July 2, 2008
I didn’t oversleep today!!! I managed to wake up at 9.30am. Well, actually I wanted to wake up at 8am but I had to stay up last night due to some problems back home in KL (was up sending text messages… my phone bill might hit the roof!) so I couldn’t wane up early if I wanted to. Erm, so I guess I did oversleep, but not as badly as yesterday. Had breakfast of siew gao dumplings that were freshly pan-fried.
Today’s visit was not as pretty as yesterday’s. We started with a visit to the Maria Villa wineyard, where our tourguide (Andrew) took us around explaining the process of making wine. Maria Villa is an award-winning wine label which has come up with / uses a lot of the latest technology to make the best quality wine. Maybe later I’ll write about the Science of Wines (I just came up with that myself 😀 ).
It wasn’t a very pretty visit, because it was winter and all the grapevines were empty and looked dead. The greenery was beautiful nevertheless. Our visit all indoors as we were taken from room to room to see the vats and the laboratories.
I’m not really a fan of wine (I don’t like wine!!), and neither is my aunt, so we didn’t do any wine tasting. There were no free glasses of wine anyway; if we wanted to do wine tasting, we’d have to buy a package. The tour itself costs $5 per person.
The tour was at 11am, and finished about an hour later; thereafter we rushed home, and then grabbed the bus to the city. There, we started with lunch at Cafe Tasca. My aunt had asked me what my favourite foods were, and she took the trouble to look up a restaurant which serves Italian pizza. When I say Italian pizza, I mean the authentic Italian thin crust pizzas, not the American imitations of Domino’s and Pizza Hut. Cafe Tasca’s Chicken & Mushroom pizza was DELICIOUS; I don’t like mushrooms or tomatoes but the combination of the whole ensemble made everything superb. Oh, and did I mention that it was cooked over a real wood fire?
We then walked over to the Sky Tower where I was just in time to see a staff member trying out the Sky Jump! I really wanted to try it, but we just had lunch and I didn’t want to see my pizza a second time (plus, I had to eat more than half the pizza because my aunt wasn’t a big eater!), so we went to the Information Center where I took a lot of the free maps and books instead.
Then we took the free city bus around, and made a stop at a souvenir shopping mall. The free city bus was great; it takes people around the city with no charge. My aunt said it was probably to serve the university students (the bus goes right through the Auckland University campus) and tourists, but it was also great for locals.
We went window-shopping and I bought a few souvenirs (so for the few of you whom I’m buying for, be prepared for some cheesy touristy souvenirs). By the time we were done, it was nearly 5pm, and I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner by 6.30pm, so we couldn’t go back to the Sky Tower for the jump 🙁 We managed to catch a bus by 5.40pm and reached home about 6.15pm. Oh well… I’m planning to go to Lake Taupo for the bungy jump anyway, but it would have been nice to do the Sky Walk and the Sky Jump. The weather wasn’t too great though (it rained occasionally and there was strong winds) so I might not have been able to do either, although fortunately whenever my aunt and I were walking around, the rain stopped.
My dear friend Selvi from uni days picked me up from my aunt and uncle’s home about 6.40pm, and we went to Banque for dinner. She had lamb and I had chicken, and the food was EXCELLENT! We caught up and chatted … I haven’t seen her in years! She had been in Auckland for 4.5 years and is now working in Westpac as a bank manager. She sent me home by about 9pm as she was tired (she had to work nights the past few days) but it was great to have caught up with her.
I haven’t transferred the photos from my camera to the laptop yet, so I can’t post the photos yet. However, I will update this blog entry (hopefully by tomorrow) with the photos, so stay tuned! Update: I’ve updated this blog with the photos!
Tomorrow morning I have to wake up early (this time, early=7am) as I have to catch a bus to Dargaville (about 3 hours from Central Auckland). OK, it’s not really a bus, and I don’t have to catch it. It’s run by a husband-wife team and they drive passengers from Auckland all the way up to Dargaville via a minivan, I think. I’ll see tomorrow. And they’re going to pick me up from my aunt and uncle’s house (for an additional nominal fee) before going to the city to pick up the rest of the passengers, and then it’s off to Dargaville we go. Because we have to get to the city by 9.30am, they will come to the house by about 8.15am. So… I guess it’s time for me to sleep now 🙂