08 January 2012

New Zealand Chronicles | Flying Solo

5 December 2010

This day was my moment of truth. It was my first day in Auckland on my own. I would have to cross streets and potentially ask for directions. It was an exercise in straying from the beaten path. I knew exactly what Angie would do in my position. Angie would walk around and hop a ferry and take a tour. Angie would find something unique and interesting that would reward her ventures. Have I mentioned I am not Angie? I had grand visions of leaving myself behind, listening to a long-ago buried inner voice, of finding a gem. Turns out I am no clairvoyant. My visions do not become reality. I braved Auckland on my own and set out for the most typical tourist area: Queen Street.

Along the way (like right on Angie's block), I spotted the most bizarre little flower. It reminded me of an Astro Pop. It almost didn't seem real. Naturally, as an American faced with something new and naturally beautiful, I wanted to take / kill it. There's something innately American I think about seeing something publicly pulchritudinous and wanting to keep it, even if the keeping will kill the object and prevent anyone else from seeing it. But I was not at home. The flower lived. I walked.

Step one: breakfast. I'm a simple breakfast girl. I like carbs. I would eat French Toast with a side of hash browns. I am not difficult to please. Still, I was (somewhat) on an adventure. So I set out to find something I would never make for myself. Enter the crepiere. I love crepes. And not only do I not know how to make them, I don't even want to know how to make them. They're a treat. And on the first Monday of December 2010, I treated myself to something delicious.

Caramelized Apple Crepe.
Once that mission was accomplished, I hit Queen Street with full force. There's not much to report. It's a busy downtown area much like you find in any large city. There was a lot of shopping. There were a lot of chain restaurants. There were a lot of places to exchange money and buy crap and just be busy. It's not a place anyone really needs to go. But - since I'm me - I found a purpose. I exchanged money and looked for a map. It could be probably be okay to say I have an inability to relax. I really did try though. Promise. So let's see. After the money and the map, I sat and stared at the water. I also did my nails, because they were a sorry sight. I spent a bit of time at Viaduct Harbour, looking for shops and taking pictures. I contemplated a walk through the city on a guided trail. Then I realized I would probably get tired halfway through and regret my decision. So I went home to wait for Ang and (though I didn't know it) my intended purpose for being in that place at that time.

I fell in love with the sky.

My little friend had news of the negative variety. The full details of which are up to her to disclose on her own blog - which both documents her amazing photography and is entirely imaginary. I digress. My friend was suddenly in a hyper emotional state. And though she has friends and a Squash Player in New Zealand, they're all of the shoulder-to-cry-on variety. I am of the suck-it-up-and-move-forward variety. Yes, I'll hear the sadness. But I do not tolerate dwelling. Ang was presented with a significant challenge. I felt as if I had been sent to help her get on the path to sorting it out. We drank wine.

Wine is a pensive, very adult drink. It's for solving life's great mysteries and plotting great feats. We drank our wine, solved nothing and plotted plenty. We acknowledged something harder was in order, and ended up at the Longroom. Along the way we ran into the Ladies' Man. If ever a moniker was earned... The Ladies' Man is a mate of The Squash Player, who has found himself to be a hot commodity in the market of younger women preferring older men. He says he can't explain it, but recognizes there is no need to look a gift horse in the mouth. We ran into the Ladies' Man as he and a friend were also on the search for a cocktail. Together, we sat in the courtyard and just were. Another day of adventure in the books.

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