Our second day in Auckland, we rented a hot Toyota Corolla from Jucy rentals, and named her Helen, after Helensville, a place in Auckland we kept seeing signs for on the motorway, as well as her “momly” appearance. Keeping in mind Chad Moss’ wise words, “Keep it on the left,” Brendon bravely pulled out of the parking lot and ventured out with the freedom to go wherever our hearts so desired. First stop: A convenience store to purchase a good map. Second stop: Espresso Workshop. Breno was caffeine deprived at this point the day, and we had to get some espresso into him- fast. It was there that we met David, the current Auckland Regional Barista Champion and cafe owner. David invited Brendon out to participate in a “barista jam” happening tomorrow evening. After downing some espresso and green tea, we headed off to our Third Stop: Mission Bay.
I was craving a beach at this point, and although it was slightly breezy, this definitely hit the spot. The waters were warm and turquoise in color, and the sandy beach was heavily scattered with shells of all sorts- a shell collector’s paradise! Mission Bay had a similar feel to Sylvan Lake back home, with many ice cream shops and cafes lining the street across from the beachfront.
While we were there, we happened to stop in on the opening ceremonies for the World Junior Surfing Championships, which were happening on the beach. We happened to have met the coach and one of the Team Canada surfers on the plane ride over from L.A., and cheered on our mighty homeland surfers as they posed for a picture. After enjoying lunch and a stroll out at Mission Bay, we headed back into the city for a Fourth stop: Ponsonby Street.
Ponsonby is quite a long street lined with a plethora trendy boutiques and restaurants, which I would liken to Whyte Ave in Edmonton. A great street to stroll down, we found a place to eat at called the Belgian Beer Cafe, and shared a pot of very large muscles in a cumin, coriander, and coconut sauce with pomme frites. A tasty celebratory dinner!
Brendon will attest to the statement that driving in Auckland has definitely been an adjustment. Not only do they drive on the other side of the road here, but pretty much everything in the car, with the exception of the gas pedal and the break, are reversed. There were many a moment where the windshield wipers would go on instead of the signal light. Even as pedestrians, we find ourselves having to be very careful to check for oncoming traffic in the right directions. Overall, Brendon did great with his first day driving in Auckland, though, there were no crashes or major incidences, and I think it will get easier by the day. For now, we’re just trying to keep in on the left.
Oh, and thumbs up for the use of heat tools again! A simple plug-in adaptor purchased from a hardware store across the street gave us access to the electrical outlets.