Thursday, September 27, 2007

Aspen House, Auckland, NZ

So. Auckland. Right.

It’s big. Big enough that it’s really not so good for the walking dedicated (okay, fine, bus-phobic) like me. I’ve managed to wander around the same stuff for the past four days, and I’ve come to some conclusion about this section of central Auckland.

It’s not a particularly attractive city. It doesn’t have charming European architecture, instead leaning more towards industrial. What with the close proximity there’s a big Asian community here, so there’s all the Chinese/Japanese/Thai/I Can’t Read That Language So I Have No Idea What It Is food you could possibly want. My favorite so far is this:

Mmm, flesh AND fruity!

Which I can only assume is some kind of combination meat market/greengrocer.

Friends of my grandparents picked me up and took me to what I’m pretty sure is Mt. Eden, the tallest extinct volcano “in the area,” as Lonely Planet so helpfully puts it.


(All that grass is on the inside of the volcano. Apparently you’re not allowed to walk into the cone, but there IS a path in case you do).


I went up the Sky Tower (which, I learned is the tallest structure in the southern hemisphere! Weighs as much as 6000 elephants!) and, for the low, low price of $15 got to see 360º views of a rainy Auckland.

They have this thing called the “Sky Jump” which tethers you between two cables that run from the top of the tower down to the bottom, and allows you to fall (“controlled fall,” I’m sure) all the way down. How completely delightful. There’s also a sign in the observation deck that lets you know how long until the next person jumps, which is a little uncomfortable (“Jumper in 30 seconds!”)

Jumping from the Sky Tower

There are glass – well, probably not glass, but some clear-but-dirty something or other – so you can look STRAIGHT down to the street.

God I hate heights

They promise that the glass section is just as strong as the concrete, but I’m pretty sure that’s a Big Fat Lie.

Really, really hate heights

I was pretty queasy the whole time I was up there.

Then, yesterday, after being distracted all morning by neat shops, I went to the zoo. You’ll be relieved to know that visitors to the Auckland Zoo are just as charming and delightful as visitors in the states (“See if you can pet the otter, honey!” “Here, why don’t you sit on the wall with your legs dangling in the animal pen! What a clever idea!” “Here, hippo, have some popcorn!” ).

They have a kiwi, which, being nocturnal, is kept in a completely dark room – so dark that my eyes didn’t adjust the whole time I was in there – and its pen is lit by a red light so you can really just see an outline. It was still cute. Kiwis are cute. They’re round and fuzzy and they toddle along, wobbling back and forth. Cute.

Click on this picture to browse through all my zoo pictures (as soon as I get them all uploaded, which may be a while. Check back often!

Or, if you prefer, in slideshow form.

Oh! And I was asked about the food! I haven’t had much of an appetite, and all my breakfasts have been at the hotel (corn flakes, toast), but I had Thai food (massamun curry) which was fine, and I ate at a pub (chicken and mushroom penne – though it wasn’t penne as I know it – in a pesto-and-cream sauce) and it was fine. I’ve also had more than one bag of “Grain Waves” chips, which are just like Sun Chips. But crunchier. And I had a toasted ham, cheese, and pineapple sandwich.

So, in conclusion, the food thus far as been unmemorable.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Yikes! That looking straight down is SCARY! There are these great experiments with chicks- they won't walk across plexiglass when they visualize there is no bottom. Who knew they were so smart.
And the jumping...who would do that? STRANGE. I mean, strap a big tank of your bank and hang out in 70 feet of water for 40 mins...that makes sense, but jump off a building? People are strange.

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