More NZ and some ice cream talk
The day after the tour with "Mike the Guide," Mike took me with him to a town called Porirua where he was going to see a chiropractor. I waited for him in the lobby and then we went for a drive to 2 nearby towns and explored a bit.
We went to the kiwi bank/ post office first so that I could exchange some of my Australian money into NZ at no extra fee!
Then to a small art museum and after, drove by Whitakers Choclate headquarters but sadly they claim they are to small to hold tours of the facilities just yet.
Petone was the next town we went to for a walking street venture up and down both sides of the ONE street really worth exploring. We went into an old record shop that smelled like a combination of a smoker and old musky...? books. We went into a small store called On Trays that was full of foods from all over the world, we had lunch and special hot Choclate at a cute cafe called Beannie's.
We then returned to the car just as we were getting a parking ticket! We were maybe a minute late back to our 2 hours of free parking slip but you know what, I laugh because that ticket was only $12!!!!! Are you kidding me!? That's the cheapest parking ticket I've ever heard of! In a country where everything else seems to be so ridiculously expensive (a dozen eggs range from $5 to $12!) they give pretty cheap tickets. Or maybe it's just the town that we happened to be in.
We had take out dinner one night where I got an order of Korean pork buns that had an unusual twist on the bun part. But they were great! Even better then the traditional version, a ball of white dough around shredded, mixed with sauce pork.
I got a bit of travel planning done, relaxed and treated Mike and Nicole to drinks here and there as well as pitching into the groceries for dinner. This put me over my normal budget for such a short stay but they have become good friend and I wanted to help out and say thank you for their hospitality in more ways then just saying it with words.
Nicole is a musician. She had a gig the night before I flew to Auckland that was just down the street from her place. Mike was sick so he stayed home but Whickus (pronounced Vickus), their rad house mate came with us m. He sat with me while Nicole played the keyboard and sang her songs with a sound most similar to Tori Amos.
Auckland day! Time to say goodbye to Nicole and Mike and experience the Wellington airport in a different way then I had a few days ago. A domestic flight meant I got to see a lot of Lord of the Ring action throughout!
And hello (again) to The Peters family! The first family I met and connected with when I originally landed in another country on the start of my 2013 back packing trip.
I almost cried when I saw Tisha waiting for me in Auckand by baggage claim, weird! I don't know what was trying to come over me. Maybe it was because of her family taking Alicia and I in, in 2013 or maybe it was because I was still fresh from comimng from such an interesting work experience back in Sydney. You know, it's probably because she's just a really cool, artistic, chill lady! I must admit, as beautiful as New Zealand is, it kind of cramps her style as far as its lack of creativity and artistic expression goes. Portland is definitely where Tisha should call home.
It was great to see Scott and the girls (Sophia and Isabella) and of course the animals (a cat and 2 dogs) were all excited to have new company.
I really spent a lot of time here catching up on my blog, researching flights from the Cook Islands and into SE Asia. I also had to sort out the cash I made in Australia and figure out how much to convert into what currency and the transfer rates as well as what to do with the money while I'm Traviling. All things that need a lot of research put into them.
So the last of Auckland was spent visiting with the family, a morning beach hike with everyone before Scott had to fly to Perth on Buisness.
It's me! Swinging from trees again.
I made a few trips into the Titirangi village to soak in its charm and deal with the Kiwi bank and transferring money, AGAIN!
I got into waking the dogs in the evening for some alone time and more exercise. I watched a movie with Scott and Isabella which is a rare occurrence in my life. Love movies I just don't ever seem to find the time for them.
I'm finally done planning my entrance into SE Asia. I'll be spending my thanksgiving in a few airports and in the air. In fact between the morning of Thursday November 26th and Friday afternoon of the 27th I'll have touched foot in: the Cook Islands, NZ, Australia, Bangkok and Chiang Mai!!!! That's insane! I'll bet there will be some movie time in the airplanes.
Missing thanksgiving, well aside from missing out on family time, it's okay that I'm missing it. I've already taken care of my thanksgiving dinner. It'll be waiting for me in the form of salt and straw ice cream when I return to Portland.
The back story on this salt and straw thing that I speak of, is this:
In September my friend Jen messaged me and said she felt like she was cheating on me because she had been to salt and straw a number of times since I had been gone. She felt it was a place to go with me only. I suppose and i like the way she thinks!
She also told me about this flavor that I had never heard of, smoked apple or something like that. She said it was the best flavor she's ever had from there. When I asked her if she'd pick me up a pint next time she went she said she was sorry but it was already out of the stores.
Well I admittedly have a lot of salt and straw knowledge locked away in this brain of mine. So I knew that I would have a good chance of tracking down a pint of the flavor if I called a particular store of theirs. So I used some of my skype minutes and called the Alberta set location kindly requesting this flavor to be set aside for me if they had it. They had 2 left! So being good, I only asked for one they set aside for a friend of mine to pick up later that night. I told them I was in Australia and what was going on. They thought it was pretty freakin cool that I was calling to order ice cream all the way from down under!
And so it began...!
My friend Cathrine picked up the pint and I paid her thru PayPal. She thought about it for a day or two and messaged me saying that she liked the idea of buying pints every month I was gone and when I return we have an ice cream party. So every other month we take turns buying ice cream and her and her husband are saving it for my return.
October was their month to buy and they couldn't pick one flavor so they bought 5 different pints!
November has become one of my favorite months for their seasonal flavored so I had to request 4 flavors that they will be picking up this weekend.
Honestly, if I was home with family I'd rather eat the ice cream than the actual thanksgiving meal!
Do you want to know the flavors I selected!? I bet you do and I'm betting you will cringe a little when you read them, especially if you have never had this ice cream before. Okay! Here you go:
Sweet potato w/maplet pecans
Apple cranberry stuffing
Salted caramel thanksgiving turkey
Spiced goat cheese and pumpkin pie
So the deal with this ice creamery (if I haven't said it before) is that they only use milk from grass fed cows to make the ice cream and all the ingrediants for the flavors are locally sourced and fresh to the season. So there really is some form or Apple cranberry stuffing in one of the flavors, for example. They do a great job of creating these unique to Portland flavors and spend a lot of time preparing the flavors for the upcoming months. I've actually been in their office a kitchen and I've seen Tyler (one of the owners and the master mind behind the ice cream flavors) hard at work with a team creating the perfect recipie. It's pretty cool!
Do you think there's a "help line" for specialty ice cream addicts!? I might need one.
I'm off to the Cook Islands now so you won't hear from me for about a week wifi is limited there and you have to buy it. It doesn't come free with any place you book accommodations at. So I'm going to take this time to enjoy being disconnected from the world. I'll chat with you all again after thanksgiving! I hope everyone enjoys the start of the holiday season! Gobble gobble!