Tenaha te Aotearoa

One more drive to Port Denarau for a final, Indian meal, before leaving Fiji. It was a beautiful sunset and it was with some reluctance that, back home, we began to pack our bags.

Sunset at Port Denarau, the Sun is behind us

Will we come back to Fiji? Yes, it’s been a fantastic experience, but some of the poverty was quite striking and stark. The beautiful, well-maintained bright and shiny resorts are just a stone’s throw away from families selling fruit by the side of the road. Lots of people don’t have running water and while it may be their choice, many people were walking round with bare feet. I like taking photos but sometimes here, there was no pleasure in seeing folks in such straits. I don’t think I could be a photo-journalist, I’d be wanting to help and intervene too much, I suspect.

Onwards and upwards. It was time to move on to the land of the long white cloud. The hire car was returned, what was left of it. All week, we’d noticed more and more bits missing: the volume control knob, the blades in the air con vent, all carefully photographed so we don’t get the blame. It always sounded like it wasn’t going to start and indeed, when we filled up with petrol, it really didn’t want to go, straightaway. Still, it was useful for a few days. The good thing about it having so many dents is that, if we’d acquired a new ding, it wouldn’t have been so obvious. But we didn’t, despite the best efforts of some of the bad road surfaces, loose chippings, gravel etc.

A dent in the hire car

I like a good logo and I thought this one at Nadi Airport was particularly clever.

Gloria Jean’s Coffee

If you can’t see it, the swirl of steam is the G and the hand holding the cup is the J. Gloria Jean. No? Just me, then!

The flight to Auckland was uneventful and we were greeted by this oxymoron from Middle Earth: a five-metre tall dwarf.

Welcome to Middle Earth

We couldn’t get a portable wifi device so we both ended up with local NZ sim cards. We should have internet access while we’re here, especially if our various lodgings have wifi that we can use.

It was a scorching 31°C yesterday in Nadi and the forecast suggested it would be much colder in Auckland when we arrived. But no, it was a fabulous 22° and not a sign of the thunderstorms they’d experienced here yesterday. Perfect!

We enjoyed a ride courtesy of Super Shuttle. It was a roller-coaster of a ride but the driver did slow down for a couple of the road humps. He didn’t like having to take one couple to their home as it was out of his way. Maybe he wasn’t meant to be a public service vehicle driver. He didn’t seem too enamoured of the local Chinese population either. One third of the people living in Auckland are Chinese, apparently, and the young ones all drive expensive cars. There are more Ferraris per capita in New Zealand than in any other country.

We were safely delivered to our Airbnb in Ponsonby and by luck, the trailer with our luggage was still attached.

Our hosts are poms, Ian and Joanna. We came all this way to get away from English people… haha, only kidding!

We had a chat and an introduction to the house. Liesel and I went for a walk to find something to eat: we won’t be cooking here, they live in the house too. But Joanna has promised us breakfast tomorrow morning.

We came across Bic Runga’s sister’s shop, just round the corner.

Boh’s Bohtique

Yes, we were looking for somewhere to eat, but the sports on offer at this pub didn’t really do much for us.

Not much on TV

Probably the most famous landmark is the Sky Tower. We’d been driven by it earlier but it’s hard to see much when you’re bouncing around while gripping the seat in front so tightly.

Sky Tower

We won’t be bungee-jumping off it, or the Harbour Bridge, or any other edifice. I did one once, in 1994 and there’s no need to repeat the experience.

Author: mickandlieselsantics

We are a married couple, married to each other, one American, one Brit, one male, one female, neither of us as fit as we would like to be, over 109 years old altogether.

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