Ten days to Immersion
23 October 2009 | Whangarei, NZ
A lot can happen in 10 days.
Zen's hauled and in her private shed at Friendship Yachts. Her crew is showered and comfortably settled in their private rental home in Onerahi, a small waterfront town just 9 minutes from the heart of Whangarei, which is a medium sized town just 90 minutes north of Auckland. Daily life consists of schoolwork, to-do lists at the boatyard, grocery runs, dance, gym and karate classes all done with multiple layers of clothing and left-side driving with a stick shift. My windshield wipers frequently go on full blast in total sunshine instead of the blinker. Life happens in a special way in New Zealand. And, we are loving every minute of it.
The Kiwis are open, laid back and phenomenally welcoming. A stranger, now friend, sitting next to us at a restaurant, loaned us his wireless internet card for our stay in NZ. Another let us borrow his handmade multi-thousand dollar carbon fiber yacht wheel to check it's size for Zen. So far, we've received 4 invitations to overnight hospitality and 3 family BBQ parties. People say that New Zealand is like America in the 1950's. I was not alive in the 50s, but if it was like this, I wish I was.
Locals have said Aucklanders are not representative of the average Kiwi. After visiting Auckland last week, we again saw an outpouring of hospitality by those city slickers. They also have a great sense of humor. According to them, we were quite brave for battling the Friday afternoon city rush hour traffic. What traffic? Thankfully, at the height of congestion, it resembled Newport on a Thursday afternoon. See our recently updated photo gallery for the whole technicolor story of our first week in New Zealand.