Auckland, New Zealand

Set your mind on fire and see where it leads you…..collect all the tools of expression, feed on books, culture, languages, art, dance….the world is so full of interesting everything….keep learning. I intend to die full of … music and dreams.

Pamela Anderson

3 hours to Seattle, 1 hour layover, 2.5 hours to Los Angeles, 7 hours layover, then 13.5 hours flight time to Auckland. Leave Wednesday morn at 6 am arrive Friday morn at 9:30. But the good part was the long flight prompted very good posture as no room to slouch in the seat as my knees hit the seat in front, requiring sitting very upright. 3 movies, 2 meals, a few hours of sleep and when the daylight returned awesome views of the South Pacific. Only island I saw was part of Samoa but clouds amazing

First impression is customs and always scares me. Somehow they always seem to pick me out, and do to being an island New Zealand is very strict on its importation. We had washed our packs, cleaned shoes etc. they inspected all and began a conversation with us. Generally a rule never converse with customs, but here everyone was friendly and helpful. A quick glance at our gear and then a 10 minute conversation about wonders of the world.

Then pick up our “spaceship” rental van. That was again fun spending a couple hours talking and laughing with the folks, while they explained the intricacies of the van. And installing new SIM cards in phones. That is always a challenge but much easier here due to language is English.

Then the year challenge – teaching an old dog a new trick. Driving on the left. Instinct of 50 years says if in doubt go right. Scary turning right and wanting to go to right side of traffic island, but the number of cars approaching there says no. Simple stuff but the quick instinctive reactions are scary. Try to avoid.

Jeanne and I had quite some marital disharmony with her navigating and me driving, but seemed to survive. Getting better and even able to look around a bit now.

Met our friends Zak and Natasha at campground. They promoted this trip with coming down here to work for a year. We figured we best go visit. They just arrived a week ago being delayed a couple months due to a broken leg. Alas. Great to meet up.

Auckland seems like a nice town although ready to get out of city. Spending two nights so we can learn the van, learn driving in traffic and generally organize our life.

thus far have managed to set off car alarm in car park after most had gone to bed. In the morning could not get out of car due to child lock on door and afraid to move due to fear of setting off alarm at 6 am

We did go to the museum and learned much of history, natural wonders, and the many wars New Zealand has been in. Seems War is an adventure for many and one feels a devotion to ones country for whatever reason. But as Bruce Springsteen said blind allegiance can get you killed.

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and in to the north

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