Yay for a backlog! Getting online in Sydney and Auckland was a bit difficult and rather expensive. I'll write a few posts over the next couple days summing up the trip so far. But today is my first day living in Coromandel, which is a nice secluded peninsula about an hour east of Auckland. My porch has a view of the sea, the sound of cicadas, and a nice climate in the 70s. But more on here later.
I went to New York for a few days about a week before setting off to the other side of the world, and had a blast with Colin and Nora. They are totally awesome hosts, and made me feel right at home in the chilly City. I've been to a lot of places in the country, but strangely never made it to NYC. It was surprisingly more friendly and accommodating than I was expecting. In fact, I felt kind of neglected until my very last day for never having been insulted or scolded by a New Yorker. Fortunately, a guy at the airport made my trip complete as I was rushing through La Guardia trying to make it to San Francisco.
Turning off my alarm can be tricky some times, but rarely has it failed me a spectacularly as when I had to fly to SFO. Instead of waking up almost 3 hours before I had to fly, I woke up an hour and 15 minutes before my plane was supposed to take off. Thank god I had mostly packed the night before, but I was still pretty freaked out and rushing to get out ASAP. Colin helped me get cash for the taxi, and the guy showed up within 10 minutes. I got to La Guardia about 45 minutes before takeoff. There was a small line at ticketing, and after a small explanation and panicked looks, they New Yorkers all let me jump ahead so I could get checked in before the cut off. 10 of em were very understanding, until I got to the last guy, who gave me a lecture on not screwing everyone due to my lack of planning. I was pretty speechless, but hardly concerned about him, and actually surprised at how rationable and reasonable his rant turned out to be. I made that plane just fine in the end, as well as all my other trips to NZ.
But aside from the windy teens at night and low 20s during the day, New York was fun and convenient (though definitely not cheap.) We went to the Upright Citizens Brigade, which is improv comedy down near NYU. I got to catch up with my cousin Chris back in Astoria (Queens) who I hadn't seen in 10-15 years. He's every part the genuine New Yorker now, and seems to very much enjoy his new home.
There's a few pictures up on Facebook from New York, including a decent one of me at Rockefeller Center, and one of Chris, his girl, Colin, Nora and I in Astoria. Another hilight was going to the incredibly old McSorleys Ale House which was visited by Abe Lincoln, apparently. I have a feeling the lamp over the bar hadn't been cleaned since his visit either. Their two pints of dark were sorely needed on a blustery cold day, and listening to the raucous Irishmen and pubbers was also pretty awesome.
After a quick connecting flight in completely frozen over Minneapolis (5 degrees, woo) I headed to San Francisco to visit with Aunt Kathy for a few days right before heading to Sydney. Fortunately, I had been to San Fran several times recently, because this time I caught some kind of stomach virus and was pretty much non-functional for a couple days. It was very nice to visit with her, but also quite frustrating that I had no energy and could barely eat for pretty much my entire time there. No worries though, everything worked out in the end, and by the time I got to Sydney I was back to normal.
But that's a story for another day. Cheers!