Death by Transit

I’ve only been honked at once so far (and I don’t think they honked just because I look sexy covered in layers of clothing), but I’m pretty sure the roads here will be the death of me. Not that the traffic or drivers are all that bad (not that I’ve noticed at least), just that there is constant traffic, and they all drive on the wrong side of the road. This is Ponsonby Rd, near my Hostel:

In my little world, this is how I still see traffic:

Doesn’t that look much better? I think so. I know how to avoid getting run over by these cars. The ones here in New Zealand? Seems to be a daunting task so far. Driving my own vehicle soon should be…interesting (read – potentially terrifying for myself and others).

So, rather than learn, I’ve instead taken to public transit as a means of getting around (also to rest my limpy leg). Thankfully, Auckland has an outstanding public transit system. It’s somewhat confusing at first (there seem to be several different metro bus companies or just all use different names? I’m still not 100%), but the buses are frequent and inexpensive ($1.80NZD, or about $1.50 Canadian). They also have a train system similar to GO Transit in the GTA for the longer trips. I took one yesterday out to the suburbs in search of a cheap retail environment (more on that in the next post…).  

Again, very convenient and useful. After finding some groceries and a laundry bag, I took the train back and found dinner. After a tasty sushi dinner, I decided to take the bus back to the hostel – and ended up walking all the way back because I never did find the proper bus stop (turns out I can’t read a map sometimes).


Not too shabby!

So I’ve made it! That’s the view from right beside my hostel, looking towards downtown Auckland. Today’s my first full day here in New Zealand. I arrived yesterday around 6am, but yesterday is still more of a blur than anything. The flight from Los Angeles was uneventful, and I did manage to sleep a bit. Getting in at Auckland, I was curious to see what customs/immigration would be like for me. I had all my papers for my working holiday ready just in case – my passport, working holiday visa letters, proof of funds (the visa stipulates $4200NZD proof of accessible funds), and hostel papers. Upon getting up to the customs agent, he scanned my passport, asked how long I would be staying (1 year), stamped my passport and sent me on my way. I get hassled more coming back into Canada, that was so remarkably simple.

First things first, before leaving the airport I took out some cash. It looks like there won’t be any issue for me to adjust to their cash – multicoloured like Canada, and the $20s are even in a similar shade of green. Once flush with money, I found the city bus to take me downtown. From the nearest stop I could find I walked about 20 minutes to my hostel and checked in.

Finally being free of my large backpack, I felt free and full of energy (this wouldn’t last…). I headed downtown, a 30 minute stroll. It began to rain. It began to sleet and hail. I remember this weather from Canada…the sun came back out shortly after, and I had found shelter in a cafe, with the hopes of checking in online – this was where I made a disturbing discovery. Free wifi in New Zealand is a very foreign concept! Where as we (and really, any other country I’ve been to…including Latin America and Ecuador) enjoy free wifi in many spots (most often coffee shops), nearly EVERYWHERE in Auckland requires you to pay to use the wifi. Evil evil evil!

The rest of my first day was fairly uneventful, hobbling around the downtown core. I managed to injure myself last week hiking in BC, and my leg it seems hasn’t fully healed as I aggravated it again. Argh. I did manage to set up my cell phone with a new number. Yay me! And then I fell asleep at 730pm (thankfully, in my bed at the hostel).