Saturday, January 2, 2010

Saturday Morning

Friday provided a much-needed break. After picking our laundry up from a little place down the road, Ljuba and I set out in search of a Thai restaurant about 1.4k away. They turned out to be closed, so we poked our heads in a stylish bar/restaurant down the street called Mac’s Brewbar. The d├ęcor was kind of a hip modern Bohemian, and there was a guy with a guitar in the corner singing covers of older pop music. Ljuba had fish and chips and I had pizza margarita. We later discovered that Mac’s is a big chain, which diminished the magic slightly.

New Year’s Eve went well. We attended a party thrown by Matt’s friend Liz, who lives on the water. He house is beautiful and very modern. The partygoers were mostly Kiwi, though there were people from London and Belgium by way of Ireland. It’s strange being considered an exotic foreigner, especially being from one of the less glamorous parts of the US.

Fireworks erupted at midnight from many of the surrounding houses and the distant Sky Tower. Ljuba and I left shortly thereafter, dropped in a local bar for half an hour, and went home exhausted.

The next day we woke at 9, had breakfast, and packed our things. Matt had recommended an Auckland park called One Tree Hill, so we drove about ten minutes to see it. The one tree is no longer there, but the hill (a dormant cinder cone) rises high above the city topped by a rather ugly obelisk. Sheep graze throughout the park, and we saw a solitary rooster strutting through some hydrangeas.

After a revitalizing lunch from a Chinese takeaway place (supplemented by an adjacent Dominoes and local dairy, or corner store), we drove south to pick up Nada and Buda from Nebojsa’s.

The drive East took us about an hour, and we’re now stationed at Rolleston Motel in Thames. Dinner last night was at Bullion, a surprisingly high-end restaurant for a town as small as Thames. I had spinach and ricotta dumplings in walnut butter.

Our plan today is to see the Coromandel Peninsula, including Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach, and New Chums Beach.

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