This post is going to be chaotic as I'm super tired and I only slept a couple hours on the 3 legs of my trip. Leg 1 was uneventful and I read 2/3 of my book. Leg 2 was uneventful until we were deplaning. I was in the last row and I started to chat up the flight attendant. I ended up scoring a lot of treats and a couple sprites (bad idea when you have to go back through security as Qantas flies out of the international terminal). I would estimate $35-$40 based on airline prices walked off the plane in my bag. The last leg, I was asked politely to let a husband and wife to sit together, little did I know that I would be sitting to a woman who would spill into my seat all flight long. She was really nice and apologized right away about her size. I watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Sherlock Holmes, The Sitter, 50/50, and some movie with Method Man and Katherine Heigl as a bounty hunter and the main dude from Life on Mars.
I blew through customs, well not really. They had to inspect my hiking boots and running shoes and I packed them on the bottom of my top loading pack. Glad I did an awesome job packing as all my stuff was rolled and rubber banded. Made repacking a snap. Had a fun conversation with the guy looking through my gear. He asked if that was enough for 6 months. I said I have a credit card if its not. He just chuckled. I exchanged some money and went to grab the express bus into downtown.
The bus ride into town was about 30 minutes and the entire time all I could think of was Hawaii. There are a lot of similarities between the 2. The atmosphere seems to be the same and the slew of little shops on the bus line really did it for me. However, I was looking for dives to eat in. I saw a lot of interesting places, but my food for today was a surprise to stumble upon. More on that in a little bit. I got to the hostel and tried to check in, but its not allowed until 1pm. I was 9:30 am. I had a lot of time to kill. So I dropped 2 of my 3 bags in a "secure" location and started on a nice walk. I headed toward the bay and looked at awesome sailing vessels. I don't even want to know the cost of these as they were professional grade racing boats. The standing tandem winches were something else, but the 2 massive helms were glistening in the sun and I really wanted to offer my help as a deck hand, but you have to pay for that opportunity on these things. I continued my walk down the bay and stopped off to read in the sun for a couple hours. I finished my 1st book and slammed half of my 2nd book down. I'm reading Jeff Somers "The Electric Church" and "The Digital Plague". Before I left, I noticed he had 2 more books in the series,, but I wanted to re-read these before starting the new books. After reading until about 11:30 I started to stroll again as I was hungry. I had only eaten breakfast on the plane at 5ish. I happened across a food stall/radio station free concert next to a park. There were a lot of choices for such a small affair. I'm guessing there were about a dozen stalls set up and some were t-shirts and the like. For food there was paella, waffles with sweet toppings, South Indian Vegetarian, Hungarian Fried Bread, Wieners, Wood Fire Pizza, Pretzels, and Ice Blocks (aka popcicles). I choose to eat a fried bread with walnut pesto. The inside was nice and spongy and a golden crisp outside. The walnut pesto was good, but I would have put garlic in it. I also at a seafood paella. It was amazing. The mussel was giant and super sweet. The shrimp was extra juicy and it popped in my mouth. However its a three-way tie for the most awesome part. First the fish. It melted in my mouth, but it held firm on my fork. The calamari was super tender and it exploded in my mouth upon first chomp. Then there was the rice, it absorbed all of the flavors and it had a good amount of heat to it. I then walked back to check into the hostel and took a shower.
Off for another walk in a different direction. Let me tell you that I don't have a map or a smart phone and I was just wandering aimlessly through the streets without the slightest notion of where I was. I ended up taking photos of intersections when I found something cool. I ended up coming down a ridiculously long hill and saw a couple track bikes on cement in a park. I thought it was a track at first, but as I got closer it was bike polo. I went and started to chat the players up. Asked about the bike culture in NZ and where to find a cheap bike. Trademe was recommended, NZ version of ebay. Then an actual store not too far from where I'm staying. I might try to walk there tomorrow or Monday as I have nothing to do until Wed. I lurked around there for probably an hour talking and watching their bike handling skills. They were riding a mix of bikes from a bmx with longer seat post to modified mountain bikes. I then set off to find my way back to the hostel and on my journey I spotted the katakana for ramen on a small store front so I stopped in to see if they had Tonkotsu Ramen and they did. I ate a bowl. It was meh. The broth didn't have the rich pork flavor. The pork tasted like it was cooked in a pan that had been burnt. The spinach was very bitter. The only attributes I enjoyed were the sesame oil and seeds added to the ramen.
I then started to wonder home and stumbled across a little book store. I was browsing their wanderlust section, yes it is a real thing. When a guy was looking at books 2 sections away. He had pulled one off the shelf and was reading the jacket. When I noticed that the book next to the one he just pulled out started to fall. I made my best attempt to grab the falling book but it was just out of my reach. He promptly said to me "Maybe you should be more careful with the books." I responded "I was looking at this book here (and pointed to my wanderlust section). The book that just fell was from where you pulled your book from. I was just trying to prevent the book from hitting the floor." He then apologized, but I almost beat an old man today for sassing me. I think I need some sleep.