The country of New Zealand is made up of two rectangular islands and it has a total population of 3 million and 33 million sheep.
Auckland has a population of 1.5 million and is in the upper area of the North Island. The people of New Zealand are commonly referred to as "Kiwis".
As we were heading to the modern city center, we pasted the old downtown area which is now the red light district. Prostitution is legal in the country.
We were in the middle of today's modern downtown area and just a few blocks from the restaurant lined wharf area. Trini and I agreed that it seemed like we were downtown Seattle in Oregon. The city is referred to as the city of sails because there are many sailboats in the harbor.
We walked pasted 3 Mexican restaurants a short distance from our hotel. Two of them were called "The Mexicali Restaurant". Their menu seemed like any other you would see in Los Angeles. Prices are typical to the area which is between $12 to $ 18 New Zealand dollars, per person.
The weather in the city while we were here was clear and mild. Temperature was i.n the mid 60s.
Our local bus tour started by going to areas throughout the city and going to the Australian War Memorial museum. Being part of the United Kingdom, it participated in the Boer War, WW I and WW II. The Kiwis used many resources preparing for a possible Japanese invasion during WW II. No invasion occurred because of its distance from the war area. New Zealand did shipped and provided a great deal of food for the war effort in the Pacific and shipments to England.
In the museum, we saw and enjoyed a live Māori (Polynesian) cultural dance performance. You may perhaps seen pictures of persons who are completely tattooed and looking with wide eyes and their tongue hanging out. It's quite expressive and meant to put fear in the opponent. I got see a picture of how the Māori greet each other. They rest their foreheads and touch noses with each other. It's their version of a handshake. It's quite touching.
I enjoyed their display of a real Spitfire, Japanese Zero and German V-1 flying bomb.
As we continued our touring around the very clean city, we noticed a series of small mountains in multiple places. Apparently they are cinder cones of extinct volcano activity. They are about a thousand feet high. They are distributed throughout the city. Story has it that a few years ago several young persons, in the early morning, rolled old tires, soaked in gasoline, into the crater of one near the downtown area and lit them up. It must have caused a commotion for those believing that the volcano had just erupted. It's clear that youth can be creative.
A central area of the port is dedicated to shops, ferry station, cruise line port and the internationally prestigious American Cup yacht area. Given the amount of space set aside on the shore line it's quite obvious that they take their participation on this annual sailing competition quite seriously.
Over in the horizon we could see the docked Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship. It's the second time we see it. The ship mainly travels around the world. It takes approximately 110 days to make the entire journey. I have met persons who have taken that world cruise trek three times and they enjoyed it. Trini I and I look forward to taking the world tour when our health will prevent us from taking road tours. Hopefully, that will be some years in the future.
As we continued exploring the city, we saw that everywhere we went the city was very clean. The houses were modern and we arrived at a time that house prices were quickly going up. I read in a local newspaper that a house was listed for $ 400,000 and it sold in a week for $ 450,000. The picture of it showed that it was a typical 3 bedroom and 2 bath residence.
We learned that New Zealand currently has practically no unemployment. They, if fact, have a great shortage for service workers and one strategy is to make it easier for college students to come and study here. They can easily obtain student visas. Asia is relatively nearby so they can come to study plus learn to speak English.
One could see throughout the city, that the country was hosting the world cricket tournaments. There were many large advertisement signs practically everywhere. It seemed that every television in local businesses was on the games. The New Zealand team was not favorite to go to the finals but hopes remained high. We watched one of the televised games for some minutes and quite frankly, we couldn't figure it out. We started to ask the locals to help is understand the game. The more we asked, the more confused we became. We learned very little about the rules but we met many wonderful locals they tried to explain it to us. Funny thing was that it seemed that each person we talked to had their own version of the rules.
We had a good dinner and went to bed early. The day was full of activity and walking and the flight jet lag to arrive here was beginning to catch up.
The next morning we were scheduled to catch a plane and fly to the bottom area of the South Island to visit Queenstown.