From Auckland to Paihia

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We took a longer route up to Paihia (from Aukland) which took us over to the west coast (Tasman Sea) for a bit. The drive was beautiful, a lot like California, but greener, and you have it all to yourself. There are even big trees — we stopped to see the largest living kauri tree,…

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Auckland tours

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Our first day in New Zealand! To get familiar with Auckland, we got a tour of Auckland and the surrounding areas. We tasted our first pies (which are addictive), looked over huge forests, enjoyed walking on the beach (with sand that sticks to a magnet), and had a very nice day. Denise wrote captions to…

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Total Lack of Culture Shock

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We flew on Air New Zealand to Aukland on a brand new jet. The safety video was a humorous spoof of The Hobbit, very cleverly done. In Fiji everyone spoke English, were very friendly, and went out of their way to make visitors feel at home. In New Zealand it’s much the same. Aukland is…

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Less of This, More of That

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Today we bid Matamanoa farewell and traveled to the “Mainland” to be close to the airport for an early morning departure. For convenience, our travel agent booked us into one of the major hotels for one night. It was high-end, luxurious, and utterly cold and bland. I’m pretty sure I stayed in that exact room…

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It Takes a Village. Or, Two Villages.

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Today we went on an excursion to the village of Tavua, on a neighboring island, where most of the staff of the resort live. It was a very interesting trip—we really learned a lot. The culture and economy of Fiji are so different from western norms, we think it’s fascinating. Tavua has about 200 residents,…

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