Not half-bad scenery while sipping our
January 4, 2007

Kat and I had a bit of time in Auckland before Jim arrived. I am sure there are many parts of the city that are alive and
kicking…though we didn’t quite see any of those. We found the city to be pleasant, safe and nice. But definitely not exciting. We
were staying in a great area but trying to find a restaurant to go to around 9:00pm was near impossible. We did finally stumble
upon a great little cluster of shops and restaurants where there were two restaurants that were still opened. We felt like we
had struck gold as we actually then had two places to choose from.

Maybe we should be thankful that there isn’t a whole lot to do in Auckland since we received a very early phone call.
early. 5:30am early. Jim had arrived and the front desk was asking if they could send him up. We were glad he was here but I
think we both were secretly hoping that Air New Zealand was going to have a delay that would then bring him in at a…oh, I
don’t know…
normal hour. But the darn airline had to actually be ahead of schedule. The nerve.

I gave Jim a lukewarm greeting when he got to our room (i.e. I was still in bed trying to sleep) but then got up after getting a
bit of a guilt trip from him. Since Jim had some sort of adrenalin rush, we were required to be awake to chit-chat and hang out
with him. We never ended up getting back to sleep.

I guess the good news to all of this was that we were able to get an early start on heading out to Waiheke Island. Auckland is
nice and all…but it was hard to think of what we would do for an entire day in the city. Both Kat and I had separately heard
good things about this island. Sounded like a good option for our day. And of course it helped that the island was sprinkled with

We were thinking about renting scooters to get around on but didn’t for two reasons: 1) I forgot my license, and 2) they were
pretty costly at $40/scooter plus mileage. Kind of ridiculous when a rental car is $50 for the day. In the end, it was ridiculous
to think of anything but the public bus day-pass since drinking was going to be done.

Stonyridge was our first stop. It felt very Napa-esque…especially down to the $10 tasting fee. But the scenery was beautiful
and was lovely to look at while we ate lunch. I should probably elaborate that Kat and I were enjoying looking at the rolling hills
and vineyards while Jim was getting pleasure out of looking at the girl in the black and white stripes sitting next to her

Our next stop was the winery one stop over called To Matu. While there was decent scenery, it was basically an overpriced
tasting of wine that didn’t do much for us.

It was back to the bus stop for us. Next stop: the beach.

Kat and I stumbled across a jackpot in the sand in the form of cool little shells. I know it doesn’t sound like much…but these
shells were so freakin’ cool. We were sitting there taking our time collecting them. We were having a fun time entertaining
ourselves with this. Too bad Jim wasn’t sharing in this joy. His words were close to “Yeah, maybe I can find enough shells to
make a necklace so I can strangle you both.” Jim probably got the wrong response from us as we could not stop laughing now.
Oh yeah. And we continued to look for more shells.

We strolled up and down the beach, stopped for a few more shells (partly because we wanted more but mostly to irritate Jim a
bit more) and then headed to a bar until it was time for the bus to pick us up. The time had come to catch the ferry to go back
to Auckland.

While Waiheke Island was good, it was even better being reunited with Jim. While he can be an a*s, he is quite a funny a*s…
Back to New Zealand.
Upon arrival...
Ahhh, life on a tropical island.