October 26, 2008
The other day our ship docked in Auckland, so we are semi-officially here! We have been sailing around New Zealand for the last few days and we very much feel at home. It is going to be great to start our adventure for real. Basically in each port we walk off the ship and explore on our own. In Auckland we walked around and by the end of the day we made our own pub-crawl. This was great because we haven’t had beer since Alaska. We were convinced to start this journey because there was a sign on the pub’s door that commanded, “Screw the economy, have a beer”. Immediately we were sold and with that invitation, we actually helped support the economy (two birds with one stone, win-win).
We have been to Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin. We have decided that we chose right to live in the south island because it is much more scenic and easy going (more our pace).
Once again like good Alaskans we chose to go hiking while we were in Christchurch. Only this time Ash actually researched where we needed to go to get to the trailhead. Christchurch is more hilly than mountainous, but still beautiful. Basically we knew that it would be a fairly easy day. We had invited a couple of our crew friends along with us, but I think they forgot to consider they would be hiking with true advocates. Ash and I realized that our friends probably weren’t in the best of shape when we started on the road to the trailhead and complaints were already heard. Needless to say Ash and I reached the top a bit before our friends did. The mountain we climbed is maybe 2000’, nothing to Alaska 4200’ hills. It was a really great day and the view was nearly spectacular. When we later saw our friends back on the ship we found out that they were very soar and we having a tough time working. Our friend Amilton announced to us as he was walking through the atrium between shifts, “I am screwed”. I guess he was truly soar. Maybe next time I should consider how much hiking an individual does before such an invitation is given.
While we have been in New Zealand for just these few brief days we have realized how unfriendly Americans are. I know this because I judge us against the kiwis I have met. They are continually quick to help with directions and information. Ash and I walked into a t-shirt store and the attendant asked if we were American. Our answer was “Yes, but were from Alaska”. He quickly responded “That’s not America, that’s Alaska! Well Welcome to New Zealand!!”. He was very friendly and gave us sound advice to place a Canada patch on our packs so people think we’re Canadian. This is helpful, but then people would think we’re Canadian. I think we are just going to continue to say we’re from Alaska; it’s a good loophole.
We reached Sydney today. I think we are both to be off the ship, because we are anxious about beginning our new life/adventure. I truly am going to miss being on the ship, but I know that I will be on again very soon, so it is a good consolation.