Hey I don’t want how to start this post. I had a clear idea in my mind of all the things I wanted to say, but now I don’t know how to organize the ideas, how to describe feelings with words.

Finally we leave Auckland and the North Island. We have been 2 months with this house as the central point of our trips. Wherever we went, we always came back here. And believe me, when you are at the other side of the world, having a place where you can always come back is just priceless.

This house, this leather couch I’m sitting on, the kitchen and the coffee machines, the TV that no one uses and the garden.

Yesterday was a really special day. Full of hope, of new things starting. It wasn’t at all as I imagined it, but it happened. And I couldn’t be happier for what we did, for him, for being able to contribute to his happiness, which is my happiness.

our shoes

Jai cooked the last pizzas here. The best ones.

And well, this is the point when I start crying and I can’t organize my thoughts again.

Hey, I don’t know when will I see them again.

It all started one year and a half ago, in Barcelona, in a Flamenco party, and suddenly I’m here with him and I know that I will miss him more than I imagined. Him and his friends, my friends from now on.

Usually I complain a lot about my bad luck with my partners, with my jobs, with my life in general. The only thing I’ll never be able to complain is about my friends. Because I couldn’t choose them better.

I just keep thinking of the last two months. And all the moments we spent together will be forever with us.

Marty, thank you.

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Él y yo.

Bye-bye dear number 51. Bye-bye Auckland.

 

the day we wore make up and nice dresses

(before this non-sense text I considered myself a quite good writer.)

 

We spent the last week in Rotorua until Friday and then in Auckland. It was our last week in the North Island, and I think we did it pretty well.

On Tuesday, in Rotorua, we did one of those touristic things that we had to do: go to eat a traditional Maori hangi. We asked around which was the best place to go and everyone told us about Tamaki Maori Village. It costed 105$NZ (more or less 60 €) and it included the bus to the place, show, dinner. Well, for us was way too touristic. It was nice to see, nice to try it, but I don’t think it was worth it at all. Anyway we had to do it, it was a matter of once in a lifetime.

 

Hangi

On Wednesday we had an awesome present from our hosts: a voucher to do… RAFTING! Incredible! So on Tuesday afternoon we went to river Kaituna and got ready for it. Before starting I was quite scared, well, a lot, but once we were in the boats I realized that I could just enjoy it. And I did. It was sooo much fun!! We went down a 7 meter waterfall!! unfortunately I have no evidence that I was there, so you’ll have to trust Marina and my own word.

On Friday we took a bus back to Auckland for the last time. But before that we had to say good-bye in Rotorua to lots of friends: our dearests hosts Dennis and Catherine, Molly and Jack the cats, Simba the dog, the three cows and Jamon and Fuet the pigs.

 

Me and the cows
Me and the pigs

So on Friday afternoon we arrived back to Auckland. Last weekend in Auckland! After two months it was for sure our last weekend in the city. And we decided making from it the best one too.

On Friday night Marina and I went to the Lantern Festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Really beautiful to see, but incredibly crowded. Anyway, the food was yummy and the karaoke was hilarious.

 

Me and the penguins

After that we went with Marty for some drinks and came home early. Saturday was the market day. We discovered (well done! the last weekend!) that there are lots of markets going every Saturday in Auckland, obviously with kiwi timing: so they close pretty early. We only could make it to the French Market, which was sort of mediterranean food market with lots of things that we have been missing, they even had paella!

Then it was time to say good-bye to our favourite streets. So we went shopping to K’Road and Ponsonby. My collection of vintage dresses has increased again… te he he. And in the evening we went with Marty and Jai to have dinner to a Japanese restaurant and then for some drinks. Every time I hang out with those guys I have the same feeling: it seems I know them for ages. It still impresses me how some people can make you feel so relaxed, so at home.

Sunday was our day to get organized for the trip to South Island. And we went again to the Lantern Festival to see the fireworks. As you all can see, I’ve been very lazy taking pictures this week, but it was really beautiful.

And… well, the last weekend in Auckland was over.

I’ve been during 3 days thinking if writing this post or not. First I thought that I could be like Goya, doing a portrait that seemed beautiful but was actually sharp, but hey, doing this in English is not easy, and, besides, sarcasm is not as widely understood as people might think. Then I thought I could write about other things, and believe me, I have thousands of things that I want to write in the blog, but I wouldn’t have been sincere to myself ignoring one week. So at the end I thought there was no need to criticize anyone, things just didn’t work, that’s just it.

Last week we abandoned our dear Tricia and John in Lavender Hill and headed to another luxury Bed & Breakfast, theoretically for a couple of weeks. The place was amazing, I’ve never seen anything like that. So beautiful! So well decorated! But it didn’t work. The owner of the place and us have different characters, and we couldn’t do it. Marina and I weren’t relaxed at any single minute. And hey, we are on holidays, we don’t need to be unhappy for something like that. We are working to save money, not because we really need it, so after trying during three days, on Friday we decided that it was it. We got tired of her inner incoherency, of her rules changing every ten minutes and of her undeniable judgements.

Just for the record, English does NOT come from Latin, and neither does Indo-European, it’s actually the other way around: Latin deriving from Indo-European. Believe me, I know what I am talking about. I’ve devoted the last 10 years of my life to study that.

On Saturday we told her that we were leaving, and in some hours we were back to Auckland. We wanted to run away like Thelma & Louise, run with our backpacks while the front gate was closing, jump into a car and shout “SPEED UP!!!”. But we couldn’t. We just took a bus back to the city. So uncool!! Anyway, there Marty and the guys were waiting for us. It still seems weird how they had become our sort of family here. I truly missed them the last two weeks!

So we stayed there a couple of days. Time enough to recharge our energy and for me to release some of my feelings talking and crying. Believe me, sometimes is not easy to have your family that far away. If only I could just cuddle my mum for a minute and whisper in her ear that everything is going to be ok!

I am now writing from a bus. We left Auckland some hours ago in our way to Rotorua. Why? Why not? We’ll give another try to the whole help exchange thing and visit a city that we missed in our road trips. One of the few areas of the North Islands that we haven’t seen.

I am sorry there are no pictures of the last week but hey, life is hard. And I already did enough writing all of this!

The most surrealistic day ever.

Friday 21st was the day of the Big Day Out Festival in Auckland. Unfortunately, Marina and I couldn’t afford paying for the tickets, so we decided to spend the day in the Auckland Zoo.

So we woke up in the morning and headed there, it was finally our chance to see a kiwi!

The zoo was much better than expected. We were like kids, looking at the lions, giraffes, zebras, different kinds of monkeys, kangaroos, turtles… Well, like in any zoo. It’s just that we haven’t been to one in ages!

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Australian Kangaroos in the New Zealand zoo

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Giant turtle

But of course, our main reason to go there was to see a Kiwi. And guys, WE SAW IT! Oh my god! Is the cutest animal ever!!

Kiwis are awake at night, so in the zoo they recreate the night-time so you can actually see them awake. Well, them… In the zoo they just have ONE single kiwi. Poor thing, all alone! I couldn’t take pictures of it, but I assure you that I saw him moving, walking, running and doing holes in the ground. Just so you can see how cute they are:

After that we decided to walk home. Without map, without any instructions. Oh yeah! suddenly I realized that I forgot my cellphone home. So we were without map, without instructions and without a cellphone to call anyone. Moreover: in New Zealand people don’t walk, just drive to places, so there was no one in the street to ask. And it happened what it had to happen: we got lost. It took us two hours to do something that is supposed to be just half an hour. At the end we were just starving, so we stopped in the first decent place that we found. Big mistake. This was our oily dinner, typical new Zealand style, all fried:

 

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oily food

After a really hard digestion, we found our way home, arround 4pm. And suddenly, surprise! We had tickets for the Big Day Out! (BDO) Jon and Phil from Shihad could manage to give us tickets for it! Awesome!!! It turned out that the guys were trying to call us the whole morning, but of course, I forgot the cellphone home, so they couldn’t reach us and they were already at the festival.

Marina and I did our best to leave the house in 10 minutes, took a taxi and in less than half an hour we were at the festival. Important note: BDO starts at noon, so arriving there at 5pm was pretty late! Keep in mind that the festival ends at 11’30pm!

In the festival the rain started soon, but we didn’t care. We were there! Incredible!

So we saw:

– Wolfmother: sounded good! I need to download their albums.

– Shihad: what can I say? We will never thank you enough for everything! We love you guys!

– Iggy Pop & The Stooges: Awesome. I definitely wanna be your dog.

– LCD Soundsystem: or how to keep us dancing for the whole concert.

– Rammstein: well, we just saw them 10 minutes, but enough to understand why they were one of the head bands of the festival. Impressive show live!

– Grinderman: my dear Nick Cave! After starting the show half hour late they had sound issues, so they re-started the first song three times in front of a completely wet crowd (it was raining the whole festival!). So it was impossible to stay there. Believe me, I tried, but it was impossible. Nick Cave, hope to see you soon anyway!

After the festival, we went home as fast as we could, totally soaked to the bones. And the guys were in the mood to keep doing music. So they started playing guitars, bass, keyboard and even a xylophone. One of those special things that I can’t explain with words.

So what started being a zoo day ended up as the most musical day since we started the trip.

We are incredibly lucky with the people that we meet. Definitely.

It was just a shame that Black Keys cancelled the show for the BDO. But hey, it was a perfect day without them anyway!

Thanks everyone for following me. And for being at my side no matter what I do or how I feel.

I just wanted to wish you all a

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

After so many days raining we were already loosing any hope of sun. No matter if the guys kept telling us that the sun would eventually come out, we weren’t buying it. Summer time, yes, but in summer there are plenty of rainy days too. So, when Monday morning was just cloudy we thought that a miracle has happened, and finally we could do some proper tourism!

First we went to visit Marty’s brother, Steve at Shaky Isles Coffee. Guys, kiwis have real and delicious coffee! Spanish style! I am so incredibly happy about that! The place is located in Kingsland, an Auckland suburb with cafes and nice shops.

After that we went to K’ Road, one of Auckland’s most hipster streets. You know, that kind of street from London or Berlin with amazing vintage shops, fashionable clothing, sushi places, vinyl stores. Auckland has the biggest concentration of hipsters that I’ve seen in ages! Everyone is so incredibly cool that we feel totally ordinary! Thank God we are from Barcelona, obviously that’s makes us cooler.

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Stamps in K' Road

No need to mention that I saw lots of pin-up dresses that I could have bought instantly. But again, I had to control myself and think about travelling a whole year and my tiny suitcase…

Whatever. K’ Road is the place to party and also the place to shop. The equivalent to Malasaña in Madrid. Makes me feel like home, and I like it.

On Monday evening we decided to do some spanish cooking (the day before I had cooked a mallorcan “coca de trempó“!), so Ina did her famous croquetas. First, spinach ones and then ham and cheese. Amazing. She’s the croquetas queen. No doubt about it! I didn’t take any picture, but I almost didn’t have time: we ate all of them in minutes!!

Today (Tuesday) we woke up and realized that it was sunny. SUNNY!! So we decided to have a real walk trough the city. We took our guides and headed to uptown. First stop: Auckland Domain, a beautiful park where the Auckland Museum is located.

 

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Pōhutukawa (also known as Christmas tree) and Auckland Museum

The Museum is a must see in the city. Not only we found some of New Zealand’s oldest maori art but also expositions about the most recent history (World War I and II), New Zealand’s volcanic geography and its flora and fauna. It was a general country overview, well explained, not boring at all and the entrance is just a suggested donation, so, it’s also cheap. We learned about volcanic explosions, we saw all kinds of weird animals and we found out that there’s a non-european perspective for World War I and II. Definitely worth it. And, obviously, we saw (unfortunately just a reproduction) of the world’s cutest animal: KIWI! I can’t wait to see them live!!

 

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Spotted Kiwi

Then we walked Parnell Road and it’s beautiful shops. So many amazing things! From head pieces to all sorts of paper sets with stamps! All really cute.

Walking through Albert Park we arrived to Midtown and to Auckland Art Gallery. We saw a very interesting exposition with portraits from the beginning of the XIX century. The fact was that the portraits were exactly like the ones we have always seen, but with Maori people, so everybody had their faces covered in tattoos. We also saw there some cool contemporary art.

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Auckland Art Gallery

 

And, after the first exhausting day in ages, we came back home. Hey, definitely, sun makes the whole difference. And Auckland is much cooler than what it’s inhabitants think!

By the way, despite the first days of total incomprehension with New Zealanders regarding their accent, I think I’m getting used to it. Or something like that. I know what jandals are, and how to top up a mobile phone. And I know that eventhough they say [melk], they mean [milk]. In a few months Australians will make fun of me too. Yeah!

So here we are. New Zealand. New Zealand! Can you believe it? It’s hard being conscious of the fact that I’m exactly as far as I can be from Spain!

We arrived here on Wednesday 15th late in the evening. The fact is that we left Cook Islands on Tuesday 14th, early evening, and the flight was just 4 hours long. So, we crossed the Day Time Line and lost 23 hours. Weird. Really weird. Here is Sunday morning, in Spain Saturday night, in Cook Islands Saturday morning.

Anyway, in Auckland has been raining since we arrived. It’s supposed to be summer, but we haven’t seen any sunshine yet. So we haven’t done many touristic things, just improving our social skills instead. After the shock of the first hours listening to kiwi English, we have done our way socializing with our hosts and trying to understand them even when they talk to each other. And believe me, it hasn’t been easy!

It’s really amazing to thing about the whole story: one night in a party in Barcelona (my dear Gabi’s birthday party) I met a guy from New Zealand and we spend hours talking about music, he goes back there and we spend a whole year talking through chats, and one year later I’m in New Zealand, at his place, spending terrific days with his roommates. I believe this is what fate is about, and friendship. Marina and I still can’t believe how lucky we are in all the places that we go. Here it seems we are home again. They are just amazing!

So, after walking through the city center on Thursday and Friday and realizing that Auckland’s city center is actually just one street (Queen street), we joined the guys for a Friday night out. First we went to have dinner to a Malaysian restaurant and we had the first experience with the BYO thing, so to say: here you can Bring Your Own drinks to most restaurants, alcoholic drinks I mean. Isn’t it cool? After a stop home, we went to an awesome place called Whammy. It’s like a bar/venue/whatever from Berlin or London, even reminds me of certain places in Madrid: like a labyrinthic factory with small rooms and different things going on in each room. On Friday there were garage-rock concerts every half hour. We had to pay 20 nz $ to get into (12 euros, less than what you pay for Apolo in Barcelona!) and we could enjoy concerts until 3 am. I felt in love with a band that played surf rock, they just had me thinking about Messer Chups all the time!

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Ina trying to kill me.

After that we went home, listened to some music and g0t some sleep. Hey, our first real night out since we started the trip!!

On Saturday we woke up and had the classic after party day: music, coffee, food, lying on the couch. The guys have some musical instruments, so we even had our private concert while drinking pear cider (yes, pear cider!).

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Guitar, tambourine and pear cider

Some pizza for dinner and we were thinking about which movie to watch at night, and suddenly the door bell rang. The neighbours had some tickets for a gig but couldn’t do it, so they gave us two tickets for free to go there. The guys decided to give us (me and Ina) the tickets (thanks again!!!) and in less than an hours we were there, at The Powerstation venue, about to see the amazing show of Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings. I already loved that woman, but after yesterday I’ll just advise you all never to miss the chance to see her live. She’s just pure energy!!

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Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings in Auckland, December 2010

That was sooo cool!!! I couldn’t go to see her when she was playing in Barcelona, and yesterday I could go to see her in Auckland! For the record: New Zealanders are an amazing audience, much more passionate than one could expect.

After that we found out that two of the guys could also do their way into the concert, so we met them and had some beers before going back home, were we found out about the most surrealistic cartoons ever: The Rem and Stimpy show. Huge!

Dear all, I leave you with some hilarious minutes of Rem and Stimpy. Enjoy it!

So far, New Zealand is all about music. All about my favourite music. And I love the feeling.