Auckland has appeared to be mostly unremarkable thus far. There are positives and negatives to this, but I enjoy it. It lacks the history, architecture, and charm of many of the European cities I have visited. But for a large city, it is also missing the belligerent activity many American cities possess. Missing are the skyscrapers of States, but also the old, soaring cathedrals and other medieval architecture of Europe. It has a quiet, unhurried patience about the city and the people.
A majority of my time has been spent in Ponsonby rather than in Auckland itself. Ponsonby is like Cambridge is to Boston. Ponsonby Backpackers is a quaint and comfortable hostel out of the way of the sounds of the city. Yet Ponsonby itself is an inviting combination of stores, coffee shops, restaurants, picturesque suburb homes and other accommodations. Lacking a more proper word, I cannot help my self using ‘hipster-ish’ to describe it. But it at least feels less pretentious than similar places in the States. I cannot say way, but I suspect it is the more earnest and honest nature New Zealand and the people here seem to have. They are genuine in a way one does not see consistently in America.
My bag being delayed a day and a half required me to spend my first day shopping for necessities. I am not one to be bothered by a lack of comfort, but after more than thirty hours straight in the same pair of clothes I was starting to smell a bit, and I needed to brush my teeth, along with groceries. Other organizational tasks have occupied my time as well, trying to set up a bank account and buy a car or van. This has resulted in me not getting around too much to the city or the surrounding areas except to head to the busy parts. I made it down to the art gallery in Auckland yesterday but it was generally underwhelming compared to the expansive and impressive museums of Europe. There are some wonderful hikes around the city, including a ferry to one of the nearby islands but I haven’t gotten around to trekking out to those places yet. Not for lack of want, but more lack of time for now.
Being chiefly occupied with menial tasks and being tired from the flight, I spent the rest of my time reading or working on a programming project while here. It was not until yesterday that I began to connect with the other people staying at the hostel. I am enamored with the other travelers as I always am. It is hard not to be when the others here have similar outlooks on life, a connection that I have been missing from my previous life.
The most comical character here is an elderly gentleman who prompts me to think he is the invention of someone’s imagination. Picture an 1800’s British royal navy captain displaced in time to the present day and you will have a fairly accurate representation of him. Speaking with Victorian-era vocabulary, a proper English accent, and a deep baritone voice he presents the stories of his travels and life with a charisma one cannot help but be enthralled by. Eccentric is not a strong enough word to describe him.
As an aside from my travels so far, I want to comment on the writing of this particular post. I dislike that it feels disjointed in theme, but I hadn’t been writing yet about my time here and wanted to make sure I did not go too long without doing so. Cultivating a habit of writing consistently is more important to me at the moment than being self-critical of the writing itself. There is no individual part I am rankled by, but it is not cohesive. I am rambling. I will keep this in my mind for my future posts, but for now am more interested in not letting go of my ambition of writing regularly like I do with so many other goals I set for myself.
I might also need to get a camera…