I am sitting at the “chill out lounge” of Base ACB – a backpackers hostel – on Queen Street even though I am not staying here tonight. Or tomorrow night, for that matter. If you were in town and not staying here either, it might be a good place to just go relax, pay for some internet and maybe meet a cute young guy with a gelled up fauxhawk. I booked myself for Saturday and Sunday night in the large dorm room. Maybe I will meet some people, maybe I will be annoyed by young drunk Australians. Can’t wait to find out. Friday is still up in the air. No worries, Mom, there are plenty of accomodations around town.
The customs officer coming at Auckland airport was an older gentleman who seemed very dubious about the details of my trip. Has he never encountered someone who plans to backpack, hike and camp around the country for a couple months? I mean, come on. I am NOT the first person to have this idea. No problems at customs, though. Long lines but I wasn’t in any particular hurry. That is the best part about this trip. Today I felt no incredible rush. Got to wander the strangely barren downtown, stop in the DOC office and strain to hear the gentleman there explain the ways of the Great Walks to me. His soft soft voice and my post airplane muffled hearing was not a very good combination.
The Air Bus ride from airport to downtown brought some pangs of loneliness. But walking and wandering around town always cures that. And now there are plenty of people around. In fact, Munir, a young business student from Moscow just started chatting with me on the worn and sagging couch. He asked me if I was also going to school. When I told him I already graduated he said, “Oh, last year?”. I stopped to add it up and responded “Um, no….9 years ago”. Good to know I can still blend unnoticed in the twenty-something hostelling crowd.
I am definitely starting to flag a bit. I guess I am not impervious to the crazy long trip and spotty sleeping schedule. So far I have found Auckland a bit depressing, but it might just be me that’s a bit depressed. It has been overcast, and a bit sprinkly. Really nice, though, after a couple months of cold cold New York winter weather. Absolutely no complaints here. It was 71 degrees, according to the pilot, when I disembarked. I was sweating up a storm by the time I made it to the YWCA. I have a tiny little single room on the fifth floor with a ton of greenery out the window. It’s lovely.