Okay, so apart from seeing Rufus Wainwright and pestering local celebrities, we ate stuff…and apart from eating stuff we actually did things too.
I have a head cold at the moment (guess who I caught it off?) so I really just want to go to bed, but I have to get all this out otherwise it will take forever. You don’t need me to tell you how sucky a blocked nose is…although it’s funny, no one gets any sympathy for having the common cold because it’s, well, common – yet once you get it, there is nothing quite like that awful trapped-in-your-own-head feeling you get when unable to breathe out your nose. And I have to eat standing up or my nose shuts off completely and I can’t taste anything. It’s not as bad as last time I had a cold…You know, that’s probably about as much as you need to know about my nasal passages, so back to Auckland…
One thing Tim and I noticed about Auckland was that there were three trillion minimarts/convenience stores. They are EVERYWHERE, and I am only barely exaggerating about the amount of them. Tim and I tried to go into every one we saw, but we just couldn’t do them all. Simply couldn’t. I think if you gave yourself a week, and only went into minimarts, you might start to scratch the surface. From one of said minimarts we bought some bread and some expired peanut butter (only a dollar!) to have for our breakfasts. The kitchen at the hostel was really clean and spacious and well-appointed – we have seen some seriously grubby ones in our time, so this was quite a relief. And the “Free Food” box was bountiful to say the least – we got a bag of couscous and a whole pack of fettucine!
Above: There is no Wendy’s outside the Auckland region. I’m not talking about Wendy’s the icecream chain (I have no idea how two companies ended up with the same name in the same country, explanation anyone?), but the burger place with the really annoying guy on their ads. Annoying or not, their burgers are seriously good- the buns of which are rather magically delicious, I’m guessing because they are pumped full of sugar. Tim and I had dinner at Wendy’s on Queen Street on Sunday night, before going to see the movie Juno. Which was very sweet, if a little talky. Apparently sales of hamburger phones have gone up 759% in America since this movie (the sassy protagonist owns one.) Frankly, I craved a rich, smooth orange tic-tac after seeing Micheal Cera’s character chomp through them – I wouldn’t be surprised if their stock begins to rise, too.
Above: I’m not sure whether or not Tim will appreciate me putting up this picture of him but I wanted to illustrate how enormous the Wendy’s cups are, in a scratch your head, “Is that legal?”‘ kind of way. (Also there is a photo of me with the cup but I was having an unphotogenic, er, moment.) Look closely. That cup is about as big as Tim’s head. It’s more vessel than mere receptacle. I’ve seen spa pools smaller than that. Et Cetera.
Above: It even proclaims its own grooviness with a big lit up sign! I have nothing bad to say about this place: Tim found a White Stripes single with heaps of live cuts, I found Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man DVD for $15 (!!) I finally found the Rent OBC recording including its original booklet (!!!!), we got a CD from 1998 featuring a Rufus Wainwright radio interview and live performance, and they gave us a tour poster for free. Which we left in the airport terminal. But if we send them a self addressed envelope they’ll send it back to us! In the end that free poster will be pretty expensive.
Above: This is an excerpt of Rufus singing “California” – isn’t he jaunty on the guitar!
On Tuesday morning we had a bit of time to burn before our flight, so we decided just to wander the streets lazily, with no agenda whatsoever. We went into Smith and Caughey’s, which is (ha!) not as good as Kirkcaldie and Staines. I did, however, spend a good few minutes in their ‘foodie’ section, and bought myself some Savoiardi biscuits for making Tiramisu or something. The lady behind the counter called me “ma’am” about five times, I didn’t know whether to feel grown up or haggard…
Above: I ended up buying two packs because they are rather hard to find and because the more I spend the more reckless I get, it seems.
We had lunch in the food court by Borders, and although my heart (and thighs) were saying “brown rice sushi, just over there” we ended up having enormous slices of pizza with wedges. I told myself it was like when Carrie and her friends on SATC would get similar huge pizza slices. I always feel like stuff you eat away from home “doesn’t really count” anyway…Afterwards we had one last Air Hockey for the road, before getting our shuttle to the airport. Auckland feels so different to Wellington (not least because it was raining when we got back to the capital), it’s hard to put my finger on what it is exactly.
Right, well I’m going to do my Ruby Gillis best to conquer this cold, before I am back again- as Jilly Cooper would say, I’ve drank so much herbal tea I’m going to turn into a bouquet garni.