50. Nelson – Auckland

Saturday, April 1: Nelson: Overcast
Auckland: Fine & warm with some high clouds

Walking: 8.1 km

Tracy’s (airbnb, $50)

Perhaps the last wakening at 7:30 summer time. Breakfast was the remainder of the crumpets with vegemite, some coffee with milk out of Genie’s fridge, and then the work of packing had to be done. Almost everything fit into where it should and Genie’s scales gave a reading of just under 20 kg for the suitcase (with more clothes to be discarded) and just over 7 for the backpack. Everything was checked and double-checked, the flat locked up and the keys in their hiding place, and I was on the street waiting for the Super Shuttle with 30 minutes to spare. The only thing that didn’t seem to work out was deleting played podcasts from the ipod (impossible; the podcasts have to be deleted from the master list first and then the ipod has to be synced, which might have triggered World War 3, i.e. the loss of all of the old podcasts that would then have to be downloaded again). Listening to the podcasts out on the street it occurred to me that having the pocket knife and the scissors in the backpack was probably not such a good idea, even if security at Nelson was going to be fairly laid back, so those were transferred to the suitcase without much of a problem.

Super Shuttle was a couple of minutes overdue and then started off down the wrong direction. I raced down to where he had stopped (the same driver as the trip in) and hopped in and within about ten minutes we were at the airport. Check in at Jetstar was fine, the cola bottle had to be removed to bring the weight down, the security questions were answered honestly this time. The hand luggage had to be transported in the hold as “premium” due to the limited size of the aircraft and the cabin luggage bins, and I was requested to be seated in the emergency exit row which I agreed to.

Watched one plane take off and our machine had already landed on time when I went back up to the viewing platform, even though the display claimed it was going to land five minutes late. Boarding was smooth & we were soon in the air. The only thing I missed was the snack that I had ordered – the steward had distributed stuff to the front rows and then disappeared for the rest of the flight. I caught a glimpse of Ngauruhoe which meant that we didn’t have long to go so on the next time the steward came down the aisle to collect the rubbish I complained about the missing snack and was offered a packet of chips in lieu. Not that great, but anyhow.

We were pretty much on time into Auckland; then everyone had to get into a bus for the 200 m to the terminal; the luggage was on the carousel and I was off to find my next Super Shuttle. They don’t wait around with signs for passengers here; you make your way to the taxi stand and the Super Shuttles are waiting all in a line, and the drivers have lists of the passengers on their phones. It took just a little while for our driver to get five passengers together; three were going to addresses downtown, one guy was wanting to be dropped @ Wendekreisen. Eventually we got underway and took a route that appeared to follow fairly closely the coast-to-coast. Quite a bit of construction going on at both ends of that part of the journey and with all those passengers dealt with, we were soon on the harbour bridge and off on Onewa Road, past Highbury and to this place.

Quite an impressive piece of real estate, and the neighbourhood is not too bad either. The house is two-storey, living rooms on the ground floor, at least three bedrooms on the upper floor, extensive deck, swimming pool, double garage, property drops off quite dramatically into the valley behind the house, as is typical in the hillier parts of Auckland. Was greeted by hostess Tracy and Louie the cat, treated to two cups of tea and then left to my own devices. Unpacked some stuff & had a couple of bits of chocolate for lunch. Then it was back down to the main road to check out the supermarkets and the eateries. Not that much of interest so I continued my search down to the Highbury shops.

A bit of trouble deciding where to go for dinner, but settled on the Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant (64 Mokoia Rd) for pork fried rice for $13 including a cup of what I suppose was tea. Collected some beer and some stuff for breakfast on the way back and then started on getting a program together for the last couple of days. Rayna was the only one responding, and she wants to do something on Tuesday.

Am struggling at the moment with skin peeling off all of my fingertips (looks a lot like a fungal problem) and split skin on nail beds (dry skin?), so will have to keep an eye out on it. Computer is chugging away at Queen Charlotte, days 2 & 3, perhaps there will be a panorama or two tomorrow.

Tracy had guests of Dean & Rhonda who brought some pizza around and we spent a bit of time chatting together while they had tea & coffee, and an Eva Cassidy CD played in the background. Still had to finish the diary, but tomorrow is the end of daylight saving, so that shouldn’t be a problem.