Drive day In Auckland, NZ to Whitianga , NZ 01/18/2020

Today we left the city of Auckland to head to Whitianga. A charming town set along the coast of the Pacific Ocean. We stopped at a beach along the way to make our lunch and take in some of the views. First stop though, the bathroom!! The bathroom from afar looked like a pay toilet with a series of lit buttons. As we got closer, we inspected the buttons and realized it was just letting you know it was available or unoccupied. Kathy stepped in and closed the door where she was promptly informed by a recorded voice that she had 10 minutes to finish her business. She got down to business when the music started to play, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love……….” Knowing that she was on a timer she set about finishing her “business”; but how to flush? Hunting desperately, she could not find a way to flush, she pushed every mark on the wall, looked around the base of the toilet, and finally gave up. She reasoned that Dave was waiting outside he can deal with the problem. After washing and drying her hands she pressed the button to leave the facility when, whoosh! the toilet flushed. Ahhhhh, the exit button serves double duties: it lets the occupant out and flushes the toilets. In essence getting rid of two things at once!!

Back on the road we continued our journey on what can be considered the longest roller coaster of a road in existence. Dave pondered on why they have speed limits if you have no possibility of ever obtaining the posted speed limits. We finally arrive, after what seemed like forever, at a garage converted into a living space for guests. We unpacked our items and breathed a sigh of relief to not be moving.

A quick walk to the grocery store for something for dinner and salad makings and we were ready to relax for the night. Dinner consisted of a nice salad, (YAY something familiar) and lasagna, although not the type I am used to growing up. In this case, the lasagna was a bottom base of noodles, a layer of ground meat, and then a top layer of custard which was then baked. While not horrible, not something I would serve. Percy, you could show them a few tricks on how to cook Italian.

A late-night walk to find our church in the morning was a great way to end the evening. We meandered along Mercury Bay seeing the birds in the shallow pools and the sailboats moored in the deeper end of the cove. Last minute game of checkers, where Kathy is now undefeated, and off to bed. A relaxed way to spend a Saturday.

Dave “the driver” has some comments: Driving on the left side of the road and the right side of the vehicle is different, to say the least. It reminds me of being a 16 year old again and trying to learn to drive for the first time. After years of driving, many things become second nature while driving. Driving in the “bizarro world” of New Zealand is not second nature at all! I have to give my full time and attention to the task at hand, lest I turn on the wipers instead of the turn signal. It is Day 3 and I am still reaching to my right to put the car in gear (it’s on the left) and reaching to my left to grab the seat belt (it’s on the right.) As a young driver, there is a tendency to instinctively start driving to wherever you are looking. After years of experience, you can start automatically steering to keep the car between the ditches, even while glancing to your left or your right. I am not to that point yet in New Zealand! If I start to look at a view somewhere, the car starts heading in that direction. Add in the “Space Mountain” nature of New Zealand roads, with its disdain for anything straight or flat (and don’t get me started on the incessant “round-abouts”!), and I haven’t seen a view in this country yet. Kathy tells me it is beautiful. I hope to find out one day.

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