some internet issues and stores close so early around here! Its been days and I miss you guys and we have so much to catch up on!

The flight went well although 13 hour is just too long and my hiney got sore. Eventually we arrived and the honeymoon began!!

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Here we are getting into the wrong side of the car...to drive on the wrong side of the road...its so wrong...its so unnatural. Here is the deal. I constantly forget which way to look for oncoming traffic and this major spaz out occurs every time I have to make a turn. Why you ask?

Well, first I find I have to turn. Then I have to figure out which way to look. Then I have to signal. This seems to be the hardest part because the signal is on the right and the windshield wipers are on the left which is backwards of course. Then I have to remember that when I turn I need to stay on the left side of the divider. Of course when I miss my turn and the GPS says U-turn I need to merge to my right, not to my left, silly.

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So. If you are reading this and you happen to live in New Zealand please look for me driving in my leetle white Toyota Corolla. If you happen to notice that although its not raining, my window wipers are on and I seem to be screaming, sweating and laughing, please let me in, I'd like to merge. Thank you.

Here are a couple shots from the area. I have no idea why the photos started uploading in mini low resolution version but beggars can't be choosers. Lets not anger the laptop gods.

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Rental bikes everywhere. B loves this.

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Auckland feels very familiar in a way that many large cities do. Part LA, part San Fran. Its a stop for many cruise lines and a huge tourist attraction.

What we didn't know is that New Zealand believes in really taking their time off for holiday. The city was like a ghost town with the exception of us tourist. Most stores were closed or open with modified hours. Apparently, the Kiwis close up shop and head out from about the 24th of December until January 4th. Sounds like a good plan to me.

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We got settled into our rooms and headed to Degree for lunch.

B has been sampling the local beers and I had a Shanty. I have no idea if thats how you spell it but its like a light beer and sprite. Really. It was actually surprisingly refreshing. Like a white wine spritzer. I'm cringing while I write this. I wouldn't order it again but I can see how people would like it.

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Oysters Kilpatick. Basically grilled oysters topped with bacon. New Zealand style bacon which is more like American ham. Its not bacon strips. The sauce was a soy base/ vinegar base and very tasty.

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Fish and Chips! You know, because its NZ so I had to try it. I love the presentation. The center has ketchup, malt vinegar and tartar sauce.

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3 course for lunch. I love honeymoons. Not that B and I wouldn't do this anyway but it just seems so right on a honeymoon.

This is a blueberry torte with bery compote. That big scoop on top? The one that looks like ice cream... its marscarpone. A big huge scoop of marscarpone. Its creamy, heavenly goodness.

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I'd like to interrupt that thought to say that I want to move into this store. Its called Nood and it rocks. Its sort of mid-century modern which I love.

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I want this chair. They have a lot of variations on it and I want them all. See the yellow one on the flip side? Too cute.

I will totally buy these when I win the lottery.

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After walking around we took a nap. Aren't naps the greatest? We'd been up since 5 am and really need to sleep. Sitting in an airplane and sleeping isn't all that refreshing.

When we got up we decided to.... go eat. Of course. The thing about asian places, particularly Chinese food, is that they never close. When the whole city is shut down you can always find an open chinese restaurant.

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On order of dumplings gave us 20. 20 dumplings?!

These were beyond delicious. The best I have ever had. Handmade and delicate. I love these dumplings.

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I have no idea what the name of the restaurant is because everything was in Chinese.

These scallion pancakes were amazing. More like a bread than a pancake.

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Its actually a lot like naan. Have you had naan? They have it at Trader Joes, get the frozen kind you can bake. You'll thank me later.

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Um. Is that raw shrimp and dough on that far table?

Is that pork and beef dumpling filling on the table with the random cups?

Why yes, yes it is. Yes, they did sit out on those tables the entire duration of our meal.

No we did not get sick. I can only say that my guardian angel must have taken one for the team and let me skate by without food poisoning. But I will repeat. Those were the best dumplings ever. Ever. ~sigh~ Oh how can that be?

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Later we headed to the Sky Tower which is really the distinctive structure in the Auckland sky line.

The tower stands 328 m which is taller than the Eiffel Tower to give you an idea of scale.

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I stepped into the elevator to mentally prepare for being so high up. I really don't appreciate heights like this. Only I couldn't prepare because the darn floor had a huge glass panel in it.

A huge glass panel so you could see through as the elevator went up. So I tried to keep my eyes up and then I realized that the elevator doors were made of glass and the elevator was going up the face of the tower so you could see outside as the levels climbed.

So basically I had to stand with my nose in the corner like a bad child until my stomach unclenched... about an hour later when we were back on the ground.

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Here B is standing on the glass paneled floor over Auckland. I didn't walk on it. But I watched him and sent out encouraging thoughts.

I guess this answers any questions about whether or not I plan on bungy jumping.

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Can you see me leaning away from the window?

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The city view was gorgeous and we were up there from Twilight until dark. It gets dark just after 9 pm in NZ.

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Our hotel is just to the right of this shot, basically off the water. Really gorgeous.

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Ha! I love this sign.

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I'll leave you with this. This is Auckland at 5 am. We had the window open and I woke up to the sounds on the docks. I love the sounds of the boats moving in and people loading up.

I love the sights and sounds of the day starting. Well, as long as it involves waking up on vacation and not the sound of the alarm when I'm heading into work.

18 comments:

  1. Beautiful! OK. You're making me want to visit NZ--and it has never been on my radar before!

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  2. So glad you posted! I've been missing you!
    What a metropolis! Never knew Auckland was so ... up-to-date. The food looks great and that elevator looks pretty freaky, if you ask me. Heights don't bother me too much, but that would!
    Beautiful!

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  3. Oh so pretty! Looks like ya'll are having a grand time, minus the whole spazzing on the roads thing. ;) As for mascarpone cheese....oh my word...I make it homemade when make tiramisu and it's SO good.

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  4. Now I seriously want to go to New Zealand but I wouldn't be driving; I'm not brave enough for that!

    It looks and sounds like you guys are having a great time, which makes me very happy!! : )

    I LOVE naan. Trader Joe's needs to expand to Canada...but then so do a lot of cool American institutions, we're hard done by up here in the near north, don't ya know?!!

    Be well! ~Andrea~

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  5. Wow so pretty. I guess I never envisioned Aukland before. It's a big city! You are so funny with the pics of the food. Everything looked really good. I'll have to try that naan someday;)

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  6. I cracked up over the elevator part. Girl you and me both! I freak out over heights, and I have trouble with elevators that aren't see through! WHY people? But the view looks like it was worth the stomach clenching.

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  7. Haha, that happened to me, too, when I first drove in Cairns. Chris was shouting, "Wrong side, wrong side!" as I turned into oncoming traffic. :) Here, I still occasionally get the wipers on when I want to signal and I've been driving here for over a year already.

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  8. ugh backwards driving...I would die...for real. The marscapone looks really important, I cant wait to see what else you do! I think I might be making potstickers or spanikopita today...its totally your fault....my mil wants it now too. So happy for you guys!

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  9. Dawn,

    Never before have I seen such amazing things. You are like Samantha Brown from the Travel Channel only you aren't getting paid. I love all your little finds in the greatest places. Who would have ever guessed that all this existed. Truly, you deserve your own travel channel blog!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

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  10. Love the pictures and all the information. I don't think I would like driving on the wrong side of the road:( It would be to confusing. The food looks delicious and it sounds like you are having a great time. I am with you on the elevator. We went to Oregon and hiked Multnoma (SP?) Falls and I had a panick attack on the way down. I did not like the height. Have fun.

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  11. Everything looks so interesting...I can't even imagine being half around the world. Just the wrong side of the car is boggling my mind. But as always, you are making me drool with your food pictures...Have the awesomemest adventure!

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  12. Yeah! Looks like so much fun so far. Those fish and chips and the blueberry torte thing make my mouth water. (Great photos too.)

    Have fun and be safe!

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  13. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

    My favorite thing was the phone number on the rental sign though (and the PILE OF MARSCAPONE).

    I'm so glad you're posting from abroad!

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  14. Sounds like you are already having a grand time..that sign is hilarious and I love me a shanty..they have them in England which is where I had my 1st one! soo yummie!! happy honeymooning!

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  15. Oh wow! I love seeing this through your eyes! Okay, this was super funny :"screaming, sweating and laughing". HA! That's so me, only in San Francisco, on the CORRECT side of the car...I can't imagine how I'd be on the wrong side. :o)
    We Cook Now, You Happy, Yes? is my new favorite saying of all time.
    Oh, and just the PHOTO of the glass panel in the elevator made me feel like I was spinning...Oh dear LORD!!! SCARY!!!

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  16. Oooooh! Just had a catch up of your auckland adventures so far! A friend has moved there so it's lovely to picture it a little. I LOVE that you're experiencing driving on the correct side of the road and car - sounds like I'd feel at home! Could your drink have been a shandy? It's my fav summer drink - a good lager or bitter with some lemonade, oh baby! Dave still feels like a bit of a girl when I make him order it though.

    Keep having an amazing time and keep going with the fabulous pics and avoidance of food poisoning!

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  17. Mmmmmmm.... Am feeling so very hungry now. Especially for some scallion pancakes of my own. So, is B going bungee jumping??

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  18. So many varying thought going on. Dumplings, EW? YUM? Don't be scared. It's okay? Bungee jumping? Which way do I turn? Which way do I turn? LOL!:)
    ~ingrid

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