Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Friday, November 25, 2005

Auckland... City of Sails

We've been in Auckland for about two weeks now and thankfully didn't suffer too much with jetlag after our 14 hour flight from Chile. Auckland is the biggest city in New Zealand (about the same size as Dublin) and is right on the waterfront, it's actually built on nearly 50 extinct volcano's with lots of parks, beaches and greenery so quite a pretty place. The city centre has lots of really tall buildings. In fact it's got the tallest building in the southern hemisphere and for only $130 you can throw yourself off the top with a little wire to stop you reaching the bottom head first - I've decided to pass on this for the moment....

We've decided to stay here for about 4 months after speaking to Lincoln and Emma who we met while rafting in Peru. They live here and have convinced us that it's the best place to start our New Zealand adventures. Auckland is about 5 hours drive from the very top of the North Island and about 7 hours drive to the very bottom so it's probably a good place to base ourselves.

Last weekend we bought ourselves a 1.5 litre Mazda Familia, it's got pop up headlights which I think are really cool but Ciaran thinks they're a bit naff. Sure, he's a bloke so he doesn't know much about cars anyway, every girl knows that pop up lights rock! Anyway, having a car means that we're free to explore whenever we want. No more 5am starts for us!

After arriving here we stayed in a really fun hostel for the first couple of days while we got mundane things like bank accounts and tax numbers etc sorted out. Our hostel was next door to a brothel which Ciaran found hilarious (especially the BJ bar), can't say I was that amused!! After a couple of days we decided that we would have to take the big step and rejoin the settled world so we've moved into a house with two kiwi's called Ben and Candice, oh, and a cat called Toscar (!) who we prefer to call Tosser, he's only managed to scrape Ciaran once which isn't bad considering Ciaran's track record with cats. Ben and Candice are both really friendly, Ben's quite quiet but always nice and we've gone to the local pub quiz (which is in a pub across from the National Prostitutes Union offices!!) with him a couple of times. Candice is really arty/hippie and good fun too. We've attached a picture of the four of us on the night of Candice's birthday - they're the ones in the stupid hats!

The house that we're living in is a wooden villa up on stilts with a big deck out the sunny back garden. Great for relaxing after a stressful day of sightseeing.... sigh...

Here's a photo of the house and the car...

Apart from that we've just been enjoying Auckland. Have had a few nights out (of course) and have been doing lots of sighseeing and trips to the beach. Next big step is job hunting which we're not looking forward to....

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Adios South America

Well, our nine weeks in South America ends today. We`ve had an amazing time, it`s been 100 times better than we imagined it would be.

During our nine weeks we`ve travelled over 10,000kms spending over 200 hours on buses (giving us plenty of time to work out such trivia!). We`ve tripled our Spanish vocabulary; going from Adios Amigo`s to being able to say, Yes, No, Where`s the bathroom please and of course two beers!

We`ve met some weird and (mostly) wonderful people; Kate, Lin, Dom, Siky, Yonina, Stina, Anna and everyone else we`ve mentioned along the way.

We`ve seen and done some amazing things; Machu Picchu, the amazing Iguassu Falls, white water rafting, the Pantanal, Ilha Grande, Rio and the mighty Andes to name a few.

We`ve had the time of our lives and although we`re sorry to be leaving we`re looking forward to reaching New Zealand - the adventure capital of the world!

Sunday, November 06, 2005


We`ve spent the last 5 days in Mendoza. It`s a great city, lots of friendly people, fantastic weather and completely chilled out.
The hostel that we`re staying in is quite good although the bathrooms constantly smell of sh*t!! Looking forward to getting to New Zealand where people "flush"and don`t "bin"!!!!!

We`ve been to two vineyards and two chocolate factories, had lots of steak and met lots of people including a girl who came runner up in the Belgium Survivor! There`s been BBQ nights and Karaoke nights in the hostel and last night a gang of us went for Mexican food - all in all it`s been loads of fun and a great last week in South America.

We`re heading back to Santiago tomorrow for two nights before we fly to New Zealand...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Road to Mendoza

Arrived from Santiago, had lunch and got a collectivo to Mendoza. We`re not too mad on Chile and we`ve heard that Mendoza (Argentina) is a great city so we`re heading back there for our last few days.
Our driver is completely mental and scares the life out of me with his crazy driving but after about 6 hours of travelling through the snowy Andes we arrive in Mendoza where the sun is shining and it`s hot hot hot - yahoo!

This is a picture I took when we were near the top of the mountain, if you look closely you can see a truck on the road, it might give you an idea of the size of the Andes