I received a request from my most loyal and enthusiastic reader (hi Mom!) to update my blog more frequently in the interest of keeping her from worrying too much when I'm on the other side of the Earth, so this post marks the beginning of my serious attempt to comply.
|Downtown Auckland and the harbor in which I'll be swimming in next week's race|
From the time I left the house in Columbus until the time I got to the place in which I'm staying in Auckland, it was about 29 hours with layovers in two cities. So that was fun. Actually, for international travel, the process was fairly painless. I had a little assistance from the Lunesta gods (best choice I've made in a while), got some sleep on my overseas flight, and all my luggage made it to Auckland. That counts as a win in my book.
So far, I'm digging New Zealand. Auckland is a clean and beautiful harbor city that reminds me a bit of the Pacific Northwest, except with better plants, more sun, and cooler accents. I'm staying with my friend Adam, who has lived in New Zealand for about two years now, and his girlfriend, Pip, who's a native. Yesterday Adam took the day off work to show me around the hood (they live in a suburb about 15-20 minutes outside the center of the city) and downtown Auckland.
|They're getting ready for the race|
|Takapuna Beach, where we did our swim|
And really, I have been incredibly lucky for months. Since I became essentially homeless in late July, there has been a long series of amazing friends who have taken me into their homes, allowed me to disrupt their routines and their lives, treated me like family and made me feel comfortable and welcome. Some of them are reading, some are not, but I hope they all realize how much it means to me. I said in my last post that I wasn't big on New Years' resolutions, but I think one of my late-blooming goals for 2013 is to somehow figure out a way to be as generous to others as so many people have been towards me. I've got big shoes to fill.
Anyway. Back to New Zealand. Of course it only took a day-and-a-half here for me to do something totally dumb that put me in harm's way (don't worry, Mom, this isn't that bad). I've known with travel that there are going to be perilous situations along the way. I have no sense of direction, so of course, I'm going to get lost a lot. Naturally, in strange lands, I'm going to struggle with language things. Flights will get cancelled, accommodations will be different than expected, luggage will get lost. None of this is that unexpected. They're expected perils, if you will, and I've always got some sort of backup plan.
But, in all my planning, I never really thought through how I would handle it when I became trapped in quicksand.
Here's the scene:
|This is about a 5 minute walk from where I'm staying|
I went to a local park today to lay in the sun for a while, and that water looked awfully inviting. Adam told me he'd done some open-water swimming in that area, so I grabbed my cap and goggles and headed down to the water for a quick little swim.
Eventually I got to the water, was able to swim along the shore to a more stable area where the quicksand looked less wet. Walking back in, I only sank to my knees. Much better.
|Only knee-deep on the way back in|