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First couple days (end of June)

September 28, 2012

Before coming to New Zealand, I had planned out staying with my distant relatives here. My half-cousin of my step grandfather (I think I got that straight) lives here in Auckland, which is where I landed and am staying for a week or two. Auckland is by far the largest city in New Zealand, and after 36 hours in planes/airports I was extremely appreciative to have someone pick me up rather than having to figure out where to go. It was about 4pm when we arrived at their house, they showed us the room and told me they were having a get together with a large meal later that night. I said I was going to take a nap, and then proceeded to pass out until 5 am or so…whoops. I felt like a bad house guest, but they seemed to understand. I wish I could have gotten to meet everyone , though.

My first day in Auckland, I got dropped off in the city to wander. I visited the massive Sky Tower in the middle of the city, ate some Turkish food, which is very prevalent around here, and found an amazing park where I got a taste of New Zealand flora. Amazing! The trees hear are insane, and it’s only winter! I’m sure this is just a small taste of what the South island looks like, which is where the most incredible scenery resides, but I’m appreciating it immensely nonetheless. There are trees covered in several inches of thick fur, neon orange/green/pink/blue plants everywhere, trees with massive dangling roots from their branches (kinda hard to explain in words…see picture), and that’s just the start of it.

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Going into shops reinforces what everyone says about kiwi culture being very personable and friendly. Maybe it might be more true towards foreigners, but the atmosphere is always laid back and relaxed.

Of all the people I could possibly run into in a foreign country on the other side of the world, I met a family from Cincinnati, a city 2 hours from where I live, and where part of my family lives so I’m there frequently. Not what I expected on my first day to be sure!

Next day had lunch and went to the aquarium with a distant female cousin (?) of mine and her friend. Was a great day with lots of laughs about cultural stereotypes and accents. My cousin kept trying to pay for me for lunch, an aquarium, and buying aquarium pictures and stuff!

They also insisted I accompany them to see the Auckland nightlife. First time I’ve been able to legally enter a drinking bar. The best part was seeing groups of Maoris dancing. Some look very Native American, and I really like their particular accent.

That’s it for now. I’ve been doing lots of exploring and haven’t fully recovered from the time change. I’m exhausted!

 

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