May 11, 2011

AUCK -> RAG 2011

My first night in Auckland I got cleaned up. I shaved and had a steaming hot shower that turned me red. I put on some fresh clothes and walked into town.
I was staying in Parnell, a nice area up a hill outside the city centre. I walked the length of the main drag down and back in search of the perfect dinner, but in the end I settled for a kebab. Then I went to buy a bottle of wine. I figured I'd drink it from a bag on a bench in a park.
The wine shop was a nice one. Because I came to New Zealand to make Pinot Noir in Central Otago, when the owner asked what I was looking for I said, "Pinot from Central Otago." He showed me where to direct my attention. After I picked something out I got in line at the register behind another guy. The owner of the shop praised this other customer for his choice of a couple different Italian wines and went on to bash those who spend their money on overpriced Pinots from Central. I got to the register next. "Hey, now I'm really looking forward to drinking this (you dickhead)." He back-pedalled fast saying, "'re great," and asked where I'd be working. I told him Mt. Difficulty and he asked, "Working for Matt?" Yeah. "Oh, well, Matt makes great wines. Don't tell him what I said."
Back outside it was raining. My bench in a park was out of the question. I opened the bottle as I walked down the road and I had a couple sips from it. But I determined then that I didn't want to drink. I'd been on the piss every night since my arrival to New Zealand, and what I really wanted to do was go back to the hostel, get in bed and fall asleep.

The next day I went nowhere in particular. I wandered blindly, but struck upon a nice part of town, a posh area consisting of cafes and bars, bookstores and fancy clothing shops. While I visited the cafes and bars and bookstores(I actually stumbled upon the same bookstore where eight years earlier I bought Lolita), I only gazed through the windows of the clothing shops. After hours of eating, drinking, and people watching, I went to the movies and with me I brought that bottle of wine from the night previous. I saw The King's Speech and I'll be damned if that wasn't a super cute and touching film, and in combination with all the wine it tugged at my heartstrings, and when I left the theater all I wanted to do was jump on the email and send a love letter.

But the next morning I was glad I hadn't. That was the day I was to depart from Auckland. I took a trip down autorow in search of a cheap rental car, but in typical fashion I went without anything reserved and so there was nothing available. Eventually I settled on a car that cost twice as much as I wanted to pay. I left town feeling sick over the burning sensation in my pocket, but I tried not to think about it. I listened to the idiotic banter of radio DJ's ("Call in or text!! And let us know if you like eating soggy cereal!!) and then Mary J. Blige. It was all interstate for a while, but then I got off the main road and I was driving through small, farming town suburbs, and then it was into the big, green, rolling pasture hills and I lost the radio. I sang to myself, but I'm no good at memorizing lyrics, so I sang Christmas songs. Things loosened up more. The roads got wild, and things got jungly as the bush grew thick all around me, and the air felt tropical and it was like I was entering a lush jungle paradise, and I was singing Jingle Bell Rock the whole way. Then I arrived to the town of Raglan, and it all went surfy.

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