- The day dawned bright and early, and I got up at 5:30 to catch a 6:40 flight out of Christchurch. I am always over-confident about my own ability to deal with sleep deprivation when I book flights. Silly me.
- Auckland Airport --> rental house I was sharing with "Adelbert" and "Melinda" and their friends. Very, very nice house. One word - chandeliers. Also, close to One Tree Hill, a place with extra significance for U2 fans (among which I number myself).
- Climbing One Tree Hill. Most of the park surrounding it is covered in sheep that bleat loudly and mournfully at each other. MAAAAAAAA. MAAAAAAA.
It is a gentle climb up with a slightly steep part at the end but very do-able. It was also quite interesting to me in terms of people-watching:
- my typically southerner stereotype of Aucklanders was fulfilled when I saw a man carrying his fat little Pekinese dog up the hill.
- on the other hand, a bunch of buff shirtless Pasifika men were training on the hill, running around and around the steepest part. I enjoyed watching them while I casually strolled up!
- After coming down the hill, busing into the CBD. I remember shopping being more fun when I had lots of spending money. As it is now, shopping can be pretty boring, unless you're in a bookstore. I strolled around the central district for a while, feeling like a gross provincial among all the suits. Felt so much better when I met my friend Amanda for lunch. Amanda is doing an internship at a big law firm, and was dressed in her first proper suit ever, but had swapped her heels for jandals over the lunch break. Hooray! I suddenly felt like I fit in. (We dined at a friendly little cafe called Foodini's on High St with cheapish but lovely food. I would recommend it.)
- Then I lost my phone at a foodcourt very close to where the above photo was taken. Bused back to the house. Saga described in my last blog post. Thank you again, "Roger O'Leary"!
- In the evening, Adelbert, Melinda and I had dinner before their friends turned up, and then we decided to climb One Tree Hill again! Here I am at the top.
- The most exciting part was looking down and seeing Mt Smart Stadium all set up for the U2 concert which would start the next night. This is when I started to feel super-excited.
- At the bottom of the hill there is an observatory, which we visited on the way back. Here I am in a spaceman suit, naturally.
- We looked through telescopes at planets and stars, with a very keen assistant who couldn't help betraying his intense excitement about astronomy. "I just have to show you 47 Tuck," he said, fiddling with one of the telescopes. "It won't be very well illuminated tonight but you'll really like it."
Then, after he set up Alpha Centauri in the lens for us, Melinda had a look. "Oh, it's so pretty, so twinkly with little rainbows!" she exclaimed. "Oh, I'm so sorry," he said, deeply apologetic. "The atmosphere is getting in the way."
- Back to the house, where we watched bonus features on the DVD of the current U2 tour, and progressively worked up our excitement.