Friday, February 27, 2009

Auckland: Be Forewarned

We arrived in the Auckland Int'l Airport itching to get going on our trip. After talking our way out of paying extra fees for our oversized and overweight baggage (Voodoo crash pad and camera gear respectively) we arrived to face unforeseen adversity. After all our research we neglected to learn about New Zealand's harsh laws on incoming plants, food, and even dirt.
I had no idea I had a banana in my climbing bag which was in my crash pad. Even at 5am the customs officials took me aside like a criminal, held up the banana and asked, "What is this?" I thought to myself, "You're nuts, it's a banana, duh." But I politely and with a bit of innocence replied, "A banana?" And my fate was sealed. I was fined $200NZ , no arguing.
That being our introduction to Kiwi's, all the experiences since have been very cordial and sweet. We nestled in to our apartment in the middle of the Central Business District (CBD) with a view of the entire city and the harbor out our windows and balcony. It was beautiful and very reminiscent of Vancouver, BC. In any case, Kyle took this photo out of our bedroom window while it was raining. It is of the Sky Needle which you can take tours of tethered to its outer rim wearing bright orange suits and harnesses.

Little Red Van

Kyle did months of fishing on the web to find the right home for us. He found a 1982 Toyota Hiace that would be our home during our four and a half month trip through the beautiful and hilly country of New Zealand. We discovered that New Zealand has more models of camper vans than anywhere else in the world, but ours is still the perfect one for us. It runs on normal gas and LPG (liquid petroleum gas) and has plug ins for electric and water.