Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Zealand 2010: Sydney to Auckland, and Auckland (Friday, February 12)

Written in the hotel in Auckland, 9:34 pm on Saturday, February 13

Emirates Air was a fine flight.  The meal I had was chicken korma.  The bathroom has some nice design touches, including wood veneer and bottles of eau de toilet and hand lotion.  I watched the film Julie & Julia, but I only got halfway through before we started our descent (and they grabbed all the headphones a good 30 minutes before landing), so I’ll hopefully catch the second half on the return to Sydney.

Customs wasn’t too bad of a wait, although they had a checkbox for offensive of restricted materials, which included sexual stuff on computer or DVD.  I happen to have a porn video with me, albeit an old one which doesn’t want to play any more, so I declared it.  Then I had to stand there next to my mother and tell the guy that I had gay porn with me.  What they really wanted was illegal stuff, in terms of kids or animals, and this wasn’t that, so he cleared it.  We then had to go through biosecurity, where they want to know about plant and animal materials — nuts, fruits, wooden items (like native masks), etc. — because they want to protect New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna.  I had a nut and cranberry mix I bought at LAX, but that was no problem.

After changing money at the airport — I disposed of a Danish bill left from last summer in the process — we took the shuttle bus to the city, to a couple blocks from the hotel.  The Oaks Residences is on the edge of the city’s financial district, near the bay, but the neighborhood itself is only middling, with a massage parlor and an apparent strip club (the Mons Venus) within a block.

Our room is a corner room on the 17th floor, with a nice view of downtown and the bay from one side and of the Sky Tower from the other.  It has two bedrooms, a living room, one bathroom, and a kitchenette.

We relaxed a bit, and then headed out to the Smiley Market on the corner to get groceries — streaky bacon and eggs, coffee, yogurt, bread and margarine and jam.  By staying in a room with a kitchenette so we can do this, we save at least one meal a day.  We went out to a Japanese restaurant (Kyoto) around the corner for dinner.  Mom had her first green tea ice cream.

The temperature is in the low 70s, highs and lows just a few degrees apart — about like Seattle in June or early July – but the humidity is pretty high.  The hotel doesn’t have air conditioning, so we’ll depend on open doors and air off the ocean.  (On the 17th floor, we’re not too worried about intruders.)

Coming back to the hotel, Mom crashed on the couch and I got ready to go out to a local bear/leather bar called Urge.  I woke her up before I left.

I caught a cab to Urge.  Midway through my first beer, I heard “Jim?  What are you doing here?”  It was Bryan, a guy I used to know in the Bay Area; he is now the partner of Grant, who works at Urge and whom I met in Seattle a year or two ago.  I was also expecting to meet some buddies from Seattle who are on an Atlantis cruise from Sydney to New Zealand, but the dates I had been told were off by a few days; they won’t hit Auckland until Monday, but I think they’ll be in Wellington when I’m there next weekend.

After Urge, I went to a club called Lateshift, and then back to the hotel.

Updated on March 8, 2010
Added links and travel map.
Updated on April 1, 2010
Changed travel map to a live one.
Updated on June 1, 2010
Moved part of this post to the Sounds Kinky-er blog:

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