The Auckland Adventures Part III

Unfortunately, the adventures slowed down as two members of the family caught colds—I was one of them. To say that having a stuffy nose, sore throat, and dry cough on vacation are fun things would be an absolute lie. Still, I didn’t let a common cold keep me from having my requisite one adventure a day. They were small things, not extremely tiring, but they were still things that I wanted to do while I was in Auckland.

On Monday, Dad and I drove to Sylvia Park for a bit of walking around and shopping. We looked in anything that caught our eyes and we both managed to find good deals at The Warehouse (NZ’s version of Walmart). Dad got a vinyl and I found a cookbook I wanted that was $50 everywhere else, but $10 (on sale!) at the wonderful Warehouse. We ate at Café Casablanca, a Middle-Eastern style restaurant, because the BurgerFuel at Sylvia Park had closed. Last time I ate at Casablanca, it wasn’t that great to me, but I ordered something different this time and it was pretty good. I had the lavash wrap with chicken and it was perfect for a relaxed shop-around day.

We stopped by the supermarket to get some stuff and I finally bought some delicious New Zealand chocolate of the coconut and peanut type respectively. I also bought some cookies that were sold in a bag because the only bagged cookies we get in the States are of the circus animal variety. It also seems highly irresponsible to just sell cookies in a binge-worthy bag, but I understand.

After shopping, Dad and I returned home and lazed about. I was put through the unfortunate business of watching Grimsby, which was funny but once again reminded me why I find Sacha Baron Cohen such a confusingly, attractive person. One minute he’s charming as Time itself and the next he’s playing an idiotic, loveable soccer nut.

Tuesday, Dad and I were going to see a movie at the Monterey, but got there late enough that there were only front row seats. Um, no thanks. So we headed off to our next destination—Hard to Find in Onehunga. This is a bookstore of high mystique and caliber because, once again, it’s a two story shop packed with every kind of book you could desire. There are shelves of general fiction, piles of children’s book, a respectable linguistics area, hardbound classics, an entire room of science fiction and fantasy, and so much more contained on three separate floor areas. I managed to snag a cookbook on pies, because I doubt I’m going to find much in the meat area besides chicken pot pie in America.

After Hard to Find, Dad and I had lunch at the Luscious Café. I sank my teeth into a mince and cheese pie, which somehow managed to stay hot for the entire duration of me eating it, and drank Phoenix cola. Then we walked to Dress-Smart, which is an entire outlet mall in what looks like an abandoned building on top of a parking garage from the outside. Inside, I found some of my favorite NZ stores at discounted, bargain prices (and very tempting purple Nikes). Dad was kind enough to spoil me as I gave into the absolute need for a pair of Peter Alexander pajama pants.

Now, each and every time I’ve come to New Zealand, I’ve gone into Peter Alexander and marveled over the fact that an entire store full of pajamas exists in the first place. Then, I look at the price tags and shrink away in disgrace. It’s not that they aren’t worth each and every penny of $80, but—at the same time—how can I allow that much money for pajama pants? Luckily, the outlet was having a sale on their already discounted price and I walked out and then walked back and gave in, and Dad paid for them before I could fully get out my wallet. So I am now the proud owner of a pair of discounted Peter Alexander pajama pants that I will wear until I am eighty.

Wednesday, Dad and I continued our shopping tour of Auckland by returning to the city centre for some proper looking around. We also ticked off several things on my ‘must do’ list. We looked at the World Press Exhibition, which was full of beautiful, depressing photos about news events around the world. They were fantastic photographs, but the real world is a sad place and it was very heavy to have that much pain and suffering in one room.

To lighten the mood, we had ice cream at Giapo. This isn’t any ordinary business or ice cream though; it’s gourmet, splendid, couture. First, you sample the different flavors available that day (each one delicious) before making your choice. Then you can have a cup or cone, and then upgrade to a deluxe cone if you want. Then the chef, all out of sight, puts your ice cream on the cone, coats it in toppings that complement your choice, before eventually handing it over. My hokey pokey ice cream was amazing with chocolate shell and pieces of candy sticking out as if from a Lady Gaga music video. Dad’s was topped with marshmallow fluff before being toasted with flame before our very eyes and having nuts individually placed on the ice cream.

It was so good, people. Best ice cream I’ve had in my life, and so decadent that I felt sinful. For the price and superior quality, I’d say that it’s a once-a-trip type treat because otherwise I might get used to how damn amazing it is and that would be a waste. If you’re in Auckland, this is a must go place. If you’re lactose intolerant they have sorbet and they do ask at the counter if you have any allergies, so it should be available to any and all people of the world.

After ice cream, we walked up to Real Groovy’s new location and had a nice wander around one of my favorite eclectic shops. Dad went straight to the vinyl downstairs while I puttered around the CDs, DVDs, Pop figures, books, and random stuff. A big downside to living in America is that I can’t buy movies over here because it’s in a different region, even though I did find some good ones at great prices. CDs on the other hand are fine, and I managed to snag the Fantasia soundtrack and some Nirvana. I also found the perfect copy of Lolita for my collection because the cover isn’t sexualized like many of the ones in America are.

A little hungry, we wandered down to Revive Café, my favorite healthy eatery, for some lunch. I got curry potatoes and Thai style broccoli with some hummus on top. It was perfectly filling for what seemed like such a little bit, but that’s what I’ve discovered about New Zealand eating. Unlike in the States, the portions are just enough to fill you up without stuffing you to the point of disgust. It’s definitely shown me that I can survive off of smaller portion sizes without dying.

We walked down to Unity Books and looked around. I found several books that I was interested in, but not enough to buy them. Dad did find a book he’d been looking for and I almost got a hardcover Frankenstein, but I did notice that it was published somewhere in the States so I might just have to wait till I get home to buy it.

We finished up the evening with some takeaway curry with my other set of Kiwi grandparents. Yes, I am probably having a pie and curry binge while I have access to them in delicious quantity, but it just means that I’ll have to have some good Mexican food when I get home.

There are only four days before I fly away from this paradise and back to the American summer. I’m determined to enjoy every moment I have left—sick or not. The adventure must go on.