Why can't I sleep in more? Up and alert at 7:00AM. Today is a big day. I lose my Bluebird today, which has allowed me to be free for the last 9 days (and prevented this small town boy from going crazy in the city). So I spend about an hour collecting all of my belongings, cleaning out the accumulated garbage (I am sure that those of you who know me are shocked that this could occur).
In to downtown Auckland I drive, with a little more confidence inspired by experience. I manage to slip in with just the right amount of gas. Slick.
It takes almost no time, and I am now carless. Grab breakfast in a cafe next to the secondhand bookstore, coffee included. This was the biggest coffee they had. When I asked for cream, they supplied a smaller cup full of whipped cream, yet another one of those small differences that make you realize that this is not America. Adding to that feeling was bacon, the form of which was basically two big pieces of fried ham.
Either I'm drinking coffee or the nose job went horribly wrong.
Head into the used bookstore and sell the 1500 pages that I have gone through in the last 9 days, pick up the novel equivalent of a Michael Bay movie to replace it. Summer reading is fun.
Suddenly, I am pretty directionless. I am in downtown Auckland with the whole day ahead of me. The Lonely Planet guide comes in handy yet again -there is a whole area that I have not even looked at, the Domain. Near that is the university, which may have medical books. I am realizing that two months without work has left me craving SOMETHING medical to read.
Did I just write that?!
It's a long walk, but not without some views.
Little parks litter the city, a nice little bonus.
Manage to find the medical bookstore after a few misdirections. At the end of an hour, I grit my teeth and add several pounds to my bike's weight.
I give the books a test drive in the giant park, the Domain.
Cricket fields. Yup, they spend public money on cricket, with no football or baseball field to be seen.
Nice spot to read near the cricket fields. During my hour and a half there, did not see one cricket match.
Ah, the medical craving is satisfied. And my patients are now safe from their S3 and S4s.
I go exploring again, and happen on a large building on top of a hill. This turns out to be the Auckland Museum.
Either I found the museum, or the public bathrooms here are HUGE.
I actually have to ask someone exactly what this building is. Behind the polite smile, I think, was a confirmation that all Americans are idiots.
They have a roving exhibit on the T. Rex, and only costs NZ$12 with free admission to the rest of the museum. I know a deal when I hear one, and in I go.
The museum is actually very well done. In the space of two large floors, it goes from the origins of the Earth to the dinosaurs through ancient Egyptian, Greek, medieval and Mauri history up to modern warfare and areas devoted to WWI and WWII. That doesn't even include the vast areas of natural history of New Zealand and a kick-butt volcano exhibit.
The first kiwi I have seen in this entire trip.
Now THIS looks like Mt. Doom. Just so you know, Auckland is built on 19 volcanoes that could erupt at any time. Just walking in downtown Auckland qualifies as an extreme sport.
Creepy. This was made by using the rock mold from Pompeii where some poor bugger was completely encased in volcanic destruction. The sign says he finally died with his hands over his mouth trying to keep out the ash and mud. Shivers all around.
This leads us, obviously, to WWII - an original unmanned "buzz bomb" from the Nazis. And a hat in the lower right hand corner that appears to be from the same era, with apologies to the gentleman who inadvertently walked into this picture.
This was going to be labeled "the redneck way of checking to see if the machine gun is loaded", but after looking at it I think I will call this simply "constipated".
My latent Beavis and Butthead memories surface in the strangest of ways.
Mr. Munchie vs. full size T.rex. Epic.
Dental hygiene has improved by leaps and bounds, even if those people who clean your teeth scare me more than the T. rex..
This is the humerus of the T.rex, same size as mine. Don't got the guns I do, though.
It takes hours to make it through the museum. I am overall very impressed. It's getting late, and the bus ride will take about an hour, so I head back the mile and a half or so to catch the bus. Getting dark by the time I make it back.
Still have not heard about the status of the bike. I am starting to run out of interesting things to do in Auckland that don't cost a lot of money. Will check in tomorrow by phone if no e-mail (as planned). It's supposed to rain all tomorrow, anyway, but by Sunday is supposed to start to clear up again Got to be ready for it!!