A Travellerspoint blog

To the East we go....

sunny 80 °F

So we have left our second country, Australia, I am on the flight from Sydney to Singapore and I am reflecting on our 2 days in the land down under. Unfortunately, we did a disservice to the country by only visiting one city and not going out into the country. We all agreed we didn’t want to miss Australia, considering we were so close and might not make it back for quite some time, but we only had 2 days, because 1 of the 3 trips we pre-booked before leaving the US required us to be in Singapore by tonight. It seemed to be a great country, safe, friendly, clean, easy to get around, and great transportation…. That is my only real complaint, it seemed like all we really saw was the subway, boats, more subways, and sidewalks. It is certainly not for a lack of options, Sydney had a ton of things to see, including museums, historic buildings, shopping, etc. But because we were all still recovering from such an action packed 10 days in New Zealand, we agreed to just sorta hang out and chill.
Interesting things we did see, Sydney harbor is bustling and full of sail boats, we thought of Jim, my father in law, as he loves sail boats, and there were hundreds at all times. We went to the Toranga zoo, very impressive and had a great view of the downtown. We went to the popular surf beach, Manly Beach and had our first Mexican food since we left (it is hard to find burritos and Tacos south of the Equator apparently). We took several ferries through the harbor. We walked around the Sydney Opera house, it made the trip very real, as it is such an iconic image, most Americans associate with Australia. We also saw the Sydney bridge, and circular Quay.
Things that we learned. Australia is expensive!!! The US dollar and AUS dollar are equal (within less than a cent, when we were there), and everything is a lot more than in the states. It could be because the minimum wage here is $17 an hour?!?! Like New Zealand, there is free health care, high taxes, and high pay-rates. We also learned a lot about UGG boots. The wildly popular boot in America, is not as popular down under with the masses. The word UGG, was originally used by an Australia surfer who lived in LA, the rights to the name were bought by a large American corporation and the branding machine was on. Australia sheepfarmers sued for the right to use the name as well, so now all boots they make say UGG and have their companies name in small letters on the tag. Even crazier is that the UGGs everyone buys in the states are not even made in Australia, but rather China……By the way UGG stands for UGLY…. I couldn’t agree more, but fashion doesn’t always make sense.
It was a decent hotel in a great location, we literally walked out of the subway into the lobby of our hotel, 5 minute walk to the boats and water, 5 minutes from the Opera house. We didn’t really leave a circle of more than 1 mile… that was a shame.
In less words I could have just say, I wish we had more time in Australia to experience the culture, people and cities. I apologize for my rambling , but the flight is really long and I can only listen to my depressing iTunes music so many times.
Anyways, next stop Singapore, our first time in SouthEast Asia, and a non Western country, let the games begin. We don’t really know much about it, but are all excited to experience the unknown. Riley summed it up well today when she said, “ I feel like we have been on vacation and the real trip begins today when we land in Asia.”

Excited and feeling fortunate to be able to do this.

Ryan

Posted by ryanober1 17:09 Archived in Singapore Tagged ryan Comments (0)

12 days in and still going strong!

rain

12 days in and still going strong!

Our day started with a 4 am wake up call to make our flight out of New Zealand to Sydney, Australia, which meant saying goodbye to the land of the Kiwi’s and hello to the land down under. I am still quite shocked that we are actually traveling around the world…REALLY??? I remain grateful everyday for this incredible opportunity, ok there have been sometimes that gratitude may be the second emotion I am feeling, a few others feelings pop up here and there, but all is good, life is good, real good!

Ryan has been awesome with blogging about the culture and the lay of the land and the girls have shared some of our adventures thus far, so I thought I would try and give everyone an idea of a typical day in the life of the Oberholtzers on the road.

The mornings usually start with me quietly sneaking out of the hotel room in the am, to grab some time alone, usually Morgan finds and joins me within the hour. Ryan and Riley sleep in a bit longer! Once we are up and dressed, we are out the door exploring and eating, we seem to be doing a lot of eating!

We try and find free wifi somewhere within walking distance of our hotel to check on itineraries, change itineraries (happens often), create an itinerary and of course blog, email, download photos, skype and catch up on world news. Internet connections have been intermittent and weak at the free Wi-Fi hot spots and most of the hotels only have broadband dial up in the rooms. The girls MacBook don’t have a port to connect to broadband, but low and behold as we were walking near Sydney harbor we found a gigantic modern state of the art 3-story Apple store, it was like a light beaconing us. A helpful Apple genius sold us an usb that allows broadband connection to the macbook air! Hallelujah! Since we decided to book flights and hotels as we go, we all are getting pretty good at finding and comparing prices online, its quite a site to see all four of us at a table 2 MacBook’s and 2 ipads (we should be walking advertisements for Mac) all pulling up travel sites and yelling prices back and forth until we find the cheapest one and someone yells “BOOK IT BEFORE WE LOSE IT”. We have learned the hard way that you MUST book without hesitation or you could lose the deal of a lifetime within seconds. So frustrating!

About this time, thoughts of the budget start to creep in, which has been blown in New Zealand, fingers crossed we can even out our till in southeast Asia. New Zealand was truly magical in every way with its magnificent landscapes, to the friendly, open-minded, environmentally conscious people, but you spend top dollar on food, adventures and hotels. If we keep up this pace of spending, we may be back in the states in March!

We usually are out and about by 10am and pack in a full day of sightseeing, talking to the locals....ok, Ryan does most of the talking to the locals and or other travelers which shouldn’t surprise any of you…I add a few comments here in there, throw in a couple of smiles and within a few minutes we always end of talking about our trip. At this point, the girls sink in the chairs or subtly roll their eyes as they hear Ryan mention “we actually our on the first let of a 6 month trip around the world” which leads to a quick response from most “wow, what an incredible opportunity for you and especially for your girls”, this is my cue to throw out my quote “the world is their teacher for the next 6 months” which warrants a soft hardly audible groan from the girls. I can’t tell you how many times we have had this conversation regarding just how lucky the girls are to see the world at this age. At times I think and sometimes share how lucky I am as well! People are fascinated that we are taking this trip WITH the girls! We notice that most of the travelers we see are in their early 20’s or adult couples. We definitely stand out as a traveling family! We met a friendly Canadian traveler in Murchinson, NZ and she told the girls “you have the coolest parents in the world” much needed affirmation at this point in parenting as we constantly hear “ you are embarrassing us” or “you just don’t understand what is like”, typical “almost” teenage lingo….so you can totally understand that without hesitation, I asked if we could record her saying that so we could replay and remind the girls on a daily basis that we are pretty cool. We all laughed and the girls rolled their eyes!

The girls truly have been ready and willing to take on anything we put in front of them! I am so proud to be their mom!

After a full day of sightseeing, we usually head back to our 12x12 hotel room to rest and begin to contemplate whose turn it is to do laundry, which brings up the dreaded BACKPACKS! Ugh! It seems like we are always packing, repacking, and rearranging the backpacks. Not such a fun task, quite a sore subject between ryan and I, not too sure why we chose backpacks because we are not 20 year olds hostel jumping, nor are we truly trekking nor camping (those who know us well certainly wouldn’t consider us the outdoors type with walking sticks and carabineers, but we are sure geared up with our REI clothing to look the part J).

We usually are super tired by 10 pm and turn lights off to perform our own rendition of the Walton Family goodnights to each other, all of our family members, our friends and our pets back home! Great way to end the night!

Right now, I found a Starbucks near our hotel, I am enjoying a chi tea latte by myself and I am looking forward to touring the Sydney Opera House and taking a ferry to one of the local beaches for lunch on the harbor with Ryan and the girls! I often pinch myself during my morning times. In some ways each spot I have chosen to drink my coffee is familiar, easily referenced to somewhere back home. During my training as a counselor, I learned that part of counseling is truly observing human behavior. I try and study human behavior each morning during the hustle and bustle of the a.m. and I am always awed that we are so much more alike than different! Until next time!

Julie

Posted by ryanober1 23:30 Archived in Australia Tagged julie Comments (1)

Leaving our first country

What a perfect start for this adventure!!

sunny 75 °F

We leave New Zealand tomorrow early morning, today is a laundry, ship clothes we wont need back to US, do homework (the girls are actually doing Algebra in the room right now) and a catch up on blog and emails day. It has been a whirlwind 9 days, we are all feeling the effects of hitting this country hard and fast. Many of the travellers we meet are spending 1 or 2 months here. You could really spend months and not see half of the country. It is very easy to get around (except that they drive on the wrong side of the road), people are friendly, scenery is incredible, and tourism is catered to. I have been nothing but impressed with New Zealanders, and the country itself. It has been a great way to start the trip. Safe, secure, English speaking, simple conversion rates, pro tourism environment, etc… It was a good introduction for the girls in international travel. Soon the real challenges will begin and culture, language, food and accommodations, will be less comfortable and more “foreign” to all of us.
We did accomplish all of the things we wanted to in the Adventure Country of the World. Including black water caving a river in the dark, Zorbing, walks in the forest, Beach combing, Zip lining over a roaring river, Crossing a swinging bridge, hand feeding giant eels (one was over 120 years old and 7 feet long), and Glacier Hiking. We tried our hardest to never stop and do everything presented to us.
I have to say I am impressed with the girls so far. They have embraced all challenges, acted mature, represented our country well, and laughed a lot. When we rafted in the dark, the guides asked Riley to go into the cave first and she didn’t panic and did it, Morgan was the first to jump off of a waterfall into the black abyss and never complained. The girls acted like the Glacier hike was just a stroll in the park, whereas Julie and I were a little freaked out, especially when we went through the glacier walls and my stomach and back were pressed against both as we squeezed through. I kept telling myself if I did get my fat body lodged and couldn’t get out that eventually my body warmth would melt the ice around me and I would be freed (a lot going on in my mind while worrying about the girls, who I discovered later weren’t ever afraid).
It has been neat to watch them embrace all of the challenges and enjoy themselves, lots of laughs and memories….

-Ryan

Posted by ryanober1 16:08 Archived in New Zealand Tagged ryan Comments (0)

Visit to the Farm

Sheep and more Sheep

sunny 65 °F

A few days ago we visited the Agrodome, in Rotorua, it is a working farm that gives tours and hands on experiences. It was a really cool place; we had great weather and lots of things we had never seen before. Some of the high lites included seeing how Kiwi’s are grown, animal interactions, and tasting of local wine and honey.
The Kiwi’s are a fruit that only grow in New Zealand, it was originally the Chinese gooseberry, but has been changed over the years to be larger and sweeter and now a new fruit all together. They grow them like wine grapes on posts and then they overhang them, so the pickers walk under them and pick as the walk overhead. We sampled Kiwi wine (actually really good, tasted like a sweet Pinot Grigio). We also tasted pure Kiwi juice, tasted a little like grass to me, but Moe and Riley really liked it. We also tasted the big New Zealand honey, its called Manuka honey, and is really expensive and has antioxidants, vitamins, and is a natural antibiotic. People actually use the honey on wounds and as a protection against infections on cuts, sores, etc…
At the Agrodome, the girl’s high lite was the animal interactions. We got to feed Emu’s, Ostriches, Scottish Highland cattle, llamas, sheep, deer and cows by hand. There were about 5 different types of sheep and several cows. The major animal production here is sheep, dairy cows, beef cows, and deer. They sell most of the meat to Asian markets, except the dairy cows are sold to the Golden Arches for the American burgers. Yes the meat no one else will eat goes to us for our McDonald burgers (really eye opening to hear for the first time). McDonalds are very different here; they are fancy, modern, and more of a “cool” place than in the states. They all have coffee bars, similar to Starbucks, within the restaurant. Starbucks are not very popular, and not on every corner here, which is refreshing (even for a lover of Starbucks such as myself).
This country continues to impress, everywhere we have gone is unique and beautiful, for a country with the same land mass as Arizona and a population of less than Phoenix, it seems well run and pleasant. The diversity found here, from white sand beaches to Glaciers, long flat green pastures to Ski resorts, Volcano’s to beach towns, it is something different around every corner. Beautiful New Zealand!

Posted by ryanober1 16:03 Archived in New Zealand Tagged ryan Comments (0)

Ram attack

sunny 60 °F

We have loved New Zealand so far. I have loved all the sheep, until yesterday. Yesterday we have an interesting experience, we checked into our hotel, and the lady at reception gave us sheep food and told us we could pet and feed the sheep. We thought this meant go in to pasture with the sheep, apparently not. We went into the grazing area, through 2 gates. We thought it was a little weird when all of the sheep started running towards us like they have never seen people in there before. But we just kept walking and started giving the sheep, ram, pigs, and emus food. Morgan got scared of ducks and the other animals and got out of the way, and somehow I was the only one the sheep were surrounding at that point. I didn't like this one ram with big horns from the beginning, but still gave him food. After about a minute of all the sheep eating, the one ram jumped over one of the other sheep and hoofed me in the chest and stood up on his legs and almost knocked me over. You should have seen the crazy look in his eyes, i knew something was off with him! My Dad tried to help while my mom helped me get out of the pin, while all the other sheep rammed my Dad into a corner almost knocking him over. I was O.K but we learned to trust our instincts from now on.

Posted by ryanober1 00:56 Archived in New Zealand Tagged riley Comments (0)

Educational New Zealand Blog

dont read if you get bored easily

semi-overcast 70 °F

New Zealand has been as educational as it has been adventurous, I know the girls have kept you all up to date on Black water rafting, glow worms, zorbing, etc…. But there is another side of this magical country that I have found fascinating, many are similar to what the US has experienced and many are unfamiliar to me.
First, that this is a very young nation, one that was only initially inhabited some 700 years ago by the Maori (a Polynesian indigenous group) settlers from Europe only 200+ years ago as early whalers and explorers.
There is a heavy Polynesian/Islander influence here. From the street names, to cities to just about everything you see or come in contact with. So far we have been to Kaiterikeri, Takaka, Motueka, Waitomo, Rotorua, and one of our favorites Paekakariki. The Maori culture is weaved throughout most of the things you come in contact with here.
We have learned from observation, but also from asking locals, everyone here is so friendly and willing to talk (as I mentioned in my last blog). We have found out about their socialized medicine (although they don’t call it that, everyone receives free health care). Taxes are almost 45 % out of payroll and then 15% on all purchases…. An effective rate of 70% of your income is going to taxes. When you have a population of only 4.2 million people you have to get the revenue somehow.
That the government is actually a parliamentary monarchy?? The same as England, we also learned that the government here still reports to the Queen, and a representative of the Queen signs off on laws, etc… It is simply a formality and the Queen is only figurehead, however, it does still exist.
This leads me to another piece of information that I was shocked about, and gave me even more reason to be respectful for the people here. New Zealand lost more soldiers per capita than any other nation in WWI. They felt loyal to the Crown and were heavily involved in the war, they seem to stay out of the fray now a days, but fought when they needed too.
A lot of the information we learned was from a really neat couple we met while walking along a beach in Paekakariki, Rick and Shar, we met them while we first encountered the Tasman sea (I never thought I would see the Tasman sea in my life, but I actually walked in it and ran around). They invited us to their house and we had a little afternoon tea and cake with them. They were both wonderful and shared lots of great information about their country with us.
I did learn one very important piece of information today, no matter how impressed you are with the sheep and how cute and loveable they are; don’t ever say, under any circumstances, that you are a “sheep lover”. I learned that the hard way!! About an hour after going to a farm and hanging out with some lovely sheep, we met a couple of locals, and I simply stated, “ I never was before, but now that I have spent some time with them, I am actually a real sheep lover.” I guess in a country of 4.2 million people, and 40+ million sheep, there are a lot of jokes about being a “sheep lover”, kind of of like the expression of Montana “where the men are men and the sheep are scared”. Now I keep my affinity for lamb to myself…..
There are lots of cows (Dairy and beef), deer, and lamb. Used to be lots of Kiwi birds, but they are almost extinct now due to unnatural predators being introduced to the island, deforestation, and man. They are much more environmentally conscious here, it seems like the power outlets, toilets, signs, rubbish bins, people and government just care more than the average US citizen. It is refreshing that some people really do walk the walk and not just talk. Its an outdoorsy culture and one that seems active and involved in all things natural.
Another important piece of information. When you check into a hotel the front desk person usually ask's you if you would like a milk.... After I repeated "a milk?" in the first few hotels, with suspicion, I finally learned, it wasnt like being offered a bottle of water, or a glass of wine, it is for your tea. I am sure a few hotel staff are still laughing when they watched us walk out to the parking lot, look puzzled and then pass around a cartoon of milk until it was empty (we thought it rude not to drink our welcoming gift! )The cartoon of milk was for our tea, not us to drink in their lobby....

p.s. You don’t tip here!!! There is no line for gratuity when you sign a credit card receipt, and if you leave a cash tip, they look at you like you are strange, I am telling you this country has got a lot right.

Posted by ryanober1 01:59 Archived in New Zealand Tagged ryan Comments (1)

Third day in....New Zealand is breathtakingly beautiful

sunny

We have only been here three days and in true Oberholtzer style we have seen and done a plenty!the people here are super friendly, always willing to help and give suggestions of what to do, see and stay! We are about ready to leave taupo, a lakeside quaint town with spectacular views, lovely water front cafes and thermal pools. Our "holiday park" aka family friendly resort "debretts taupo" was a great place to stay...it hosts a thermal pool open to the guests with a waterslide to boot! Morgan and Riley convinced Ryan to take a go on the waterslide. Ryan almost launched himself off the slide on two turns, gaining momentum and speed, losing control and panicking that we we need to use our med evac insurance. He made the turn into the tunnel flipping from side to side to ceiling. We all agreed that there should be a weight limit, needless to say that was his one and only turn on the waterside. Celebrating that ryan survived, we all headed to a private thermal pool to relax and reap the benefits of all the minerals in the natural spring water! Great way to end the day!
We are learning that we overpacked, we have a bag full of stuff that needs to be sent back to the states already to lighten our load.we have done laundry several times. We were advised by our new friends the Wells ( they traveled the world for a year with their girls and returned in august 2010) to do laundry whenever we see facilities, such good advice! They have been such a great help to us as we prepared for this trip! A shout out to The Wells in Phx!
Having a great time, planning to head down to the south island today! Ryan and I have been amazed with the girls as they have been courageous, polite, adventurous and we have enjoyed seeing them smile time and time again! Priceless from almost teenagers!
We have learned much about the Maori culture and about the agriculture of NZ and of course quizzing the girls every chance we can to keep up on my responsibilities as the home school teacher :)
Julie :)

Posted by ryanober1 14:05 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Black Water Rafting

sunny 74 °F

I didn't know what this "Black Water Rafting Co." was. Every brochure, every magazine, every advertisement said go see the glow worms. So, we thought what the heck, we will go see the glow worms. I was in charge of the research, I discovered the glow worms live in caves. In the Waitomo Caves, in Maori, or the native New Zealander's language, "Wai" means water and "tomo" means enter. Waitomo means where water enters ground. I continued my research, and realized to see the glow worms we go under ground, caving, underwater.
We show up on the spot, like always, and we sign and fill out our waivers. We sit down on the patio waiting anxiously as the guide finishes his earlier tour. The guides and the tour before come upstairs, and I am so relieved they are actually alive. In our group there were 12 people. Out of the 12 there were two Americans who lived in Dallas, in our old neighborhood! Two people from the Netherlands, two from England, one lady from Korea, and one man from Peru. We are already learning a lot about cultures!
As we walk down to the changing rooms, we learn we have to wear wet suits! We grab booties, and we are assigned numbers, we get wet suits thrown at us...literally. We all go into changing rooms picturing the sight of us in our wetsuits. We put the booties on first, then push our legs into the wet suit. Mine pulled up pretty quickly.... other people weren't so lucky. Let's just say I helped some people. We walk outside feeling very self conscious in our skin tight outfits. We find Dad and we all get shoes together. He tells us that he put his suit on backward. He told us everyone was laughing hysterically at him. We find the right shoes. I awkwardly had the biggest women's shoe size. Now that we were ready and had our gear on, we left for the cave. We road in a van and had a bumpy ride to a river. We picked out our tubes and stood in a line by two small docks. Our guide showed us a demonstration on the big dock of how to jump over the waterfall. He chose me of all people to go first! As I slowly walked down the stairs, I stand at the edge of the small dock. He counts to 3, and I jump into the cold river. It wasn't that bad, it was actually quite fun (so many people use quite here, so we have all picked it up.) After everyone jumps, we take a walk up to the cave.. about a mile.. no exaggeration. After we make it to the cave, we have to walk through a slit in the rock. Once we are inside, the sight is amazing. Stalagtites, stalagmites, water trickling through.
Riley was supposed to lead, then realizing her nervous look, dad jumped ahead. We all walk through until we come across a ledge, underneath filled with water. We get in our tube and float down, we find a rock they call the limbo, you have to lay down in your tube and push yourself along the top of the cave. Our noses were touching the wall. We then come across a waterfall, dad was first jump off then Riley, then me, then mom, exc. We look up and see the ceiling covered in sparkling blue lights. We later learn its the glow worms. We also learn glow worms aren't really glow WORMS. They are glow maggots, even worse they are the maggots with shiny poop. The glowing stuff is...poop. But as our guide said, who would come and see glowing maggot poop. I think glow worms is a much better promotional tactic.
The next major part of the tour was an 8 foot waterfall jump. And of course, I was assigned to go first. The guide tells us to jump far because there is a rock ledge only a foot underwater. I jump as far as I can, and luckily survive. I grab onto a rope and pull myself along. Riley was 2nd so I held onto her feet, we all make a chain. Everyone chains on forcing me to let go of the rope. We turn off our lights, and the cave turns dark. Pitch black! I was in the front just chilling nervously, as one of the two guides comes and grabs me feet, he leads us through the cave. We look up and the ceiling glows with.... shiny maggot poop. We meet in a group surrounding our guides, and we turn our lights on. They tell us to float down the river and follow the light. We all turn our lights off and can see sunlight about 400 feet away. My mom and I were in the front, so we were the first out of the cave. The sunlight felt good, but we all agreed the experience was amazing, jaw dropping, and unforgetable.
We all rip off the wetsuits, get changed out of our swimsuits, then go upstairs to get a bagel and soup. Very random but so good. Overall the experience was amazing. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
If you want to see what we did, the website is http://www.waitomo.com/cave-tubing.aspx
We did the Black Labyrinth tour.

~Morgan~

Posted by ryanober1 13:26 Tagged morgan Comments (1)

Zorbing

sunny 75 °F

Yesterday we went Zorbing. You might have seen it on T.V., its when you get into a giant plastic, rubber, see through hamster ball filled with a little water. Quite an invention! Then roll down a mountain. There were to courses to take, one straight down and one zig zag. We all wanted to do zig- zag (it looked less scary). I was so nervous and didn't know what to expect. We paid for all of us to roll down once. Morgan and I went down together, soon did we find out that we had to go down the straight if in pairs, we had to dive into the small hole and wait anxiously until they un-lached the gate. We screamed the whole way down, laughing and having fun. Mommy went down zig-zag , then Daddy followed. They both tried to stay standing up, but fell after the first turn. Morgan and I had so much fun we went again with Daddy (can you believe all 3 of us fit??). We lasted the whole way until the very end where we all flew up, Morgan and I landed, then Daddy landed onto Morgan, then flipped onto me. Morgan has a few bruises, but everything is OK :). Then Morgan and I did a solo down the zig-zag. Zorbing was a wonderful experience for all.

~Riley

(a video will be posted soon)

Posted by ryanober1 13:26 Archived in New Zealand Tagged riley Comments (1)

First Day out of US

semi-overcast 74 °F

The adventure has officially begun. We had made it through LAX (relatively unscathed, my backpack was now a phone and jar of peanut butter lighter). Our flight was actually really nice, TV and music was individualized so it made it easy for all of us to relax and do our own thing. I am very impressed with New Zealand air, it was a brand new plane, attendants were super friendly, and food was good. We landed in Auckland in the morning got our rental car and began......
Holy &*^%, they drive on the wrong side here, or maybe we do?, but regardless it seems, wrong and exceptionally disconcerting. When we first got on the road, I was so focused on staying to the left I really didn't notice anything about the city or scenery, but settled in quickly and now I actually feel comfortable. One of the first things we noticed is how polite everyone and everything is here, including the signs. As we were pulling out, the first sign we saw said "We are sorry, but this space is only for employees", when was the last time you saw an apology on a sign in the US? Another said " Please mind your speed", again, please on a sign, how refreshing. Lots of pleases, thank you's, and welcomes in New Zealand.
Many people had told us before we left that New Zealand is like stepping back in time, slower paced, friendly people, simpler lifestyle, etc. My impression is that they were exactly right, every person we have met, locals and workers, truly goes out of their way to be pleasant, helpful, and kind. We asked one person if everyone is friendly here, and he responded " We don't try to be anything but good people, I am always told we are so friendly down here, it makes me not want to go to any other countries, because I am afraid they will all be rude". I wonder how true that is?
We went down to a popular beach area called Mission bay and hung out for a while, we had the highly recommended Swiss ice cream that the locals love called "Movenpick", I had a scoop of the local favorite flavor called Hokey Pokey, a honey comb flavor, really delicious. I embarrassed the girls for the first time (many more to come) by asking the server if they have the song "hokey Pokey" down in New Zealand? She looked puzzled, so naturally I felt i should sing the verse while acting out put your right hand in, take our right hand out.... I don't know who laughed harder or was more embarrassed my girls or the 3 workers. I do know that after we left I looked back and they were all 3 practicing the Hokey pokey, either out of mimicking me, or general fun, is unknown.
We then went down to a local vantage point to see the harbor called Achilles point, it was beautiful, we all agreed that it reminded us of Laguna, just 8500 miles away. Julie saw a sign for "Ladies Bay" a few blocks back, so we walked back and took a picture at the top of the stairs and took another picture of a nice sign " If you are offended by any behavior, this is a matter for the police to handle, please contact them". Seemed awfully nice and polite, it would make sense about 45 seconds later when on our way down the stairs, about 100 feet from the beach, a couple walking up stopped us and asked "are you aware that this is a nude beach"? No we were not aware and could have added an element to the trip that was unexpected on day 1.
In Auckland we stayed downtown at the Auckland City Hotel (clean and OK), and struggled with the internet the whole time, I believe that is a sign of things to come for the rest of the trip. I crashed for about 2 hours right when we got in (I know that is shocking to most, especially my dad, who did a rather lengthy photo album, of everywhere I fell asleep on our trip to Peru). After I woke the girls and I went to walk around Auckland and get a sense of the city. It is a quiet town for being so big, the largest in New Zealand, lots of buildings and people, just not like a new York or LA, seems more relaxed. We walked down to the piers and watched all the water taxis going back and forth with the people who live on the many islands in the bay. Moe and I agree it would be a pretty cool lifestyle to have to ride a ferry to work everyday and live on an island.
After cruising the city we went back to the hotel, fought the internet again for a while and then to dinner at a greek restaurant. slept well and prepared for the next day, an adventure day.

Posted by ryanober1 12:08 Archived in New Zealand Tagged ryan Comments (0)

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