We’re here!  And it’s raining.  But not too hard.  It’s been really windy all day, though.  But so far, it’s just gorgeous.  Our hotel room is on the top floor overlooking part of the harbor.  There are lots of sailboats, shuttles & tour boats ferrying back and forth.

The people have an accent, but it doesn’t seem quite as pronounced as an Aussie accent.  They pronounce Auckland sort of like “Oakland.”

We just ate dinner at a nice place on the pier.  The food was expensive, but fantastic!  Bill  & I split the dessert (Passionfruit Pavlova), which was a passionfruit filling inside meringue shells with raspberry sorbet alongside.  The girl said it was very “Kiwi” (i.e. New Zealand-like).

The man who was our driver from the airport was interesting.  He was from Lebanon but has lived all over the world, including the U.S.  He said he moved here about 25 yrs. ago after marrying a New Zealander.  He was telling us about a few “multi-billionaires” he’s driven for.  He didn’t mention any names, but the last one, who was nice but was quite “demanding” and liked “playing mind-games” in order to control people, was married to a “very stunning muslim woman.”  Anyone have a clue as to who it might have been?

We’re planning to get up fairly early in the morning, go pick up our rental car (Bill is worried about having to drive on the opposite side of the road, which does seem really confusing), & drive up to the far northern tip of the island.  We’ll be staying up there for the next 3 nights.  Bill wants to golf one day, & I want to hit the “Ninety Mile Beach!”