The men's bathroom at the Sofitel Hotel

The men's bathroom at the Sofitel Hotel, which is actually famous, it's been in lot's of news lately.

We arrive a second time in Auckland on the north island of New Zealand, on Monday, May 1, 2006, arriving from Queenstown. This time we'll spend the night and leave tomorrow morning very early for Noumea, New Caledonia. A lady I met in a cafe at Pancake Rocks had recommended Alpers Inn, an inexpensive, clean, safe motel, in the Newmarket District. The Newmarket District is fairly close to the airport and has a lot of nice shops and restaurants. We arrive late afternoon, and take a little walk and then have dinner at the Cock and Bull, an old English pub, with superior pub food.

So here is my summary of New Zealand:

The Kiwi's are friendly and fun-loving. They talk fast, don't leave much space between words, and use Kiwi slang, so Harold needed me as an interpreter often. They have noticeably good cell phone manners, you do not hear them ringing out loud much, you don't see too many people walking or driving with them stuck to their ear, and they don't carry on loud one-sided conversations on them. Their food is excellent. They love the outdoors and adventure.

You ride on the left side of the road, but it's the walking that's more dangerous, you have to remember to look both ways before crossing the road. The roads are excellent, mostly two lane, in very good condition, almost never straight, and with one breathtaking view followed by the next. They are not crowded, and the other drivers are courteous. And there are no large animals to worry about running across the street, there are actually no mammals native to New Zealand except bats. The weather has a lot of nice variety. We were cold and/or wet a lot.