Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Auckland Day 4 - Grant Notification

Since I had applied for my Australian visa while in Canada, my application was handled by the High Commission in Ottawa. That meant that any communication that was sent by the person in charge of my case came during the night. It was stressful waking up every morning while I was waiting for any emails from them. I was up throughout the night looking at my phone to see if I had a flashing light telling me I had received an email.

It wasn't until 6:30am that I noticed that I had an email from TripAdvisor which is something I really didn't care about. Good thing I got that email though because it made me open up Inbox and I realized that I had received my visa grant notification, it just got put in the 'updates' folder that doesn't alert me to new mail. It was very exciting and a huge relief to finally see! The only problem was that it was 4:30am and Cam was definitely not awake back in Melbourne. I still messaged him though! Luckily my mother and my friend who are back in Canada were online and I told them the good news! I managed to get back to sleep only to be woken up by Cam messaging me back a few hours later.

My original flight had me leaving Auckland on the Friday since I had to plan to be out of Australia for five business days while my visa was processed. It was cheaper for me to buy a new flight home and fly out the next day since the hotel room was booked for another night.

I decided to walk to the bagel place beside the beer store we went to on our first full day. Sadly the bagels were too sweet for my liking and I left a bit disappointed. Because I am just so exciting, I ended up spending most of the day back at the hotel watching Netflixs and eating chips.

 I did venture out to a Japanese place that was much better than the previous one. Their spicy udon with chicken was just I wanted and it was perfect for the chilly night. Not wanting to be too boring, I headed next door for a drink. I almost left after a beer, but I got chatting to two locals. One knew all of the airport codes that Qantas flew to (and then some). We had a great chat about comedy and Canada. I was so caught up being social that I had forgotten about the video chat that Wombie and Bear were suppose to have! In all fairness we never agreed on a time. Rushed back to the hotel to get it set up and opened the sour beer that I had saved. Wombie and Bear missed each other greatly. I did miss Cam as well, but I knew that I would be back home with him the next day!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Auckland Day 3- Bye Cam!

It was not an early start to the day, but considering the events from the day before, we had an okay start.

After an eventful brunch, we walked around the city in hopes of finding cheese curds. It is not possible to find such a thing in Australia and I was hoping the different laws on unpasteurized milk would improve my chances. The lady at the fancy cheese and ice cream place had no idea what I was talking about when I inquired if they had any. No luck was had.

Since Cam had to be back at work, we originally planned it so he would only stay until the Monday and I would hang around Auckland until my visa was processed and I could return home. We got some quality cuddle time in before we went to find a snack and a beer.

Cam had arranged for a set-price cab back to the airport and was picked up at 4pm. The driver not only got lost on the way, but also over-changed Cam even though the price was set. I headed to the grocery store to pick up stuff for dinner. Half way through shopping I decided on the theme 'red'. I also picked up a passion fruit lime cider that I knew Cam would disapprove of me drinking and I knew he was right before I even tasted it. Ick. I picked up a beer that was simply labelled 'beer' and the packaging was not wrong!

 The airport offers 30 minutes of free wifi so Cam was chatting to me while he waited. He told about his enjoyment of the airport bar and how wine was just okay.

I watched TV because I felt like being boring that night. I was still paying for an expensive hotel room so why wouldn't I take advantage of that? The bed was really comfortable so that was another good reason not to go anywhere. I stayed up until Cam landed back in Melbourne. He had a good flight back and managed to get four beers. While Cam was enjoying our fantastic bed, I was stuck in a foreign
country unsure when I would be able to return home.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Auckland Day 3- Waiheke Island (Wine, Wine, Wine!)

The original plan was to be up at 9am for an adventurous day on Waiheke Island. If you read through the post about the previous day, it is clear why we had a later start. We did manage to get the 12am ferry to the island. It was a forty minute trip and the mediocre coffee on board really didn't help liven us up. Instead of renting bikes, we decided to walk into town which turned out to be a good plan.

Lunch was a simple meal of a burger and fish & chips while we sat overlooking the ocean. Wasn't the greatest food, but the view really made up for it. After we finished there, we went to information to find out what we should be doing on the island. The lady working there suggested some of the wineries on the hill and it was a short walk that took us through a park.

We did get a little side tracked and ended up having a beer in the sun before making the trip. There was a sign for a bush walk in the park, but we much have followed it wrong since it took us 2 minutes to get through it all.

Cable Bay was the first winery that we came across (and it would be the only we went to that day) We started our visit with some wine tasting. It was good wine, but it was really expensive to bring it back to Australia with us. The best part of the winery was hill that had a view overlooking the bay with Auckland skyline in the distance. We managed to grab two bean bags and ordered a bottle of very overpriced wine to enjoy in the late afternoon sun. The problem with the combination of wine, bean bags, and warm sun is that it makes you never want to leave. Our plans to move on to the next winery were abandoned somewhere between the cheese plate and second bottle of wine... or was it the third bottle?
Wine in the sun... what could go wrong?


While we were enjoying our very relaxed wine haze, we were subjected to a girl talking loudly about how she spent almost a year in Australia and that made her so cultured. I'll let you guess her nationality. We had a conversation with the people she was with while she wondered off for a bit and even they couldn't stand her.

When it was sadly finally time to move on, we called a taxi to take us down to the ferry docks. It was after waiting past the time it was suppose to arrive that we started getting concerned since we didn't want to be stranded on the island over night. We told the bar staff since they were the ones to call it and one of them ended up driving us down to the docks.

Uneventful ferry back to the mainland. I did get carded while trying to buy beer and I actually had a valid form of ID on me. The cashier asked if the second beer I was buying was for someone over 18 and I told her I didn't date younger men!

We attempted to find dinner since the small things we had at the winery wasn't filling enough. Unfortunately we both had had too much wine and couldn't come to an agreement about where we wanted to eat. Early to bed instead.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Auckland Day 2 - Beer, Disappointment, and More Beer

Despite Auckland being two hours ahead of where we were mentally, we managed to get up a reasonable hour to make it to breakfast in time. Nothing fancy, but it was enough to sustain us.

It was a nice day so we decided to walk along the waterfront. There wasn't much to see, mostly boats and water. The beer place Cam wanted to check out was closed until the evening, but we agreed that it didn't look that exciting anyway. We did go to a shop that Cam had looked up to find jeans. Even though it is hard to shop for jeans, he ended up buying two pairs. Continuing the rare streak of finding things Cam will actually wear, we went to a shoe shop to pick up a pair. It was from a store they have in Melbourne, but he wanted them then and there.

Fish and chips at a pub that advertised the best fish and chips in the city. Hard to tell if they really were since that was only time we had them and it wasn't life-changing.

 We did find a much more interesting beer place that was a bit of a hike up a hill and it was definitely worth it. There was no sour beers on tap so I was a bit disappointed by that. After a few drinks we picked up a cans and bottles to bring back to the hotel with us. We stopped at a pub to use there bathroom and stayed for a drink and a game of pool.

Use the other filter, it really brings out my eyes!
We took a break and crashed at the hotel for a bit. A drink in the drawing room (yeah, the hotel had a drawing room) came complimentary with the room so we took advantage of it. The wine wasn't great, but it was still a glass of wine!

After drinks, we walked down to a Japanese restaurant that was recommended by the front desk. We ended up being greatly disappointed with it. We sat at the bar while we waited for a table even though 1/4 of the restaurant was empty (and would still go unfilled the entire time we were there) The staff were confused by things on their own menu and would have to wonder off to find someone to help them. The food was good, but it wasn't worth the price nor the pretentious attitude that everyone there seemed to have.

Before turning in for the night, we stopped at the hotel bar for one last drink. There was a group of really drunk older ladies there as well. One of them fell off her stool. I wasn't there to witness it since I had run up to grab something from the room. Silly older ladies!

Friday, May 1, 2015

New Zealand and Immigration

After waiting over 9 months, I was finally informed my visa was about to be approved. Since I had applied from outside Australia, I couldn't be in the country for them to actually process it. I did save some money by applying while we were still in Canada. We decided to take a quick trip to New Zealand and there were decent flights to Auckland.

It was an easy flight to over. We flew with Qantas and managed to get an emergency exit row. The food was better than on an flight within North America. There was a bit of turbulence, but nothing too bad. Customs was very quick since we took the 'All Passports' line and didn't wait to go through the fancy gates. I don't have a chipped passport and Cam's is so worn that the machines probably won't have accepted it anyway.

We took an expensive taxi to the equally expensive hotel in the city. It was nice hotel in a very convenient location. Our room did over look the bar and the dining room so there wasn't a lot of privacy. After some beer and pizza at the hotel's corner bar, we decided to find a bottle shop. The only problem we had was the fact the cashier at the bottle shop couldn't accept Cam's Victorian driver's license as a valid form of ID. He sold the beer to us anyway because how many under 18s do you know that have a luscious beard like Cam?

We had tucked in Wombie before heading out for dinner, but we came back to the bed made with him sitting on top. Early-ish to bed since there was a two hour time difference and we were exhausted from travel.