THE VIEW OF FLYING INTO AUCKLAND WAS OF A CITY SPREAD OUT OVER LAND DIVIDED BY WATERWAYS WITH RURAL GRASSLANDS AND MOUNTAINS SURROUNDING IT. WHAT MAGESTIC BEAUTY. THE GRASSLANDS LOOKED LIKE MANICURED GOLF COURSES. CLEAN CRISP BLUEST SKYS DOTTED WITH WHITE PUFFY CLOUDS. POSTCARD WORTHY. AUCKLAND IS REALLY A CLUSTER OF VILLAGES THAT HAVE ALL GROWN TOGETHER TO BECOME A CITY. EACH VILLAGE IS NOW A NEIGHBORHOOD.
THE COMPANY PUT US UP IN A SEVICE APARTMENT IN A TRENDY NEIGHBORHOOD OF PARNELL JUST DIRECTLY EAST OF THE CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT. VERY MUCH LIKE BROOD RIPPLE IN INDY BUT WITH AN ACCENT.

NOT SUPRISINGLY EVERYONE IS QUITE FRIENDLY, HELPFUL, AND POLITE. IT IS EASY TO STRIKE UP CONVERSATIONS WITH ANYONE. THE GOLDEN RULE IS PRACTICED HERE, AS THE NORM AND IT FEELS VERY COMFORTABLE IMMEDIATELY.

ONCE UNPACKED, WE STROLLED DOWN THE MAIN STREET JUST TAKING IT ALL IN. WE WERE DRAWN INTO A GARDEN IN BETWEEN BUILDINGS THAT LEAD BACK INTO AN OASIS, NON-SOLO PIZZA. IT WAS VERY LARGE WITH INDOOR AND OUTDOOR SEATING BUT NOT VISABLE AT ALL FROM THE STREET. THE CROWD WAS RELAXED AND MANY PEOPLE SEEMED TO KNOW ONE ANOTHER HERE DURING WHAT WAS DESCRIBED AS THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON COCKTAIL HOUR. WE REQUESTED A TABLE BY THE GAS FIREPLACE, OUTSIDE IN THE GARDEN BUT STILL WARM. THE WAIT STAFF WORKED AS A TEAM AND WE MET EVERYONE WORKING THERE OVER THE COURSE OF OUR MEAL. FINE AUTHENTIC ITALIAN STYLE PIZZA WITH FRESH ORGANIC INGREDIENTS. IT GETS OUR VOTE ON ALL COUNTS.
MUSIC IS A BIG DEAL HERE AND ALL THE KINDS I LIKE, JAZZ, R&B, ALTERNATIVE, FOLK, AND CLASSICAL. COMMONLY ALL MELLOW LIKE THE PEOPLE SEEM TO BE.
AS THE SUN SETS ON OUR PERFECT FIRST DAY SO DOES THE TEMPERATURE DROP AND WE TROPICAL PANSIES DUCK IN FOR A “LONG BLACK” TO TAKE AWAY TO OUR DIGS TO WEATHER THE COOL NIGHT INDOORS. TOMMORROW WE DO OUR ROUTINE TOURIST THING, A CITY TOUR BY BUS AND BY BOAT TO GET OUR FOOTING.

TV COMMERCIALS ARE FUNNY BUT WITH A CLEAR MESSAGE WITHOUT INSULTING ONE’S INTELLIGENCE. THEIR REALITY SHOWS ARE MUCH MORE ENTERTAINING AS WELL. ADULTS COMPETE AGAINST CHILDREN IN “ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 10-YEAR OLD”.