I covered the waterfront today – gave myself a good orientation to downtown Auckland. I now possess a bus pass, enough tourist brochures to wallpaper my bathroom, and I am testing out a film processing company. (Was it really necessary for Air Tahiti Nui to put us off the plane in order to x-ray my film a 3rd time? And luckily the NZ agricultural inspector agreed to hand-check my film, otherwise it would have had 4 x-rays before I entered the country! I want to know that the 64 remaining rolls are ok before we go to the South Island on Saturday.)
Reverse bungy jumping was not a popular activity today, so I can’t explain how it works – I think they hurtle you upward in the basket. Santa Claus has a disturbing leer and waggles his finger. Corner of Queen and Victoria, Auckland
I suspect that Auckland is no more like the rest of NZ than NYC is the rest of the US. For one thing, there is a large active and visible Asian immigrant population that dominates the retail commerce for tourism. This is a desirable location to send the youngsters to learn English, and the ethnic mix is vibrant. One oddity – the ostentatiously modified sports cars running all over town with spoilers, running board lights, splashed with logos of after-market service companies – most seem to be driven by Asian men in the under-25 age group and one wonders if that’s what their parents intended when they sent junior off to college.
There are definitely enough restaurants in this town – I’ve seen all sorts of pan-asian combinations, topped by the Chinese takeaway offering fish and chips.
I received a pleasant lesson in assessing quality of jade from a saleswoman, who despite my absolute clarity that I would not buy anything today, still enjoyed telling me all about it. I wonder if they have after-Christmas sales on such things.
One thing on sale is the All-Black rugby paraphenalia. Watched the All-Blacks crater before the Australians on tv, much to the national dismay. The game surprised me with how interesting and fast it plays – will definitely be watching England whip Australia next weekend from some bar in Queenstown. Surely that won’t be hard to arrange.