Just spent 2 nights in Abel Tasman park, in a beautiful little cabin. What a lovely time.
Friends are coming for dinner so it was finally time to make a major grocery run without a car. The closest substantial store (New World) is in town. In order to reach this store there is a 20 minute walk to Vic Univ. (up and down a hill) then another 15 min straight down a cliff side where one reaches the central flat downtown for another brisk 10-15 min. For the cliff side walk they have built lots of secret passageways of steep staircases or small winding roads or the gentle slope that puts another 15 minutes to your walk. I opt for a new passageway each time. The weather was beautiful, sunny with the eternal gusts of extreme wind power.
New World is your basic large grocery store. Fruit and vegies are weighed in 100g increments. Bulk items are selected then handed to the clerks in a small stand with several scales. They weigh and tag each item before you go to the registers. Eggs are not refrigerated here. But other than that it is all pretty much the same. The only other thing I notice while struggling with my grocery cart is the amount of “Sorry”s to be heard. Kiwis say Sorry for everything.
Once I checked out with 8 bags of groceries I headed out to the taxi line. My first taxi ride! The very sweet taxidriver told me on our way home that New World was built 11 years ago. It was such a phenomenon that tour buses would stop and let the tourists take photos. He also warned me that my taxi ride would be more expensive during peak hours so get the shopping done by “midday” (12:00). I will probably now shop more often with one or two bags and take a bus.
My first blog entry! Yesterday I took the train to Petone. It chugs along the edge of the Wellington Harbor and takes only 15 minutes. From Petone you can look directly across the harbor to downtown Wellington and the airport. I left the station without a map, following everyone else. Petone is a quaint beach town with one obvious main street (Jackson). The first thing I found was the infamous Pak N’Save (the cheapest grocery store around) but I decided to save this for last. I found a cafe that had cozy chairs and had tea and a cookie. (It is difficult to find basic cookies here. They carry Afgans (sp?) which are dark chocolate cookie-like things made with corn flakes.) Revived, I made my way down Jackson Street spending time and a little money in both second-hand shops ($2 clothes!). Then I found my saving grace: a real bargain bookstore with an owner who loves to chat. Used books were a more reasonable $5-$7NZ with a wonderful collection of mysteries, sci-fi and NZ stories. Petone is my new love.
Unfortunately I have been beseiged by terrible allergies ever since we landed and yesterday was particularly bad. So I popped into the drug store and spoke with the “chemist” who gave me my new miracle drug. Better than new, I headed back to explore Pak N’Save and take the bus (just to be different) to Wellington. The bus and the train are the same fares and the train is much more fun!
I met up with Wm and Angela and walked down Cuba Street to the Flying Burrito Brothers. Wm was worried he would not like this fake mexican fare. But it proved to be delicious.