My shared accomodation at the Bamber House in the beautiful Mt. Eden area of Auckland has been among the nicest ever, but I managed to get a free upgrade to a private room with a double bed this morning. How does one achieve such a backpacking coup? Snore, grunt, and cough like hell.
The previous two nights of full-on partying and staying up, in combination with the attendant sinus problems of flying overseas, finally brought out the beast within me. For the last couple of weeks, I've been supressing a cold. From Cairns on, I've been taking megadoses of Emergen-C and Sudafed, trying to ensure that something like a little cold won't bring me down. It finally did. I went from hard-partying, happy-go-lucky world traveler to miserably wretch in just a few minutes last night. Needless to say, I kept my roomies up all night with my hacking and gurgling, and now I have a private room.
The more I go around Auckland, though, the more I think I should just stay in my room. I'm feeling worlds better after sleeping in, topping up on fluids, and taking some cold medicine, but I've found this place to be pretty unimpressive.
Don't get me wrong - the surroundings are beautiful, and some of the stuff on display at the Auckland Museum was great. But other than that, it's just another big (dirty) city. The true natural beauty of New Zealand is to be found due south, and that's where I'll be headed.
In the meantime, what I am enjoying in Auckland are the lower prices, smiling faces of the (mostly) friendly locals, and the complete and utter ethnic diversity in this city. It's like being back in San Francisco. On any one bus ride, I can hear people speaking in English (of various accents), Chinese, Japanese, Spanish - you name it. Unfortunately, aforementioned buses are pretty reminiscent of SF as well. While Sydney and Brisbane had amazing public transport, the bus routes here are just as nonsensical and ill-timed as the ol' MUNI.