For our last 2 nights in New Zealand we blissfully decided that our domicile of choice would be in Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand. They have something like a third of the population there resulting in acronym “JAFA” – Just Another Fucking Aucklander.
Really happy to be in a city and around civilization and normal modern conveniences for a change, I was especially excited when we arrived and it turned out that either Auckland is comprised entirely of Asians, or we were staying in a sort of pan-Asian town where Japanese, Korean and Chinese foods were abundant. I think anyone following this blog knows by now how happy Asian food makes me.
As soon as we checked into Fat Camel Hostel I did my usual scope out of the flyers and realized that there was a bar crawl that night for $10 including stops and drinks at 4 bars, and a shot at the bar in our hostel. I think anyone following this blog knows by now how happy alcohol makes me. We grabbed a quick bite to eat at a Japanese izakaya where I was beyond thrilled to have a very nice tako wasabi (raw octopus in wasabi sauce) and Japanese fried chicken. After scarfing down the food we rushed back to the hostel so we wouldn’t miss our bar crawl.
The host of the event was an awesome expat from Alabama who was a kind southern gentleman and slipped me a few extra drink tickets throughout the night. Clearly he knew the way to win my heart. He also introduced me to an Irish expat who told us that this was an excellent deal for a bar crawl and one of the most cost efficient ways to get drunk in Auckland. Rule of drinking: always trust an Irishman’s assessment of cost efficient drinking – this was looking to be a promising night. And while we didn’t meet any Kiwis, we did end up meeting the most American’s we had seen in any one place since the trip started, including two Americans who were ice robot makers in Antarctica (is that a real job, because that sounds awesome), one of which was a bit of a tequila enthusiast. Yikes. He did also tell me the most cost efficient way of getting to Antarctica…which I may or may not be trying in the future.
Aside from the good company, it was also entertaining to watch all the spring break type contests that included things like, suck the chocolate off a snickers bar from between some dudes legs, and hump each other until you pop a balloon attached to a girl’s ass. Oh to be young, drunk and stupid again. Fortunately none of these things had mandatory participation, and although they did have cool prizes (skydiving, bungee jumping, etc)…and I can pass for 21, I think at 27 years of age I’m a bit old to be engaging in these types of shenanigans. Instead I snuck off for a bit to…relax and check out views of the Auckland skytower – much more my pace. My only complaint about the bar crawl in general is, why the hell did every single bar we go to have to play the Macarena?
The next day I was awakened by the 24 hour, open air strip club next door’s sound system blaring every Whitney Houston song ever. (PS umm when do they clean a 24 hour strip club) I was semi-hungover, especially since I knew the night before that I should’ve made myself puke because the next day hangover was imminent. However, we had just started taking malaria pills in antici…….pation of SE Asia and at $350 for the prescription I didn’t want to risk throwing up and getting Malaria. See, even drunk I’m semi-responsible. Unless alcohol negates the effects of malaria pill then….shit.
Despite the hangover, I still wanted to go to the Auckland waterfront/fish market and try NZ’s famous Bluff oysters. Because nothing fights a hangover like eating raw oysters. I also got to eat some awesome smoked mussels (my favorite Kiwi dish) because, you know, those are also great for a hangover. After much searching and debating over price we finally purchased some of the infamous Bluff oysters and though they were fresh, they were also already shucked and in a plastic container. However, once we tried them, it was glorious! They were probably the plumpest, juiciest oysters I’ve ever eaten with a brine that was just perfect. Idk. Explaining the joy of oysters is really fucking difficult. Just know they were delicious.
After the market we wandered for a while, checked out the outdoor art exhibits, took some pictures and headed back to our hostel. Since I was still hungover (despite the hangover combatant of oysters, duh) I made a solo stop to get some soon do bu. Hungover or not, this was turning out to be a food heaven day. Smoked mussels. Juicy raw oysters. Soon do bu. How could things get better? Dinner at an Asian cafe whereI had lamb sticks that were essentially the $1 chicken/beef/lamb sticks with cumin that they sell on Main St. in Flushing. Food is my everything.