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Tango, Flu, Volcanoes, Decisions...and Auckland

First two weeks in Auckland NZ!

all seasons in one day 13 °C
View New Zealand on KLL100's travel map.

I'm writing about the past...a month in the past, but will hopefully catch you up quickly. Arrived into Auckland late at night and found my way via shuttle to my gigantic hostel. The hostel was in a great location right in the city center, had a huge computer lounge, job placement center, travel desk, and all of the conveniencies I would need this first week...for planning purposes. While most of these things were very helpful...the fact that the hostel was so large and busy made it a very impersonal place and made it difficult to meet anyone and remain in close contact. Slept in a dorm room with 6 beds, but rarely saw anyone else in the room. Usually, people got in late and left early in the morning to move on elsewhere in the country.

Spent the first day getting things like my NZ tax number, cell phone, and job opportunities figured out. Went for a quick walk around the city and was surprised by what I discovered...seemed that everyone on the city streets was foreign. Mostly Asian...I can actually remember thinking that my hostel was in China Town..and then figuring out later that the entire Central Business District was very similar. The city felt very foreign and busy...which were two opposite aspects of what I was looking for in NZ. I came here because I thought it wouldn't feel extremely different and would be full of relaxed and friendly people. It was difficult to be in this situation all alone. I was struggling with figuring out what my first step needed to be...whether I should travel by public bus, buy a car here in Auckland, hop on one of the busses designed for backpackers...where should I head first...? The North Island is supposed to be best in the summer, but I was here in the winter, and it was a long way to the South Island...how do I buy a car, are there things I should watch out for, do I even have enough money, is it a good deal, should I just fly down South, its expensive to just stay at the hostel every night...anyway, you get the idea. There were a million decisions to make, in a foreign place, by myself and with money flying out my account and none coming in. Anyway, I took a step back and realized that any decision I made would be the right one...

I did have one person to call though...the only person I knew in New Zealand...my friend Diego from Argentina. When I studied in Argentina my junior year, I had lived at his family's house in Cordoba. He had come to Auckland two months prior to start his own Tango classes. So I met with Diego an he welcomed me into his flat to stay with him. I accepted, so that I'd have a place that could become familiar, a place where I could comfortably keep food. I moved in with Diego and slept in my sleeping bag on couch cusions I would put on the floor in the very small living room, which was also the kitchen, and dining area. A few days later I caught a bad case of the flu and literally could not make it up and off the floor in the mornings. Bad fever, cold sweats...headaches....sleeping bag, floor, and too many decisions to make sure that my trip started out the right way.

Diego was in the process of opening a new Tango studio and I spent a lot of time helping him and attending classes with him. There are quite a few Argentines in New Zealand and Diego invited me to come along with him to an Argentinian party at a bar on the harbor. Needless to say, in true Argentine fashion, we got to the party at 12:30am and made it home about 7 hours later. I had two drinks that entire time and spent atleast 6 hours dancing like I knew how to move like everyone else at the party...

Auckland's business district itself was not an impresive place, in my opinion. The buildings are simple, the city itself is busy and as I said before, full of foreigners. However, the geographical and aesthetic location of Auckland City is amazing, due to its surounding. The harbor water is usually a beautiful light green color and the islands visable from the city are covered in dark green grass. There are some nice quaint areas with beaches and big parks. Within Auckland are over 40 active volcanoes, so there are hills, covered in lush grass, that provide wonderful views. One weekend, Diego and I took a ferry out to an Volcanic island (Rangitoto) which is a protected park. Took a hike up to the cone and crater which took about 2 hours and provided panoramic views of the city, its harbor and the surrounding beaches.

After about 10 days of sleeping on the floor, I was very ready to get out of Auckland and really start the adventure. I decided to book a flight and get straight down to Queenstown, where I knew I could catch the end of winter. I could get some skiing in, be in one of the most picturesque places in all of NZ and could likely find work. I had been in touch with a woman who ran a horseback riding company and was looking for a second guide to help her lead rides. I thought this would be a wonderful way to work outdoors. She was offerring a free place to live in exchange for 12 hours of work a week. Seemed pretty easy to me!...

Posted by KLL100 21:15 Archived in New Zealand

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