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Following is the continuation from Newsletter No. 115 (July 2003) of the journal that Barbara wrote on her New Zealand vacation in 2000. (See introduction in Newsletter No. 114.)
Joy then wanted to cook for Mom and me. I would have loved it, but was quite content already. We went down to finish packing. Roger told us to "give a toot" when we were ready to go and they'd come down to see us off. We were ready to shove off at 09:45. They came down. Several goodbye pictures were taken. We said our good-byes, promising to e-mail and I plan to recommend their B & B to ANZ Travel and Naomi and strongly recommend that they suggest to their clients to take advantage of the Dane's dinner offering, since I only found out about it from the internet. I plan to write to Roger & Joy and if the Protea close-ups turn out, to send them a copy. We got on the road at 10:00.
We stopped at Burger King about 11:15 for coffee, shakes, etc. and then went to a 7-11 type store and got sliced ham & cheese, but didn't want to buy regular sandwich bread. Don had wanted to take a little side loop to the Scottish Settlement. We took the side road, but somehow missed the correct turn to see the statue. We ended up on a lesser-used winding road and got back to the coast with pristine, white sandy beaches with that azure and green ocean on our left. I told Lorraine that since we didn't get to go to "90 Mile Beach" this was the closest thing to it! We were getting hungry and started looking for a bakery for bread to go with our meat and cheese. We found one and then began looking for a suitable picnic spot. Another wrong turn and we found it! We parked in a tavern parking lot and walked down by the beach where there was an unused stairway. We sat in the shade and enjoyed our sandwiches. We headed back and hooked into Hwy. 1, resuming our journey to Auckland. We stopped one more time in Wellsford for a break. We hit the freeway and were soon into "rush hour" traffic., We managed to find our hotel fairly easily-only having to go around the block once! We got checked in to Sky City with only minor difficulty and were in our rooms shortly after 16:30. All came to my room for a toast to Auckland. We chatted about tomorrow's plans and decided that we would connect up at 8:00 for breakfast and then go to "Kelly Tarlton's Underwater Adventure" and on to Totorua. In the meantime Don & Lorraine would do their thing while Mom, Dad and I would go down to the casino. Their casinos are different than Reno. You have to put a $2 coin in any machine and the denomination of the machine determines the number of credits. Neither Mom nor Dad did well and went up to their room at 21:00. After they left, I hit 300 credits on a 10-cent machine almost back-to-back for $60. I cashed out at $52 and went back to my room and commenced writing in my journal.
I woke up at 05:00 and wrote a postcard to Bill about Russell and mailed it at the desk and went to the casino. Even at 05:45 it was pretty busy. I went through $20. Then I called Mom and Dad to see where they were in preparations and to tell them that they have a paper outside their door. Mom said they were close to being ready and that she would like to go down to the casino before we meet up with Don & Lorraine. They came down to "fetch" me about 07:25. Mom & Dad both did fairly well for the ½ hour, cashing out $70 just before we went up to Don & Lorraine's room.
They weren't ready, so we went back down to the casino. We ended up going to the café in the lobby and sat outside for breakfast. Dad and Lorraine ordered French toast, Don: Egg's Benedict and Mom and I: a cheese and bacon muffin. As the waitress brought Dad, Don & Loraine's meals, she told us that they were out of those muffins. We both chose blueberry. Then I saw Don's Egg's Benedict. It looked good!! I asked if I could change my order and she said fine. Mom's muffin arrived not looking very blueberry-ish. My Egg's Benedict came looking totally different from Don's. His had fried Canadian bacon with nicely cooked poached eggs covered with sauce. Mine was a piece of un-cooked sliced luncheon ham with under-poached eggs. I couldn't eat the last ½ of the 2nd one because of slimy whites. The sauce was tasty though.
We went up to finish packing and then headed to "Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World." I was sleepy, so Don drove. The exhibit began with busts of some of the more famous South Pole explorer's, then artifacts from and re-creations of the cabins they lived in. We got to a section describing the photographer on one of the Byrd expeditions and some of his works. I was amazed that he could produce such "works of art" in such primitive conditions. I asked Mom to take a picture through the glass of one that was taken from inside an ice cave, framing a ship. It was beautiful.
We boarded an enclosed Sno-Cat that went below the water line to view the penguins underwater. I had my 135mm lens on, which was way too big. By the time I got Tina's 28mm on, we were already past all the penguins. Boo Hiss! As the tram stopped to let us out, Mom asked the attendants if I could ride again since I had missed all photo opportunities. They said, "No problem." It turned out that there was no one waiting to ride so we all got to go again! The rest of the "tour" was more photos, then an aquarium that had seahorses, piranhas (they don't look so fierce!) eel, and a few other species. Then we went into an underwater aquarium that gave us a choice of standing on a moving belt or stepping off onto solid ground to view a specific section, then getting back on to the moving belt. There were many kinds of fish: from beautiful, iridescent, striped, drab, ugly, camouflage and even bizarre!
(To be continued.)
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