Rather than bore you with a recap of all that you might have read over the past 26 days, I thought that I would instead regale you with a few things that I didn't do while Down Under.
- I didn't eat Vegemite. Vegemite is a dark brown paste made from yeast extract. It is used a a spread for sandwiches and crackers and sometimes used as a filling for pastry. It is an Aussie delicacy and as much a part of their heritage as boomerangs. It also looks and smells like something that one might find in an infant's diaper. I may have been desperately searching for vegetarian alternatives, but believe me when I say that I wasn't that desperate to eat.
- I didn't see a single dolphin or penguin. (Everybody please join together for a collective groan of dismay!) Yesterday here in Auckland, The Husband graciously offered to take me to the aquarium that specializes in Antarctic creatures and has a full breeding program dedicated to the Emperor Penguin. I graciously declined his offer for two reasons. Firstly, if we went to the aquarium I would forever be denied all whining rights associated with being able to claim that I came all the way down here and didn't see a single penguin. Secondly, I really wanted to view the creatures as they were meant to be viewed....free and happy in their natural habitats. That was my single greatest joy throughout this trip....catching purely candid glimpses of animals as they interacted with us on their own terms. If the dolphins and penguins chose not to visit me during my time here, I can deal with it.
- I didn't suffer from motion sickness. (By that I mean that I didn't puke. There were several instances of wooziness, but it all stayed within.) Yay me!! Of course I still have to endure three more flights, so there is still time! Travelling is so much more fun without the constant upheaval. Everybody cheer for 21st Century medicine.
- I didn't read a single newspaper; hard copy or online. I did see a couple of cable news channels like MSNBC, BBC, and Fox (Ugh!!) so I wasn't totally out of touch. We know about Netanyahu's election faceslap, Obama's inauguration, and the upcoming HarBowl. (thanks for that one Older Son!) But, I think that I now know what 95% of the world feels like being blissfully ignorant about world affairs. There is great peace in stupidity. The problem is that I am neither a peaceful nor a stupid person. It all begins again in earnest on Monday.
- I didn't shop all that much. T-shirts and trinkets.....and a didgeridoo! Sorry family. I love you all, but this is an expensive part of the world. Diet Cokes cost $3.50. I hope that you are satisfied with t-shirts and trinkets.
- I (we) didn't do all that much here in Auckland. It is a beautiful city that is surrounded on all sides by water. The people here nickname it the City of Sails because of the over-abundance of boats, but we were content to just walk around. There are hills a la San Francisco and traffic a la downtown anywhere. Ferries will take you to neighbouring islands for shopping or picnicing, or an easy to use transit system is at the ready to transport you throughout the city. It is the beginning a long summer weekend here, and the locals couldn't escape fast enough. We were just at our end. Tired and spent. Next time....Auckland deserves a do-over.