There’s not much too much to tell regarding December 3rd and 4th.
December 3rd was our travel day to go from Paihia back to Auckland. Our bus was going to pick us up at 2pm and so I had the whole morning to do something. I had to check out of my hostel room at the Saltwater Lodge at 10 and stored my backpack in the Reception area (they keep backpackers’ packs secure by either locking the doors or having someone there at all times while Reception is open.
I decided to go hang out on one of the benches by the beach and write some post cards. I bought five post cards with stamps so that I could send them out to various recipients. It was really calming sitting there, writing to dear friends and family, listening to the waves, cars go by, people watching… One of the post cards I had to look up an address before I put it into the post box. However, I needed internet to look up the address and didn’t have internet access at the beach. I told myself to make sure I didn’t just bunch them all together when I was done and slip them all in at once. When I was done writing, I just laid on the bench for a little while, watching time pass.
I was getting hungry so I got up and headed back to the hostel. I got a little distracted when I saw our bus driver there early, realized I had walked past the post box, turned around and put every post card into the post box. So, that one post card with a name and no address has undoubtedly gone into the garbage unless some super-postman decides to look up the company name/person and miraculously find the right address and mail it. But that’s just too unlikely. So, I will mail that person another post card at a different time.
Before I left the hostel, I decided it was time to get rid of the book I’ve been carrying around since I left NYC. It was the book “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed that my former coworker Katie gave to me. I read it 1-3/4 times. I didn’t get through it fully the second time but wanted to and in the end it was just taking up space in my bag and adding a little bit of weight. So, I had been thinking about how I would track the book and send it on its own round-the-world journey. See below:
Anyway – that’s pretty much the highlight of that day. We got back to Auckland at about 6pm on Sunday; I stayed one night at the Nomads Hostel – wouldn’t recommend that to anyone. Thankfully the windows of our dorm room were able to be opened. The halls smelled like men going through puberty…. sorry but you stink. Also the carpets had that deep down, possibly slightly sticky grunge to it that made you not want to walk without some sort of shoes on.
Since I had already done a walking tour of the city of Auckland when I was there previously, I decided to catch one of the various ferries that leaves from the harbor and go explore one of the islands they service. Before I left the hostel though, I was in a little bit of a bad mood (didn’t sleep well) and was feeling the need to go through my large backpack and lighten the load a little bit. So, since I really feel like I want to keep all the gear I have with me, there was nothing else but to send home the two souvenirs I got from Laos and some clothes that I hadn’t been wearing and were just taking up precious space. So, I threw some things in, as well as my favorite bathing suit. You see, I had bought another two-piece bathing suit that I happened to see while walking by a market in Bangkok. It was just what I had been looking for: a suit with a sports-bra-type sturdy top and some snug spandex-short shorts like the blue ones I had and love. In this hoeing-out mode, I thought “I don’t need two swimsuits!” and threw it into the box. Right before I sent it I had a slight twinge of “maybe I shouldn’t send that home” but the hoeing-out mode won and so it is now on its way home. Hope I don’t regret that decision.
About finding the post office: they’re slightly hard to find especially if you ask local shops. The Nomads Hostel guy didn’t really know either. Sometimes Google Maps does know what it’s talking about. I could have saved a few fully loaded steps if I had just trusted it. So, if anyone wants to know, there is a NZ Post Office and Kiwi Bank located on the southwest corner of Queen Street and Wyndham Street in Auckland, NZ.
Anyway, after the post office, I went and made a reservation for the night at the Base Auckland Hostel. But that was about 10:00am and so was too early to check in so I brought my big pack to their storage room, bought a ferry ticket to the island of Waiheke, and then went down to the ferry terminal, about a 15 minute walk. I got to the terminal, went to ask if I needed to exchange the voucher for the ticket, and they couldn’t find my booking. They said I had to get a Fuller’s reference number for my booking. Pretty aggravated, I walked the 15 minutes back to the hostel travel desk, and thankfully the lady there was suppperrr friendly and helpful saying she had never had this happen before. She got it all sorted out, apologized, and then I went and walked the 15 minutes back to the terminal.
The ferry was about 50 minutes from Auckland to Waiheke (Matiatia Bay) ferry landing. I didn’t have too much time as I was planning to meet with the office manager of Mott MacDonald in Auckland at 4:30. I caught the 11:30am ferry to the island and took a little walk on the coastal walk trail. I didn’t walk very far, probably about half hour but the views were absolutely incredible. I will let the pictures talk for themselves. You can find more information on this coastal track at: nztramper.com/waiheke-island-matiatia-tracks-loop/
The meeting with MM went pretty well. It was good to network with the Auckland office and talk about any opportunities. I don’t think a short-term internship is very likely though; if I did take a job there, it would be for a longer term of 2-3 years and at the moment, I haven’t considered that long of a time commitment. I also haven’t determined if I want to be in Auckland, another pretty major city, that long either. I just left NYC; am I ready to be in another, albeit more relaxed and most likely slower paced, city? I don’t know. I think I’ll look for something more temporary and easier somewhere else before deciding if I want to stay long-term. The possibilities are endless at this point. Also, I haven’t fully scratched my travel itch… I have a lot more traveling I want to do. So, keeping my options open.
After my meeting, I returned to my hostel and was planning to just chill out, cook dinner, and relax. Well, my hostel roommates were going to go to a “noodle market” at Victoria Park in Auckland and invited me (encouraged me) to go with them. I was working on my personal journal/scrapbook at the time and thought what the heck, you’re going to be lonely all evening if you don’t go. So, it was me, a guy from New Mexico (Nick), a girl from Alberta (Sarah), a guy from Wellington who had American parents and was doing his masters studies in Berlin, and a guy from Italy (Luka), and another girl from Germany but I can’t remember her name. The noodle market was more just a food-truck gathering in a park. Since I cooked too much rice and veggies for myself, I was stuffed but had a little room left over for ice cream. So I got gelato from one of the vendors; pricy but tasty.
It ended up being a great day. Was really happy to be with such a good bunch of people who were super friendly and welcoming. Thanks guys!!