Hello from Auckland!
My last week in New Zealand. I was hoping to catch a boat out of NZ, but it is proving difficult, so I’ll be flying back to Fiji, where I will catch up with a boat headed for Tuvalu, Kiribati, Marshall Islands and Micronesia. Trading casual crew work for a ride and accommodation on a boat will be the best and most cost effective way for me to get to the islands in Oceania, so to find one headed to 4 countries was a score. I’ve been emailing with the captain and will meet him in Fiji and decide if it’s a good fit.
With the amount of time I have already spent in the small country, I was starting to feel like it was dragging. But booking the flight out brought a sudden finality to it, and an urgency to get everything taken care of. And by that I mean seeing a few more spots in Auckland, spending more time with my new French friends, soaking up as much Wi-Fi as I can (the binge before the drought), and picking up any goods that I need that are more readily available in a bigcity (e.g. sunscreen).
Monday was celebrated as the Queen’s Birthday. No, you’re right. There isn’t a queen of New Zealand. Australia, New Zealand and all the other nations formerly bearing ties to the UK show strange remnants of their former colonization. This one is even stranger, as all of the Brits said that the UK celebrates the Queen’s Birthday on a different week. You know what? She’s the Queen. She can have as many birthdays as she wants! I ran into my sweet French friends and we went to the wharf for the festivities.
This week I also got to take in two major sporting events. The FIFA Under 20 World Cup is being held in New Zealand and there was a NZ vs. USA match. I got a few folks from the hostel to go – another girl from Chicago and a Canadian who sported the red, white and blue for us. For $21 NZD (~$15 USD) we got tickets to the match and roundtrip bus (plus free face painting). That was great fun (especially since the US won 4-0), but the real sport in New Zealand is rugby. Just my luck – there was a Super Rugby match with two NZ teams! Even luckier, my hostel and another paired up to bring a big group, and I ended up with a guy from London who is a RAVING rugby fan, so he explained everything that was going on. Worked out for him too, as he had a lot of questions, randomly, about baseball. A seat match made in sports heaven.
How quickly I went from feeling stale in Auckland to getting quite sad about leaving. Ho-hum, though, I “have to” go back to Fiji.