Day 35: With Aeron (pronounced Erin) around Auckland

Weather:  cool and mostly sunny, with a few brief, gentle showers
Highlight of the day:   Seeing Aeron, seeing Shai, Devonport, beach, Thai food!

We woke fairly early but enjoyed the feeling of being able to lounge in bed rather than hop straight out.  Aeron met us downstairs in our hotel, and then we were all off to Mecca in Viaduct Harbour for breakfast.  Fantastic food and coffee!  Started catching up with Aeron between bites and Disa was even able to pet a standard Schnauzer.

Aeron then drove us back to her lovely house so we could pick up Shai to come with us!  Yeah!  Shai’s a bit mellower then when Disa met her a few years ago, but she still did a bit of a dance around the living room when we arrived.

Off we went to Devonport, where we walked along the water, chatted, looked in shops, and generally did Shai’s bidding (we must stop and sniff HERE – we must now RUSH to the next great smell).  It was lovely walking with a dog again!  Upon leaving Devonport, we introduced Aeron to the wonder world of geocaching!  I think Shai quite liked it (it meant another walk and more interesting smells!).  One more geocache, lunch, then we were on our way to the west coast for a walk on the beach.  It was a beautiful beach of black sand (so black it looked blue in patches), and Shai had a lovely time running around, sampling kelp, and doing dog things.

We attempted two more geocaches on the drive back to Auckland, and the second one we unfortunately not only didn’t find but wound up quite muddy as a bonus!  So we went back to Aeron’s house so she could feed the livestock and change clothes, then we went back to the hotel so we could get cleaned up and Aeron could see some of our trip photos.  Then we went off to hunt down dinner and found ourselves at Mai Thai, a fantastic Thai restaurant in Auckland’s CBD.  It was perfect from the moment we arrived – the décor a great balance between Thai and elegant western furnishings, which gave it a rather colonial feel – the staff were friendly and efficient – and the menu was as thick as a novel.  Aeron chose a nice bottle of red, and the food was just scrumptious.  We ate and laughed until we could eat no more, then made the cold trek back to our hotel where we said good-bye to Aeron and thanked her for giving us such a great day of her company while tripping around Auckland!

Scott’s Comment
Disa is being kind when she says that we wound up quite muddy.  What actually happened was that Disa & Aeron got muddy boots and I executed a spectacular slide & partial recovery (ie. I fell but stopped  myself  from complete immersion in the mud by judicious use of my hands & knees) resulting in mud covered joggers, jeans & jacket cuffs.  This in turn resulted in delays going through customs in Australia the next day while the officer soaked my joggers & clothing in chemical Kiwi germ killer.