2nd half Fri., Jan. 15th

We’re back here in Auckland, full from eating scampi (me) & prawns (Bill) down on the pier.  It seems like I’m constantly full.  There’s so much good stuff to eat, & we’re not even on the ship yet.

I learned today that there are (at least) 2 kinds of kiwi fruits.  One is the usual green kind (by the way, did you know that these keep you awake??  Supposedly, one will keep you awake better than a cup of coffee does.  College kids eat them while studying!)  The other kind is the golden kiwi.  They taste sweeter & are shaped more like “rugby balls,” according to Martin, the hotel guy.  I haven’t seen any, but I’ll be looking from now on.  I saw some funny little watermelons in the store the other day.  They were shaped sort of like eggplants.

Speaking of Martin the hotel guy, when we pulled into the same hotel where we stayed the first night we were in Auckland (we had it booked again for tonight & had already paid for it), Martin looked all sheepish & hurried around and said he had a proposition for us.  He said that there had been some problems (one room had flooded, which caused damage to 2 other rooms) in addition to the fact that there was a huge concert in town this weekend, & they didn’t have a room for us.  BUT we would be able to upgrade to a suite on the top floor of the other Copthorne Hotel in town, plus he would throw in breakfast, drive Bill back from turning in the rental car, pop for a taxi for us in the morning, & store our bags at his hotel tomorrow while we’re sightseeing prior to getting on the ship.  He would also send us up some cold beer & a bottle of good wine.  Would we agree to switching?  We said yes, but then we wondered whether we should have said we wanted to see the place first.  Well, he brought us over to the other hotel & showed us the room.  It is a nicer room.  But the view isn’t nearly as good as the other one was, & it’s farther away from the pier.  But I guess we’ll just have to make do.  Ha ha!

We walked over to a small park across the street this afternoon.  We were sitting there watching the traffic go by when, all of a sudden, a colorful little parrot-like bird flew down & was pecking around on the grass.  He was gorgeous!  Neither of us had a camera on hand, so Bill hurried back up to the room to get his.  In the meantime, I kept an eye on the bird.  At one point he flew to another spot behind me, so I had to turn around to watch him.  Across the park were 2 scruffy-looking guys who seemed to think I was looking at them.  One waved & kept looking at me every time I would try to look at the bird, so I had to quit turning around.  By the time Bill came back, the bird had flown off somewhere else, so of course, we didn’t get any photos of him.  So I looked him up in my bird book & found out that he was an “Eastern Rosella Parakeet.”  I will add a photo from the book to my other photos for the day.