Thursday, December 23, 2010

Time to Leave Auckland

Time to leave Auckland for this go around, but we will be back. Perhaps by then, we will either need the rest or find something exciting to do. D has proven to be a gracious host. He does do a very nice breakfast with his home baked muffins. We left right after breakfast to catch a bus downtown. The plan is to go to Esquires Coffee where you receive one free hour of Internet with every purchase. We will make our purchases individually for more time. At 12:15, we will catch the NakedBus out of the city.
Esquires turned out to be a bit of a dud. At the very least they are very misleading in their offer, which claims an hour of free WiFi Internet. There is a catch, a rather significant one. Yes, you do get an hour; however, you only receive 25 MB of data transfer. Twenty-five MB in this day and age is a thimble full of data. I sometimes get 1 e-mail that is over that amount. Needless to say, I was downloading my mail and was kicked off of the Internet within minutes. Ron went to place his order, I received his sign in card and again within minutes, slam-bam-thank you sir-goodbye. That was the end of part 2 of the Internet chronicles, but the beginning of my dashed hopes of having free Internet service. Purchasing it is NZ $3 for a half hour some places and an hour at others, but that still runs into money when I receive over a hundred e-mails a day and have a need to blog. Okay, put that on hold for now.

Time to board the NakedBus. There are no assigned seats, so you need to muscle your way in early on. NakedBus is like an earthbound version of RyanAir or other economy modes of transportation. We are taking multiple trips with this line, but this is the first of them. We will ride for four hours from Auckland to Rotorua (pronounced roe-toe-rue-ah OR if you prefer row-tow-roux-ah). More on this town later, but the bus was great. The seats are wide, new, and comfortable. They have video screens hanging from the ceiling, but no movies were shown. Just as well. I found the scenery interesting most of the time, green hills and dales, pastures of sheep and cows, but napping was on the agenda as well. There are no bathrooms on the bus, so the rest stop had everyone making a mad dash out the door.

As we pulled into Rotorua, it definitely had a feel good vibration. The business district was extensive, but still had a cozy, small town feel to them. We are staying at a YHA Youth Hostel Association. We used a couple of YHA facilities in Australia and found them to be excellent, so we are testing the NZ varieties. Regardless of the moniker, any age persons are welcomed and we are not the oldest here. Our modest private room is ensuite with two twin beds, a plastic chair, a wooden box for a table and some hooks on the walls. The beds are comfortable, the sheets and shower are clean; all our needs are cared for. The kitchen has six stove tops, each with four burners, six sinks as well and two huge refrigerators for everyone to store their food. Footlocker type shelving is available for non-perishables. Stickers are provided to mark all of your goodies so others will not mistake them for their own.

We trekked to the nearest grocery store, which turned out to be a real trek. It is outside of the downtown area in a mall type one level of stores environment. If I had my camera, I would have taken pictures of the different and unusual foods lining the shelves. This is a fascinating part of travel, one you are sure to experience when hostelling. It saves so much money by cooking then eating out 3 meals a day, every day. Alternatively, with the grocery store such as walk, when you forget a stable, you want to kick yourself. As soon as we returned, we did not get butter. But heck, we did remember the beer, so all was not lost.

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