Wednesday, February 17, 2010

New Zealand 2010: Auckland (Saturday, February 13)

Written in the room in Rotorua, 10:21 pm on Monday, February 15

After breakfast, we walked down to the waterfront.  We passed a huge cargo ship from Singapore which we had seen from the room and took for a ferry because cars were unloading from it.  Further up the waterfront, we passed the ferry building and the Queen Victoria cruise ship, and Voyager, the New Zealand Maritime Museum.

After walking through a waterfront restaurant complex, we walked the half-mile or so to the Sky Tower.  This is a 1000 foot high communication tower and tourist attraction (cf. Space Needle, Stratosphere, and CN Tower, all of which I’ve been up in).  The Sky Tower is about 300 feet taller than the Space Needle, but I still like the Space Needle better, both for its style and the fact that Seattle development has stayed away from the Needle, making it look more impressive as a result.

To get to the ticket booth, we had to walk through the huge gift shop.  (Actually, first we had to find the entrance.  We went up to the third floor of the SKYCITY complex, to where the Deck bar has a connector to a bar in the Sky Tower’s base.  Only then did we find out that the entrance to the tower was from a down escalator on the Sky City ground floor.)

The gift shop was full of all the usual New Zealand and Sky Tower knickknacks that you would expect.  Most disgusting souvenir (other than the “Kiwi Poo” and “Squashed Possums” chocolates) was a stuffed kiwi that is reversible into a pillow via a zippered compartment.  With the pillow pulled out, the poor kiwi looks like it is suffering from a horribly prolapsed rectum, like all its insides are leaking out.

We visited both viewing levels of the Sky Tower, then went to the café for some coffee and sweets.

Trekking back to the hotel, I crashed for a nap and Mom watched some of the Olympics opening ceremonies.  She also took a walk to find us somewhere for dinner, which turned out to be a pub.  I had a tasty steak, mushroom, and cheese pie.

After dinner, we watched abbreviated reruns of some of the opening ceremonies.  A short commercial for the Little House on the Prairie DVDs ran multiple times, sometimes twice in a single commercial break.

I headed out to Urge again, and then to Lateshift.  After leaving there, rather than a cab, I walked back (between 1.5 and 2 miles).  Along the way, I stopped for a lamb kebab (pronounced “keh-bab” rather than “kuh-bob”), as had been recommended to me.  In the States, this is a gyro; in Canada, it’s donair.  It seems to be the standard late night food throughout New Zealand, although the McDonald’s and Burger King on Queen Street were also open at that hour.  (Also recommended were the meat pies at a gas station near Urge; I didn’t get to try one of those specific pies, but I did have such a pie on the way to Christchurch.)

Updated on March 10, 2010
Added links.
Added travel map.
Updated on April 2, 2010
Linked travel map to a live one (because I can't get it to be a direct live one).
Updated on May 18, 2010
Moved part of this post to the Sounds Kinky-er blog:
Updated on June 11, 2010
Figured out how to get a live map that shows the routes; needed to use addresses rather than business names.

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