NEW ZEALAND: first impressions.

I'm writing this to you from a Youth Hostel off of Queen St. in the city of Auckland, New Zealand. To get to this place you've got to climb a steep hill past a strip of Asian restaurants, electronics stores, and coffee shops that sit at the ground level of high rise apartments buildings and skyscrapers. 

Queen St. (Photo Credit: Shelby Lowe)
After much deliberation and analysis, Shelby and I have decisively concluded that Auckland is what San Francisco and Seattle would conceive if the world afforded them a honeymoon in the South Pacific. Since we've been here, the city has been intermittently attacked by unexpected rain showers that flee as quickly as they invade. Pedestrians sit and wait out these mini bursts of precipitation by ducking under overhangs, or by hunkering down into coffee shops. We're quite adept at hunkering and it is, in fact, what we spent most of today doing. Mostly because we've been searching like mad for a used car to purchase. 

The obvious benefit of this rain is that everything is perpetually green and fresh and clean. The air is pure and even the barriers between the freeways are full of lush jungly vegetation. We stopped and took a picture of the freeway this morning; that's how lovely we've found even the most common things to be here. 

View of Auckland from One Tree Hill in Cornwall Park.
An old friend from High School, who now lives here and is married to a lovely Kiwi gal, was gracious enough to pick us up from the airport at an ungodly hour before taking us to Cornwall Park where we had our first glimpse of this marvelous city. From the park's entrance a road winds its way up One Tree Hill, which is a grassy mount that acts as a scenic feeding place for sheep. Since we've arrived in the Spring time these sheep come complete with sweet baby lambs. It was a perfect first glance at New Zealand. 

I've a list of friends that have come and visited this country before me. They've all raved about its beauty and said that they wish they could live here for the rest of their lives. I don't understand why they didn't make it happen. Since it's relatively easy to obtain a work visa, and there are no language barriers for the English speaker, it makes complete sense to want to stay here in this emerald city by the bays.  

...ramble on...

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