Sunday, August 8, 2010

Auckland, Kebabs, Mean Biscuits & Tap Dancing Penguins

I have a problem.

There is a "hub" server here, a media-sharing system, which links all of the three residence halls and allows you to download movies, TV episodes, and music from other residents, as long as they have "shared" the files on the main system. I recently discovered this and lets just say I didn't get much reading done this weekend. I have officially downloaded all five seasons of my favorite show, How I Met Your Mother (Woo hoo, be jealous Saul!), and just discovered Supernatural...bad plan.

Note to self: make sure daily TV watching is proportionate to academic literary intake.

But don't worry, this doesn't mean that I stayed in my room all weekend. You can't develop real friendships with electronic equipment, as much as some socially awkward, Halo-frenzied teens may wish to believe. I actually had a pretty eventful weekend. After staying in Thursday night, I got up early Friday and ventured to Auckland with my friend Sam. He had an interview for an internship at one of the larger law firms so I tagged along, acting as co-pilot, keeping him company on the little-less-than-two-hour drive. I hope I fulfilled my shot-gun duties - only one wrong turn (silly metropolitan one-way streets).

We walked around downtown for a bit, taking a wander by the waterfront, before his interview and grabbed lunch. Driving out of Hamilton, everything was blanketed by a thick fog (they don't call this "The Land of the Long White Cloud" for nothing), but after arriving in the city, the mist lifted and it turned into quite a lovely day. I have to hand it to Sam, tramping around the city in a full suit, especially when he is definitely a jandals and stubbies (sandals & shorts) guy to the core :).

Having only stayed one night in Auckland on our way into New Zealand, which included a fit-full nap and a very jet-lagged dinner, it was nice to explore the city during the day, free from any agenda. I came across a small coffee shop named Seattle Espresso, complete with a Space Needle mural covering the wall behind the baristas, so naturally I had to stop and pay my respects with a quick caffeine fix. I went for the "tall black" (Americano), although my favorite thing I've discovered here is the "flat white" - aka a cross between a latte and cafe au lait (an espresso shot and steamed milk) and unique to New Zealand.

Some pretty flat whites we ordered when we first got to New Zealand:

After the interview, we made it back to Hamilton by 4:30 p.m., in time for Sam to ditch the suit and for us to assemble the troops (Erika and Gabe) for a tasty kebab dinner. We ended up going to the mall food court instead of a pricier town option. I must pause to make sure everyone understands the amazing-deliciousness that is a kebab... we're talking pita bread packed with your choice of shaved chicken, lamb or falafel and topped with any, or all, of the array of sauces and salads available (onions, peppers, chilies, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, hummus, garlic yogurt sauce, and more). This is one thing I fell in love with in Spain/Europe in general, that has only marginally made it to the Sates, and I have been craving ever since (Ms. Ann Bolling - if you ever read this, I must say this place had nothing on the Schwarma Queen... although I don't expect to find anything that even comes close to our 3 a.m. runs. Lauren - so far, Prague's kebabs kick New Zealand's butt as well). I swear the first person to start a decent kebab joint in the U.S. will make a fortune.

After dinner, we came back to the hall and continued the food fest in Sam's flat (as an Sen. R.A. he gets an oven, fridge etc... though seeing as there is only one bag of frozen corn in his freezer and he eats with us at every meal, I don't think it sees much cooking love). Mom - I hope you are proud - I made our cookie recipe from scratch, by heart, without any measuring cups/spoons. We pooled Sam and Gabe's random ingredients and picked up a few things at the store, then used a mug that was the equivalent of a cup and an actual teaspoon... AND they actually turned out perfectly! We overheard someone walking by the flat comment on the tantilising cookie smell wafting into the hallway (now wouldn't that be a fun air freshener!). Then, with stuffed stomachs we watched Happy Feet (now you should get the tap dancing penguins reference from the blog title) - I forgot how funny that movie is... Oh Robin Williams doing a gangster Mexican penguin accent, it never stops being funny.

On Saturday, I must admit I hardly did anything productive (stupid hub full of addicting TV shows), although Erika and I braved the rain to make a short expedition to the gym. We've had sun off and on, but mostly stormy skies and constant rain over the past few days. My knees have been giving me trouble lately, but I'm slowly working back up to it and there is officially light at the end of the frustrating injured knee, tendon, hamstring tunnel.

Later that night, Erika and I went to a housewarming potluck get-together at a friends' flat. Amy and Sydney, two American girls (Idaho natives) that we met through the AustraLearn program are living off-campus and finally found a permanent place. Sam (who did I mention is my favorite person EVER), gave us a quick ride to the house, even though it was during the All Blacks vs. Australia rugby game, so we didn't get soaked trekking int he rain. THANK YOU SAM!

We enjoyed corn fritters (aka pancakes made of corn), sausages, meatloaf, pizza, curry, a yummy organic lentil-rice combo, cake, and, of course, our cookies :). As the party drew to a close, some of us decided to go into town for a little bit. One of the girls' flatmates took me to a club called Flowbar where they had lots of dancing and dubstep (that same techno, deep base beat music - though much better than Soundscape). It ended up being a late night, so I have had another lazy day and now, to top it off, X-Men movie night with Erika!

Your ponder for the day: If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
- I would totally pick flight or teleportation... just saying.

PS: Another blog post including my most recently learned Kiwi slang... coming soon!


Oh and shout out to my gorgeous, funny friend Nicole Bjorklund - hope you're enjoying being back in the WA :) (yes Katy, I call it "the WA" and you should too!)


  1. Yeah corn in the freezer I was so stoaked when I saw it

  2. So, we won't worry that you're not eating will we?! Dan and Hilary vote teleportation. Just call me Wolverine. If we ordered a flat white, would they know what that was? Donner kebab rocks! :)