Mandy and Jon's Journey 2005 travel blog

This is how they raise children in New Zealand. Simply shocking. Beer...

A rainbow over Lake Taupo. The most perfect one we've ever seen.

The Carmarket gang. From left: J, M, Reto & Claudia (from Switzerland),...

Pukeko. This one was not frightened, and in fact, rather frightening.

We thought this white bird was a good luck omen for selling...


Because our last days in New Zealand will be focused on selling Possum, our dear van, our adventures (or sought adventures) will be minimal. Everyday is an adventure, especially when you're far from home and the only home now is your van, but we have simply been en route to Auckland and the Backpacker's car market, after yet another wonderful stop off at the Prickle Patch to pay a visit to Paula, Jamie and the kids.

Just so everyone understands the hospitality that is offered to us by this kind family: upon arriving back at the Prickle Patch, Paula greets us with a cup of tea (of course) and says she was going to run a bath for us, but wasn't sure if we wanted a bath or a shower. Then she informs us that Jamie is cooking a big dinner for another couple friend of theirs and we will be having a dinner party for six.

Mind you, we have not showered in a couple days, and the van was gettin grungy, and our cooler (chilly bin) was smelling pretty nasty with the last odds and ends of food we had left over, so you can imagine how all this was sounding to us.

We ended up spending 2 nights at Paula and Jamie's (hard to leave!) visiting and playing with the kids, relaxing and getting the car ready for sale.

We said a sad farewell on Sunday, and headed out on the road to Auckland.

CURRENTLY:(May 31st)

we are in Auckland, trying to sell the van. If you know anyone who wants one, give them our email address. We'll be in Auckland spending our last days in New Zealand at the Backpacker's Car Market, East Street.

....

Perhaps it was the dirty cement floor, combined with the suffocating exhaust fumes and buzzing flourescent lights in place of natural sunlight, or maybe it was the fact that we all shared each other's frustration and desperate need to get rid of our rusty old vehicles that spurred the friendships we developed in the BackPacker's Car Market in Auckland. Had it not been for Vicky and Paul, Reto and Claudia, those 3 days would have been nearly unbearable. For them, the commaraderie of friends had carried them through nearly 6 days of carmarket hell, so we consider ourselves very fortunate to have only been there 3.

With winter tiptoeing itself onto the island, there were more than enough eager backpackers trying to unload their car or van onto the next phase of travelers, making it a buyers market, and a seller's nightmare. But everyone is determined to sell their bugger of a car no matter what it takes. For many, the money meant being able to continue their travels, or face going home on account of a lack of funds, for others it meant simply getting back the money they invested in the van only a few months prior, and feeling financially secure again in order to move on to the next adventure. Desperation certainly lingered in the air, and the only way to combat it, as well as the boredom and monotony was to stay positive, and enjoy the company of good friends. And that we did. And it paid off.

After countless hours of sitting in front of our tidy little van, awaiting any potential buyer to walk through the garage doors, we took an interested customer out for a test drive during the final hours of our third day. A fourth day at the market meant we would have had to pay for another 3 full days to retain our space, which we were reluctant to do. As luck would have it, Possum showed herself off quite well during the test drive, and after passing a mechanical inspection, we gleefully passed her on (for a small fee) to a nice English man named Ian. Relief. On the same day, our friends Reto and Claudia sold their van as well, after nearly 5 days at the market. Unfortunately Vicky and Paul were still there when we left (which is silly considering they had the nicest van in the whole place)... and we felt so sorry to leave them.

Van-less and with some change in our pockets and a gigantic weight lifted off our shoulders, we enjoyed our last night in Auckland preparing for our morning departure to Bangkok, and a bit of celebration with our new friends.

It is certainly strange, the places you find yourself meeting good people, and the circumstances that initiate good friendships. We hated to spend our last days in New Zealand in a cold depressing car garage, but find ourselves lucky to have met such kind people.

We had grand adventures in this beautiful country. Her natural beauties are endless, and the people that welcomed us into their homes will always be very dear to our hearts. We left spots untouched and unseen, only because we vow to be back.



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