up in auckland (again)

I drove up to Auckland about 3 weeks ago to meet up with Ms Kaladkarin. I was getting sumkindabored here in Hamilton so I decided to spend the weekend with her. I had originally planned to leave the Tron at about 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning so I’d be at her place by 9:30 or 10:00 which would give me (us, since she’ll be showing me around) the whole day to see the sights. Unfortunately, my plans went awry because I had to join my class  at the Hamilton Gardens for a little field trip. I left Hamilton at about 11:30 and reached Auckland at around 1:00pm. Pfft!

Our first stop was the Auckland Museum. I thought we’d  be able to explore the museum in perhaps, 2 -3 hours – but no – the Auckland Museum pala was this massive multi-storey complex with numerous wings and annexes and jampacked with information. I mistakenly thought it would be like our National Museum in Manila (in fairness, that’s big too but not as big as this one) so I under allocated my time. We ended up just breezing through all the floors and taking snapshots of things that caught our eye, like this gigantic skeleton.

that's one big water buffalo
that's one big water buffalo

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It’s a TRY!

crowdLast night, I, together with mum and Mr. K, went to the Waikato Stadium to watch the much awaited rugby match between the Wellington Hurricanes and the Waikato Chiefs. Now, this whole “watching-the-game-at-the-stadium” is a big deal because well … honestly, I’m really not THAT into rugby. I do watch a game every once in a while – usually All Blacks test matches – but I watch that only because I want to see the Men in Black perform the Haka.

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Beijing … on foot

One cloudy Wednesday morning, my room mate (whom we shall call Mr. Lonely Planet) and I, armed with his Lonely Planet Guide to Beijing and a sense of adventure – threw caution to the wind and went off to explore the capital on foot. Our first stop was … STARBUCKS!!

starbucks

Hahaha! Sorry but after 4 days of Chinese cuisine and continental food that still tasted slightly Chinese, we just had to get something familiar – something that reminded us of … well … home. So we popped in, had coffee and after our caffeine fix, continued on our trek. I didn’t really have an itinerary – I just went with the flow. Mr. Lonely Planet took the lead. He had his map, he had a list of attractions he wanted to visit – so he led the way.

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my weekend in auckland (in a nutshell)

I was up at Auckland over the weekend primarily because I was to meet up with Cindy C, spend the night at her place, so we can both go out on Sunday midday to pick up a friend from the Auckland International Airport. I had planned on killing time at Ms. Kaladkarin’s place but apparently, they were off to a party somewhere in the suburbs. So instead of leaving  me alone at their place (which would have been fine, I would have post processed some photos to keep me busy), they decided to take me with them. Gate crasher alert! Hahahaha!

lechonThey had so much food at the party! It’s so unlike the kiwi parties I’ve gone to in the past. They had a lot of local (Filipino) dishes such as lechon, dinuguan with puto, kaldereta, pancit, kare kare with bagoong, some creamy chicken dish which was yummy, several sushi platters, one giant steamed crayfish, rice, several salads, cakes, flans, brownies, donuts – good lordy! I swear I stuffed myself silly (and even have a photo to prove it). It was so much fun because, even though I was an outsider / intruder, I was still welcomed me with open arms and soon enough, I was already sharing jokes and laughing with some of them.

I had to leave for Botany Downs at 4:00 for a business meeting. Since I didn’t know how to get to Botany Downs, Ms. Kaladkarin drove me there before going on to another party. After completing 2 logos and finishing off a chicken leg at Nando’s Ms. Kaladkarin picked me up and we went back to the party (yes, to eat again). My Saturday would have ended after the party but  Tuxedo Sam invited me for some  drinks  in the Auckland City proper. I had to ask Ms. Kaladkarin to drive me to K-Road because – well – I didn’t know how to get there from Pakuranga.

So there – I met up with Tuxedo Sam at Verona along K-Road, where I stood out like a sore thumb because I was in white and everyone else was in black. Afterwards, we went to the Wine Cellar (still on K-Road) to listen to some music.  I wanted to take pictures of the place but I didn’t know if it was appropriate to do that there, so FS33 stayed in my purse. Called it a night at half past 12:00 and thankfully, Tuxedo Sam knew his way around the city. He managed to get to Ms. Kaladkarin’s in no time at all.

mapThe following day, I had to go to the airport to meet with Cindy C. Luckily, the road to the airport was long – and straight. I didn’t go through many roundabouts (like the one at Panmure) so my trip went well.

Because of all this traveling, I thought it’s time to have my own Auckland street map. I wanted to buy one of the cheap big fold out ones but I was outvoted 2 to 1 (Whitcoulls cashier included), so I got the big fat notebook instead. Oh well, at least now, I can go around Auckland by myself.

Sore feet? A bit because of my high cut hiking boots, but apart from a slight discomfort around my ankles, nothing major, so I’m all good.

Peking Opera

One good thing about long weekends is that I am able to catch up on the things I need to do, like post process pictures and upload them onto my album. Like today, after almost 6 months, I have finally sorted out some photos taken from when I went to China. I have yet to organise the photos of the Summer Palace, Hanging Monastery, Yunggang Grottoes, Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City and the random photos of everyday life in China (plus, I need to sort out my stories too!). Tonight, I have finished my Peking Opera photos.

battle-sceneI watched the Peking Opera on Tuesday night. I was supposed to watch it on Monday but the Great Wall Hike just took so long and was too exhausting so I opted to cancel. I got to the backpackers a few minutes after the scheduled departure time and – even if I did manage to arrive on time, I would not have been able to enjoy the play because I’d be too darn tired. Good thing there was another play scheduled the following day. Although  I had a sore bum from riding the bike to and from the Beijing Olympic City the following day, the discomfort was tolerable so I went on ahead.

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Grounded

That’s what happened to me in the past month and half. I have been grounded – not because I have been naughty or anything (I’m way too old to be grounded by my parents). My finances – well, lack of it –  just kept me from moving about. I guess going almost broke is inevitable since I have been traveling quite frequently since … hmm … October 2008.  So  … Pfft! I hate it. I don’t know when I’ll be on the road again. I had wanted to go to Raglan this weekend but it’s just not possible. I think I will just spend the long weekend here at home. Oh well.

Hamilton Cemetery

Anyway, photo above was taken at the Hamilton Cemetery. I wanted to take some eerie photos but unfortunately, the cemetery was really very nice (well, apart from the headless angel which was kinda creepy). It was well maintained and not spooky at all. I had hoped to see massive mausoleums but – I guess burying a clan inside a pseudo house is not a kiwi thing. Anyway, more photos when you click on the image.

I hope I have something more substantial to blog about next time.