This is the first time we’ve stayed in a hostel with the kids. Verdict: success. My favorite part is all the communal cooking in the evening, and all the languages swirling around with the aromas. Curries, noodles, cabbage stir fries, beef stew, spaghetti. German, Maori, English, French. There was a New Zealand high school choir group staying, an older couple, many twenty-somethings backpacking their way through. We seem to be the only ones with kids.
We hand-wash the dishes when we’re through.
We keep things to the suitcases and beds, wear flip-flops (jandals in NZ) to the shower, and walk almost anywhere we need to go. The location here is perfect for our needs.
B and K and I walked to a playhouse a couple of nights ago and saw a fantastic play, Tribes. It premiered in London in 2010 to mixed but mostly glowing reviews, and for me, elicited both a huge emotional response and intellectual engagement. If you get a chance to see it, by all means, do.
Auckland’s nighttime streets feel very safe. We passed some guys doing parkour, a group of young people singing happy birthday, and lots of public art.
We’ve noticed that there aren’t any homeless people on the streets of Auckland. There are no panhandlers. When I passed a bundle of blankets on K’ Road, my Seattle-trained mind expected the sign propped against them to be a plea for assistance. Instead, it says, “These blankets are free for anyone who is cold and/or in need. Please feel free to help yourself. With care, The White Elephant Op Shop. Opening soon! We love people.”
Our impression so far of New Zealand is unflaggingly positive.