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First Travelog Entry from New Zealand!

NEW ZEALAND | Friday, 6 July 2012 | Views [426] | Comments [2]

New Zealand Blog

Adventures in Kiwi Land           

 

Entry One

July 6, 2012

 

Congratulations to myself; it has only taken me 31 days to make a blog entry! (Self pat on the back). Alright so to get everyone up to speed, and by everyone I mean Rich and Nancy because they are probably the only ones reading this, I left Minnesota on June 2nd and arrived in Auckland, New Zealand on June 5th.

            Oh before I get ahead of myself I should probably explain why I am in New Zealand in the first place. The reason is rather complicated so go get some coffee and a muffin. I’ll wait. Okay are you ready? The reason is because I didn’t feel like being in Minnesota! There you go mystery solved. Anyway, I love traveling and accept that one day I will have one of the four travel killers: A mortgage, a career that I feel guilty for leaving, a wife I feel somewhat guilty for leaving, or a kid. Or some combination of those. Hopefully this won’t be the case for a long time.

            Okay, so in May, after I came back from Colorado followed immediately by an awesome week in Cabo for my sister’s wedding (Congrats once again Elisa and Jared!!) I was working at a highly lucrative career, unloading telephone books from the back of a semi trailer. I know tough one to give up. I should right about my boss there, Lyle, who is still the only Vietnam vet I have ever met who absolutely loved Nam. But that will be for a different day. In case you can’t yet tell I have a propensity for digressing, but so did Tolkien and people seem to like that guy’s stuff. My travelog, however unfortunate, will involve less hobbits. Anyway, in Mid-May I received a fully sober phone call (slightly sarcastic) from two of my best friends in Colorado, Tommy and Abbi. They were in Reno, Nevada and road tripping across the United States. And guess what? They were coming to Minnesota!! Awesome!

 “Dude when you guys get here I am completely quitting my jib and road tripping with you!” I said.

“Uhh,” Tommy paused for a minute. “Actually Minnesota is our destination. Once we get there I am flying back to California.”

“Oh,” Shit. My future quickly shifted from carefree, wild cross-country adventure back to unloading phonebooks. Shit.

“But we’re going to New Zealand in June,” Tommy continued. “You should come!”

I took roughly ten seconds to contemplate this. “Screw it. I’m in!” And the next year of my life just made a U-turn. Searching for a career job in Minnesota? Vaya con Dios.

Okay now let’s finally get to the travelling. I had a great going away night on Friday, followed by a less great, somewhat hung-over bag packing on Saturday. I said goodbye to the rents and hopped on a flight to Chicago. In Chicago we were delayed for 4 hours in which time I got to listen to Andrew, an Asian recent college grad in computer science from California, explain to me his mobile phone app which summarized the popularity and attractiveness of people currently at each bar in town, as well as the guy to girl ratio. Technological superficiality, isn’t technology a wonderful thing?

So I eventually arrive in Los Angeles around 2:00 AM. Thankfully, Tommy, whose parents live in Southern California, was still willing to pick me up from LAX. Note that I said Tommy’s parents live in So Cal and not him. Because if you try to tell him that he is from Southern California, he may explode into rage. I tend to do this at least once every few days. Sorry Tommy, it just happens to be rather entertaining. Anyway, I am going to explain some pictures as I go through this travelog and just assume that I manage to post them. This may not actually ever happen. But I shall continue as though technology is actually going to cooperate with me. So here is Tommy, in the Honey Badger den. To explain this, Tommy is a very personable and practical fellow. But after about three or four glasses of goon, boxed wine, He tends to stop giving a shit, much like the Honey Badger. (If that reference does not make any sense to you please follow this link to a corresponding Youtube video, trust me it will be more than worth it! Honey Badger Badass). This next picture is all of my stuff. Note the Longboard duct taped to my backpack. After Spain I have decided that I am not traveling anywhere with out my longboard. The amount she saves me on taxis and buses is awesome! As well as Longboarding is extremely fun. Her name is La Fenice and she is awesome.

Sao far the internet Gods are not cooperating, I am gonna try to make a different gallery entry.

Alright so the next morning Tommy and I go to the local liquor store to pick up a bottle of Dewar’s 12 year Scotch, not too shabby and not too pricey I thoroughly recommend it. As well as a couple of those tiny, 100 ml bottles of scotch because you can actually take them through airport security and drink them on the plane instead of paying ridiculous prices for Airline drinks. The experienced traveler will pick up some of these tips. Also, booze in New Zealand is really expensive, so if you plan on doing any drinking in this country bring a bottle with you. Actually I found out later you can bring up to three 1-liter bottles of booze. Learning that you screwed up is what makes you an experienced traveler.

So I say see you later to Tommy and get on the plane from LAX to Auckland, a mere 13-hour trans-Pacific flight. I am stuck in the middle section of a two aisle big ass jet. Windows? About twelve feet away. On my left is a little Mexican girl named Jessica. The J is pronounced like a Y. She was the upper class kind of Mexican who is pretty funny, and wonders why the Mexicans in America are such cholos. Which is a sort of slang for uneducated, kind of. On my right is Sara, pronounced with a soft A instead of the American hard A. It’s sexier. She is half Italian, half Eritrean (which it turns out is a country in Eastern Africa. What does a half Italian, half black girl look like? Hot. Then on the edge of the section is a blond girl whose name I never got. Most likely because Sara, Jessica, and I were talking a lot, much of it not in English, and she moved somewhere else soon into the flight. Which didn’t really matter because she probably sucked anyway and I actually got to lie down when it got to be nighttime. Which was as lot better since Jessica let me put my feet on her lap, and Sara let me put my head on her lap. Still couldn’t sleep dammit, but at least I was one of the most comfortable people on the plane.

So the next day, actually two days later since we crossed the international dateline somewhere around midnight I never had a Monday, June 4th, 2012. Jessica was not okay with this. Anyway, so Sara was headed to Australia on a working holiday visa while Jessica and I were staying in New Zealand on one year working holiday visas. Pity that we lost the hot Italian girl, oh well such is the temporary nature of travelling.

Hmm, getting hungry, clearly I am taking way too much time to write this. It’s been like two pages and I still haven’t left the Auckland airport. Again I am a powerful digresser. Hope we still have some Mi Goreng noodles, which is essentially just like Ramen in the States, but waaay better.

Okay so we take the bus into Auckland, Jessica teaching me dirty words in Espanol, pindejo and pinocha(sp?) being my two new favorites. Since my mother will probably read this I will not go into their meaning. Word reference and Google translate rock though. After climbing up 4 blocks of Auckland’s really steep hills with all of my stuff and half of Jessica’s I drop her off at her apartment and finally make it to my first hostel, Base backpackers. It’s a shithole with it’s own bar in the basement. Trade off. Can’t check in yet so I take a nap in the lobby and meet a Chilean backpacker named Manuel. He’s been here a bit so I ask him so questions about NZ in Spanish. At this point I have probably spoken twice as much Spanish as English in NZ, unexpected plus. Traveling can surprise ya that way. I finally get to shower. Unfortunately it’s one of those showers that you have to hold down to keep the water on and as soon as you release the button the water goes off. I am definitely leaving checking into a new hostel in the near future.

That night I go to Globe, the bar in the basement with my 3 new roomies, two American girls from the East coast and one from Italy. Best part about Auckland, there are way more women than Colorado. Oh and the hills are incredible for longboarding!! As well as occasionally terrifying, I did manage to tear a 6-inch hole in the ass of my only pair of shorts the first day in NZ. Longboarding here is awesome. Oh anyway so we go out that night and I meet Mattia, an Italian bloke from Siena, and Jennie, an English lass from somewhere in England, who also happens to be a very pretty blonde and a proper windowlicker. Haha just kidding Jennie. So Window licker is my new favorite term that I have picked up in NZ. It’s actually slang from Yorkshire, England. For those of you easily offended, of which I really am not, it means someone of lesser intelligence, inferring that you are mentally challenged and enjoy licking windows. It can be used in a context such as “Hey Steve, good job running into that sign. There’s a good looking window over there, fancy a lick?” Again I digress. Anyway Mattia and Jen ended up being two of my best friends in Auckland for the week. While traveling best friends can change rather quickly, since the next day you might end up being a couple thousand kilometers away from each other.

So Tommy and Abby booked flights a week after me, and didn’t arrive until June 12th. Thus I had two weeks to dick around Auckland, the largest city and party capital of NZ. When in Rome. After two nights I headed out of Base (farewell shit showers) and headed to Bambar House, the top rated hostel in Auckland on Hostelworld. I kind of enjoy hostel hopping. You get to meet a lot of people and realize which ones are shit.

Bambar house was probably the nicest hostel I have ever been in. It is an old plantation manor with a guesthouse that is larger than any house I have ever lived in, aside from that gorgeous Tuscan Villa I lived at when studying abroad in Italy.  It has a garden, patio, dining room, barbeque, and even a trampoline. That’s right a trampoline. It’s not surprising that people tend to spend a couple months here. It is also nestled at the foot of Mt Eden, the highest point in Auckland and offering a wonderful view of the city. I will try to throw up some pictures later, internet gods permitting.

There is only one downfall of Bambar house; it is a 30-minute walk from downtown. This translates to a roughly ten minute longboard ride. I avoid walking whenever possible.

Ah snap, writing this in Christchurch, the earthquake capital of NZ, and as I was writing that last sentence we just had what I would guess was a 4.4 on the Richter scale. It’s actually still going. If you haven’t been through an earthquake, a 4.4 is like a freight train going by really close to your house. It’s not too bad. Kind of fun actually. But then again I have yet to be in a big one, so it’s still a bit of a novelty.

Anyway, so on my third night in Auckland I was walking by Globe and noticed this skinny brown haired kid who looked oddly familiar. I almost said something before I walked by, but figured ‘nah it couldn’t be’. Then I turned around and thought but maybe.

“Drew?” I asked. The guy turned to look at me. He looked at me for a couple seconds as if considering me.

“Scott Nonini?” he said

“Holy shit Drew Flynn! I thought you were still in Vegas.”

“Dude what the hell.” We proceeded to bring it in for a bro hug. Drew Flynn is a kid I went to elementary, middle, and high school with. We weren’t good friends or anything but I always knew who the kid was. Traveling, man, it’s full of little surprises.

“I knew someone from back home had to be smart,” Drew started. “And is actually traveling. It’s so easy to get a visa here, why not? Glad to see you.”

“You too man,” I replied, “So random, wow.

A bit later that night I saw another guy that looked familiar outside Globe.

“Hey were you my roommate at Base?” I asked him.

“No dude my roommate is a chick,” he replied.

“No I mean like two days ago,” I said.

“No my only guy roommate was from Missouri.”

“Are you sure he wasn’t from Minnesota and came in at like 10 in the morning?”

“Oh shit, you were my roommate!”

Turns out his name was Nick and he was from Connecticut, although he took to introducing himself from New York because most people have never heard of Connecticut and are prejudiced against the US. I equate the standard ‘where are you from’ between random travelers like this:

“Oh where are you from?”

“Italy”

“Oh cool”

“Where are you from?”

“Thailand”

“Awesome I really want to visit!”

 

Second scenario:

“Where are you from?”

“Germany.”

“Cool I really liked Germany when I was there.”

“Where are you from?”

“The States.”

“Oh, well let me tell you what I think about the States.”

Fuck my life. Please God don’t.

 

This has led to me sometimes enjoying screwing with people.

Another scenario from Auckland

“Where are you from?” Kiwi girl asks me.

“Where do you guess I’m from?” I reply.

“The States?”

“No I’m Canadian.”

“Oh my God I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I can’t tell your accents apart.” She is legitimately sorry to call a Canadian and American.

“No, I’m just messing with you I am from the States.”

“Oh,” she is no longer sorry. A lot of Americans turn Canadian when abroad. Seriously it makes life easier. Me? I like to be Italian. My Italian accent does need some work. But mostly I am American and if you don’t like it, you can fuck off.

Here’s the thing. The vast majority of people who say they don’t like America or Americans have never been to our country, and have some very misconceived notions about it. An Irish girl once told me that turning left while driving in America is so dangerous that they made it illegal. She wasn’t all that bright.

However the people that have spent a lot of times in the US generally really like it. I met an Irish guy who spent 7 years there. He said when he first went he assumed, like most of the world, that we Americans are all fat, lazy, and ignorant. He said that he came to believe that Americans are actually educated and hard working people. As well as very welcoming. The second problem with the international misconception of America is that most people who visit go to New York, LA, Las Vegas, or Miami. And legitimately there are a lot of assholes in many of those places. At least that is my perception, meh. Again I have not spent much time there so that opinion is not based as much on fact but on hearsay and anecdotal evidence. Turns out we are all very susceptible to forming strong opinions about things, people, and places that we know nothing about. I used to not like the British. Then I met more of them. Turns out I do like them. Well not sure about the Londoners, ha!

Okay so that was my piece about being an American abroad. However, I don’t want to make that seem overly negative about traveling as an American. I love traveling. And in truth most people you meet are really nice. It’s only the occasional asshole that is really bigoted about a country. And even them tend to warm up to you once they realize that you are a person and not what they hear on the news.

So while in Auckland I went out a lot with Jenny, Mattia, and Nick. Mattia and I would generally get up, or sometimes stay up, to watch Italia’s Euro Championship matches at 430 in the morning with the rest of the Italians in Auckland. There were about six of them all told. Nick and I went to my first All-Blacks match ever. It was awesome! They crushed Ireland! It’s really similar to going to an American football match.

Jennie and I went out dancing a number of times and once to the Irish pub where a never-ending stream of Irish continued to invite themselves to our table. Most likely to hit on Jennie. What am I chopped liver? Occasionally it would be nice to be a more sizeable fellow so I wouldn’t have to kick so much ass. Jared let’s trade heights for a while, I’m working on the technology. As my father said abut himself, and my friend Ashley eerily echoed about myself: “When God saw what he had made he said: ‘Oh shit, I had better contain this. Thus I am not 6’4” 250 like I should have been or the world would be a very different place.” Amen Pops

Then my friends finally arrived, Yay! However I am hungry and still would like to make it to the library later to use the internet. (Which, here, is seriously like at the level of internet in the 90s in the States.) Until next time. Where we actually leave Auckland and make some contact with the local wildlife while camping and hostelling our way to the South Island, in a Land Rover!!

 

 

 

 

Tags: international flights, new zealand

 

Comments

1

HI Scott,
Finally took time from wedding party prep to read your blog. Entertaining (but not completely g-rated in language department--I sent this link to your aunts also). Fun to read about people you have met--great practice for your Italian and Spanish! US football "match"? Wow, watching soccer and rugby have taken over already!
Love, Mom

  Nancy Jul 14, 2012 8:19 PM

2

Have you ever thought of writing for a career? Very entertaining! Anxiously awaiting the next chapter... stay safe! Love - Aunt Mary

  Aunt Mary Jul 16, 2012 2:12 AM

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