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Looking Very Kiwi

    I was walking in downtown Auckland this morning, when a guy on the street stopped me and asked where the bank was. I said, "Sorry, but I just got here yesterday. I don't know."

    "Wow. You look very Kiwi," he replied, and we continued on our separate ways. It was a great thing to hear just after arriving in a foreign city - that I don't stick out and look like a tourist. (Even in my convertible pants!)

    Now that I'm really on my way, I've been in a great mood. Even a few little problems haven't brought me down....

    First, I almost missed my plane! I had already done my long plane ride to get down here, so I didn't really think much about the flight and forgot it was an international flight. So I only planned to check in one hour before departure. Then I missed the train and had to wait half an hour. Then I discovered that my top running speed with a full pack is comically slower than a real run. More like a canter. Anyway, I checked in half an hour before take-off and just squeaked through. I arrived on the plane sweaty and dishevelled, but at least I was on board.

    On my last night in Cronulla, I hung around drinking wine with three other backpackers. It was fun, and we made a snack run to the 7-11, where I got some Gobstoppers. When we got back, I finally learned why they're called "jawbreakers". Yup, I chipped a tooth. Fortunately it was one of my molars in the back so it wasn't visible. It was very sharp, however. I endured a day and a half of scraping my tongue on it before getting myself into a dentist office on my first full day in Auckland. Fortunately, they just had to sand it down a bit and since this is the Land of the Cheap, it cost US$16.

    The other minor thing is that I don't really like the hostel I booked online, the Auckand International YHA. It's not bad, but it is uncomfortable in an intangible way. It's very busy, but doesn't really have a central area in which to hang out and meet people. There were a lot of German travellers there, and this may sound bad, but I don't speak German and would rather adjust to hostel culture with people I can easily talk to. Later on, I'll reach out, but right now I'm just getting started.

    Today I'm scoping out other hostels in the city. There must be 15 or 20 just in Auckland proper. I'll move tomorrow to a more comfortable place.


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