Thursday, October 04, 2007

Whangaparaoa, NZ

There’s been a volcanic eruption and an earthquake here in the past week; you’d think I’d have some exciting stories.

I don’t. I do have some filler, though!

Plan was to spend last weekend with E and A, friends of my grandparents, then on Sunday or Monday I’d go back to Auckland and, from there, head to Wellington.

So last Friday I packed up all my things, left them in the luggage room of the hotel with the plan that I would head to Kelly Tarlton’s Antarctic Encounter & Underwater World. Lonely Planet and the Aquarium pamphlet both agreed that there was a free shuttle that ran on the hour from Discover New Zealand which was, conveniently enough, just around the corner from my hotel. Little did I know it was not to be.

I missed the 10am shuttle because I was finishing getting my things together and checking out of the hotel. I missed the 11am shuttle because I was in this keen store looking at things like this:



(This was on a package for a lunchbox napkin. I don't know).


(They're little single-serve mayo holders for your lunch. The banana thingy is connected to the SPOON SPREADER THINGY. I almost bought them because -- because -- it just... I just... what?!).

It’s possible I bought some “Fine Cosme For Your Beauty” and a business card tin with a dog on it that says “Dog gets dots.”

Finally at noon I made it to Discover New Zealand, where they informed me that the shuttle was now leaving from Sky City (where the Sky Tower is). So I missed that shuttle too. I could take the bus, they said, for $3. Hah.

At Sky City the 1pm shuttle was full. The driver promised she’d be back in an hour, and I smiled and nodded. The problem, of course, was that I had to be back by 4 to get my things and meet the ferry. That meant that if I went at 2pm I’d have less than two hours before I had to be back on the bus, AND I’d get to pay $30 for the privilege. Instead I went into a Sky City restaurant for a nice leisurely lunch.

And it was, until everyone was ushered outside because that loud clanging noise we were hearing? Was actually the fire alarm going off.


The shuttle came and went again, though it never seemed to empty. It just stayed packed to the gills.

Later, I passed by this:


Everyone was standing around taking pictures. I don’t know what was happening, but I’d bet it wasn’t what they were intending.


Then the ferry to Gulf Harbour, where E and A picked me up.



While I had been tooling around Auckland killing time before the shuttle or the ferry I learned that the train from Auckland to Wellington only ran Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and only at 7:25am. Which really screwed my plans.

So E and A invited me to stay the week, and Friday I would head back to Auckland and catch a bus to Rotorua. It’s touristy, but also conveniently placed about halfway between Auckland and Wellington.

They took me out to see big trees:



And a place called SheepWorld. For real.



We didn’t go in (it cost $17 or so to pet the sheeps and see sheep shearings and such things), but just hit the shop so I could get some yarn, of which I later regretted not buying more.

E and A live, by the way, on the Whangaparaoa (Fang-a-par-o-wa) Peninsula, which is really just suburbs. This, combined with the torrential rain we’ve had all week, have left me very little to do.

I took some walks:




But mostly I’ve been sitting and watching the rain.

The other night, however, I was taking a bath and was all warm with my book when I looked up and saw, crouched on the ceiling, was a huge, evil, man-eating (warning: those who are scared of spiders should go do something else for a while) spider.

It was big – size of my palm big. With fangs. And clearly mean. And far away and high up, but STILL. I could see its dripping mandibles. Or maybe it was just damp from the steam, I’M NOT SURE. I kept an eye on it, but he or she kind of ruined my bath. I didn’t take any pictures, but I’m pretty sure it looked like this:

When I was sufficiently warm, calm as can be I got dressed and went out to the living room and said to E, “Remember the other day how you were saying you’re not afraid of spiders? I’m really glad as there is a giant spider in your bathroom.”

A, being the dealer-with of such things, went to take deal with it, and I went to get ready for bed. Which is when I saw a giant – size of my palm giant – cricket-looking thing on my floor. I went back to the living room, and asked A if he was also the one who dealt with giant cricket-things.

He gathered his weapons – a brush and dust pan – and came to identify the weta that had taken up residence next to my bag. He didn’t kill it – they’re protected, you see – but pinned it and took it outside. Then went the spider.

I don’t know what the deal is, but I’m suspecting they were having some kind of conference. Insect Liberation Party, maybe. I’m pretty sure I could hear them plotting and calling me nasty names.

And that’s how exciting it’s been here. The end.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Em- Look at the zoo pics! One of the bigger furry critters has one of these insects in each hand as a tasty (eck!) snack. I think you are safe.

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