Local Flavor

Wine tasting was good (I did sample a trio of reds that were delicious!) and had an awesome eggs benedict. I ended up purchasing two bottles of pinot noir and two of the sparkling rose. Here's hoping I can get them safely home! I also tried a tamarillo...it was pretty tasty. Sort of looks like a plum tomato but tastes more like a passion fruit or something. Very interesting.

We came back from our tour and walked around a bit. I purchased magnets for my niece and nephew...a tradition I started several years back when I was still on the road for singing. Where ever I visit, I pick up two magnets that depict the country, state or city and give them to my niece and nephew. They have quite the collection...from Thailand to Hawaii to Oklahoma and now, New Zealand.

Around 6 p.m. I was already feeling sleepy but wanted to force myself to try to stay up until at least 9 p.m. I didn't want to doze off and then be up at the crack of dawn! No such luck! I completely skipped dinner (raided the minibar for a little snack) and dozed off by 8:00 p.m.! Next thing I knew it was 5 a.m. and I was awake!

I met my colleague downstairs for breakfast. We tried the breakfast buffet, which was okay, but basically the typical fare you'd find at any hotel-casino buffet. The eggs kind of scared me! I did, however, enjoy some tasty yogurt with fruit and nuts.

We had our first meeting today at 9 a.m. at a nearby venue. Afterwards our lovely hostess took us on a driving tour. We stopped at New Market, the cities shopping destination (they have Westfield Malls here) and had lunch in the food court. I sampled a bento lunch with sushi and chicken terriyaki. My colleague played it safe with fare from McDonalds. After lunch, we drove around and up to a lookout of the entire metro called One Tree Hill. It was sort of like Auckland's version of Twin Peaks in San Francisco. It was clear and we could see for miles in every direction. Afterwards, we drove by some of the cities local beaches, which are slips of sand just that border the little neighborhoods. The entire area sort of reminds me of San Diego actually.

On a side note...being the bargain traveler that I am, I asked our hostess about the nearest Pacific Islands as potential getaway destinations. She said that tickets to Fiji from here are super cheap! Like $600/pp. for flights and week's stay. So I will definitely be looking into that for after the conference here in November 2010. It will be the start of summer by then and what a time for a tropical island getaway!


Sandra said...

ooh, you should definitely go to fiji next year! it's just north of new zealand, and it sounded like a lot of kiwis go visit. i've really enjoyed reading about your trip - thanks! :)