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Wednesday 12 Feb 2014
Auckland, New Zealand

My name is Inigo Montoya!

I left National Park and drove the 350km back to Auckland, stopping here and there on the way.  Soon after I left, I saw a 10’ driftwood sculpture of a T-Rex at the side of the road.  I stopped to take a photo and was told by a nearby work crew that there were more of these up a side road.  I found a horse, a dragon and several other sculptures, but no clue as to the artist.  I love finding little surprises like this.

I drove all the way back to Auckland with only a couple of stops to stretch my legs.  I reached Mount Eden before James and his housemates got home, so I bought some food for dinner and sat on the decking with my book.  It was a nice way to relax after such a long drive.

The car was due back by 4pm the next day, but I woke up in the morning to discover James had forgotten to leave me his key.  I was concerned about going out leaving the house unlocked before the others got back from work, but then the bigger problem dawned – I was locked in.  Even the windows were locked so I was really stuck.  I called Rent-a-Dent to see if I could extend the rental by a day, but they needed the car back to clean before it went out again the next morning.  In the end, James had to catch the bus back across town and walk 40 minutes home to let me out, so that I could drive him back to work before returning the car.  

I filled it up but hadn’t had time to clean it out properly.  That wasn’t too much of a problem, but I got a nasty shock when they gave the car a quick once over and found a long scrape across the corner of the front bumper.  It was about 20cm long and 4cm wide, where someone had scraped their way past and done a runner.  Unfortunately, it had also scraped through the paint layer to the bumper underneath and cost me $250 for the damage.  Even the damage excess reduction that I’d paid for was irrelevant as that only reduced the excess to $300.  The frustrating thing is that I had checked the car regularly, so the damage had occurred in the last couple of days, but I didn’t know where or when, only that I had not done it myself.

I walked home thoroughly fed up and miserable, but Alaina fed me wine and popcorn until I cheered up.  Thanks Alaina!

The next few days were spent sorting photos, writing blogs and finally finishing off my USA road trip scrapbook, ready to post it home before going to Australia.  I went to the cinema to see “The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug” – better than the first one, and nice to recognise the scenery of places I’ve been to in New Zealand.

James, Jumma and Alaina were going to a music festival at the weekend, so I helped them make lampshade hats for their costumes.  While they went away, Rachel’s brother and friends arrived en masse to take over the house for the Rugby Nines tournament at Eden Park the same weekend.  I woke up on Saturday morning to find the Village People out on the deck drinking beer before heading round the corner to the Stadium!  If it had been Rugby Union, I might have been tempted to join them, but I didn’t know much about the Aussie Super League.

Friday Night Cinema at Silo Park coincided with Valentine’s Day and the organisers hit the perfect note with the choice of The Princess Bride.  Silo Park was full of couples, snuggled onto blankets and beanbags, and groups of girls out for a girlie night.  Rachel, Christen and I found a space and explored the food market for our dinner.  I found some delicious prawn skewers from a Japanese stall and a pint of local beer.  The movie was projected up onto the side of one of the old concrete silos with speakers dotted around the park.  The movie might be over twenty years old, but it’s still a classic.  There was a great cheer at the immortal line:

“My name is Inigo Montoya.  You killed my father.  Prepare to die!”

On Saturday, I met up with Natascha, the Dutch girl I’d met on the White Island trip last week.  We wandered out to Silo Park again and looked through the craft stalls.  I had more of the prawn skewers from last night while we had a drink in the glorious sunshine.  We also found our way back to the Asian food court on Albert Street that James introduced me to last year and watched the Chinese dragon dancers in the Sky Centre.  Natascha gave me a free ferry ticket over to Devonport, as she didn’t have time to use it.  On the way back home I passed hundreds of people in fancy dress spilling out of the rugby stadium.  I was impressed at the effort that had gone into the costumes.  I can only imagine what Auckland must have been like with the Rugby World Cup in town!


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Zoe's Big World Adventure Part II - #4 New Zealand and Australia

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I had so much fun in New Zealand and Australia that I'm going back around again! This time I'll see more of the North Island and catch up with friends and family in Melbourne

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