Sunday October 15th I briefly explored Rangitoto Island, and
enjoyed a walk to the summit of this young (600 years) volcano. I
don't expect to do much more "touring" in NZ, as I have a full work
week through Friday. I will have a few hours the morning of Saturday the
21st before boarding my return flight - that may be the day for the SkyTower.
Of general interest: One of the most difficult adjustments
is to figure out which direction you need to look as a pedestrian. This
might be a relatively simple matter if you were in a city where the streets have
regular geometry. Auckland is anything but - with curved and angled
intersections in abundance, making it a real challenge to figure out the traffic
pattern. I have tended to follow the "critical mass" rule,
similar to how we survived New York City - if enough other pedestrians are
already charging the intersection, your chances of being singled out by a
car are pretty low. This does, however, fly in the face of that parental
query we all grew up with: "If your friends all jumped off a cliff,
would you go with them?" In this case, I guess the answer is
Second item of general interest: If you're in a country
where you drive on the left-hand side of the road, what would you expect the
pedestrian convention to be? I've struggled with this, too, assuming that
I should be walking on the left. I don't see a strong preference by
pedestrians for one side or the other, and I sense I am doing a greater amount
of zig-zagging to find the right path when walking on crowded streets.
Final item of general interest: 240 volt power has some
interesting benefits. I'll have to do some research on the reasons for and
advantages of each of the common voltage standards. In the pictures
below, you'll have the pleasure of reading my discussion of one particular
benefit of 240 volt power in the kitchen of my hotel unit.
|I promised a picture of the "Lee
Jeans" billboard. At home, I'd expect to see this kind of image
in Maxim magazine rather than hanging on a downtown billboard. Which
is not to say that I was offended - I walked all the way back to this
place to get a picture of it! It certainly piqued my interest in Lee
||Here's another example of a billboard that
would probably be considered too "racy" for home. There is
a series of these billboards, with similar double entendres, and the guy
has the same expression on his face in all of them.
||When the skies clear and the sun comes out,
the Auckland harbor takes on beautiful colors. I have a
"thing" for keeping horizons horizontal (that is, after all, why
they're called "horizons"). To get these pictures from my
18th floor hotel balcony, I keep one hand anchored to the sliding door,
and put my other arm out as far as it will go and hope for the best.
That's my excuse.
||This is a picture of Rangitoto Island from my
hotel. The summit is my objective for Sunday.
|Egads - The US can no longer export
manufactured goods (because we import them all from China), but we can
export shopping mall technology! Doesn't every US city have a
||Ha! Who needs a SkyTower, when you have
a Space Needle that's recognizable around the world? The
"Seattle" coffeeshop on the Auckland waterfront.
||Departing by ferry for Rangitoto, gray skies
hang over Auckland. The commercial (mostly container) port
facilities on the left blend more or less seamlessly with the passenger
and tourist facilities on the right of this picture.
||The tall white building just to the left of
the Hyatt is where I'm staying. The 18th floor is fifth from the
|A view of Rangitoto summit as our ferry
||The US measures distance in miles, everybody
else in the world measures distance in kilometres. Except New
Zealand, where distances are apparently measured in time! All of the
signs on the trail were marked this way, undoubtedly to put a quick answer
to the perennial question "how much further?"
||Unsettled marine weather hangs over Auckland
City in this view from the top.
||A long-lens picture of Auckland City and the
SkyTower from Rangitoto.
|A long-lens look back at the ferry dock from
the summit. Look carefully and you can see the numerous volcanic
||Weather was changing rapidly - you can see a
squall moving to the left of the city, while sunlight peeks through on the
||Brief glimpses in bright sunlight.
|| More views from the top.
|The track (trail) was wide and flat -
definitely a high-capacity footpath.
||This, I believe, is Boulder Bay on the
"back" side of the Island..
||Typical volcanic rock.
||These guys came right up to me and, as you
can see, stared me down. I assume they were waiting for food.
I expected the guy on the left to say "AFLAC"!!!!
|If you don't want to make the hour-long climb
to the summit, you can take this tram most of the way.
Fortunately, the tram does not run on the foot trail - it takes a separate
roundabout approach. Nice tractor!
||I thought Nokia made cellphones!
||Looking back to the summit as a kayaker
||There were several of these small cabins
right along the volcanic shoreline. I expected Rachel Ward to pop out at
any time. If you don't "get" that reference, you probably
are also too young to remember Dr. Kildare.
||The green-covered volcanic islands are
reminiscent of the vegetation on Kauai.
||Our catamaran ferry is returning to pick us
up. The ferry service to all points out of Auckland harbor is operated by private
||The "City of Sails" deserves its
|Four boats in a race, just rounding the
||The Auckland Ferry Terminal looks like a
||A teapot in my hotel room. Just like
any other teapot? The answer lies in your high school physics. A
watt is a measure of power - more watts heats water (or air) faster.
And watts is equal to the applied voltage multiplied by the current in
amps. Or as your physics book put it, P (power) = I (current) x E
||This kettle easily and instantly separates
mechanically and electrically from its base, has a completely
concealed heating element, and boils water quicker than anything
I've seen (including a microwave!) This kettle heats water using
2400 watts of power. That's a LOT of electric power!