Saturday, January 03, 2009

Pukekohe, New Zealand

MDR & MB landed in Auckland at 00:30am on the second day of the year after a comfortable flight on PacificBlue (VirginBlue NZ carrier). Philip & Emma met the pair at the airport which is about 20 minutes drive from their home in Pukekohe - exceptionally nice of them to do an airport run at such a late hour.
First thing next morning, Philip was in boot camp mode and had us walking up the hill, in the rain, to his swank new home, the "Citadel", where he and Emma will live while they build their dream home on a nearby acreage.
Philip & Emma showed the duo around Pukekohe, however MB is totally confused as each time they go somewhere, it's via different route. The team also went to nearby Tuakau, birthplace of Sir Edmund Hillary, after a hearty lunch at the Autobahn when finding that just about everything is closed on 2nd Jan due to it being a public holiday. Tuakau is known locally as solo mum town and there is no signage or monument commemorating the town as the birthplace of Hillary. This struck MB has pretty remiss as it would be quite a tourist drawcard.
First night into the trip and MDR & MB cooked a coq-au-vin for dinner with a free range chicken which was very tasty.
After dinner another walk was had by the team, this time in the reserve behind Philip's place which has recently been re-vegetated with NZ natives and looks spectacular.
Wine is pretty cheap, bought a Pinot Noir from France for the princely sum of $7.99. Fresh beans on the other hand were $17.90 per kg (at the local supermarket). Pukekohe by the way is located in the market garden hub of NZ.
Luckily MB found out about the local farmers' market on Saturday morning which was great for fresh greens, beans were only $2.50 and beautifullly fresh.
Breakfast today for MDR & MB at the Farmers' Market was some delicious fried pork dumplings from the Fongs. When Philip turned up a bit later turns out he knew the Fongs and was given a big serve of Fried Rice on the house. Everywhere Philip goes, he knows someone and always has time for a chinwag.
Philip & Emma head off to the Coromandel for a camping trip with the extended family tomorrow and preparations have been pretty feverish. MDR helped Philip find a speargun today at a spearfishing shop in Auckland. MB whispered to Philip on their way into the shop that MDR wouldn't leave without buying something. Sure enough just as the team were about to leave, after having quite a chat with the owner, MDR spotted some good dive belts and bought one. MDR couldn't understand what the rest of the team found so amusing about him buying something....

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