It's Friday morning in Auckland - windy, rain threatening - and I'm sitting in the central branch of the Auckland Public Library, gazing out the window at the City Art Gallery instead of getting on with work. This afternoon I'm going downstairs to the Academy Cinema to see, with my mother and sister, the German film Go For Zucker.
I wanted to post some pictures from Waiheke Island, where I spent a few hours on Wednesday visiting my friend Kyra Xavia. We met in Shanghai when I was there researching Hibiscus Coast, but these days Kyra is living in the opposite of Shanghai. Waiheke is an island in the Hauraki Gulf, a thirty-five minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. It used to be a hippie hangout/holiday destination, but these days there are vineyards and multi-million-dollar homes on the clifftops; the hippie schtick has evolved into organic food markets and boho cafes. It's still very pretty and laidback. This is Oneroa, the biggest township:
We went for a walk along the coastal path, looking out to the Coromandel Peninsula and Little Barrier Island (Hauturu):
I know I've been waxing lyrical about the ferries, but there was unnecessary confusion the other day at wharf #2 in the city: the sign read "Ferry for Rangitoto," and it was only when I saw people getting on with luggage that I realized it was probably the Waiheke ferry. (You don't need luggage on Rangitoto - there's nowhere to stay.) I asked a lurking bystander if he knew what was going on.
Me: Is this ferry going to Rangitoto or Waiheke?
Me: Then why does the sign say Rangitoto?
Him: Because this is New Zealand.
In other travel news, my nephew and his cohorts made it safely to Wellington on Tuesday but the drive - which takes eight and a half hours or so on a good day - took them thirteen hours because the Desert Road was closed. Today he's coming back on the train - a twelve-hour trip.
And now I must do some work.