Arrival in Whangarei NZ
19 February 2013 | Whangarei NZ, North Island
On Friday the 15th of Feb, it was finally time to head back to NZ after 2 months back in the states. We said the last of our goodbyes on Friday morning, then Skip and Mary Ann gave us a ride to the airport along with 200+ lbs of baggage. Luckily their car was large enough to hold the four of us plus all our bags! We arrived in San Francisco around 1:30 in the afternoon, and we finally reached our hotel downtown 2 hours later via BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit). So much for ‘Rapid Transit’! Not the best choice when you’re loaded down with 4-50lb bags plus backpacks and purses. Our return trip to the airport was a much different experience the next day – we splurged on the $55 town car ride and it was well worth it!
We had a great time in San Francisco, and the weather was perfect! Friday evening we were looking for a Chinese restaurant nearby to have dinner. Our cocktail waitress at the hotel recommended a place a couple blocks away called R&G Lounge. So off we went, only to find a long line streaming out the front door of the establishment. John’s first reaction was “let’s go somewhere else!”, and mine was “this is perfect – I’ll get our name on the list”! It was only a 40 minute wait and there was one empty stool at the bar – looks like we’ll be doing dinner at R&G! While we were waiting for our table, we struck up a conversation with the couple sitting next to us. They were originally from Vietnam, and had escaped to Malaysia back in the mid-1970’s via a small boat. A year later they arrived in the US with 2 little kids both under 5 years old. They had quite an interesting story to tell and we wanted to learn more, but our time was cut short as their table was called. Our table was ready a little while later and we had a delicious meal. Salt and pepper scallops and mu shu pork – deeelish!! We later found out that the restaurant was featured on the travel channel – so no wonder so busy, but definitely worth it. Saturday, our plane didn’t leave until 7:30pm so we had the day to hang out. We walked to the Ferry Building on the esplanade where there was a farmers market going on. We were overwhelmed by all the food choices. Everything looked good! We opted for a glass of wine and some bread and cheese/olives. Good stuff! We spent the rest of the day walking down towards pier 39 where it was swarming with people – probably because the weather was so nice. We finally caught a tram back to the Ferry Building where we walked back to the hotel and grabbed our ride to the airport.
Other than being very long, the plane ride was pretty painless and we landed at 5:30am Monday morning. We zipped through customs and made our way to downtown Auckland to catch a bus to Whangarei. We arrived at the bus stop much earlier than expected - our scheduled bus was not for another 3 hours! The early bus to Whangarei was just getting ready to depart, and we were able to catch it just in time before it pulled out. Score! So we made it into Whangarei at 11:45am. Our friend Dave was there with our van to load all our baggage into. But he said it had been having trouble starting the last few days. He had no more than turned it off to meet us at the bus station and help us with our bags, and the battery was dead. So replacing the dead battery moved directly to the top of the list of ‘Things to do when we get to Whangarei’!
Monday afternoon we also checked into Riddlesden B&B which I had reserved for our arrival, and we’ll be staying at for a few weeks while we have some work done on Orcinius. It is a beautiful 100 year old home that Jeanette and Alistair have recently restored. Our room is huge with a huge bathroom and French doors that open to our own little porch overlooking the backyard and a park reserve. It is really nice, and Jeanette and Alistair couldn’t be more inviting. We are being spoiled!
We also did a walkthrough of Orcinius Monday afternoon to see all of what needs to be done. I will let John elaborate more on that later. For now we are digging through much of our ‘boat stuff’ – reorganizing it and trying to get rid of the extraneous stuff. Not an easy thing for two people that like to be prepared for everything!
And the best part of the day – dinner with Charisma!!! It was great catching up with Bob and Ann, we missed them a ton! We are also starting to plan for our trip down to the south island. At least come up with a list of top things we would like to see and do. The weather here now is great – we are definitely enjoying the warm sunshine. All for now!