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Monday, January 2, 2012

Details, details, details

For some reason, power outlets around the world are not compatible.  So, when you travel out of the US, you need to have the right converters.  We have two sets of plugs with us, plus one converter that has multiple functions.  In Fiji, and again here in New Zealand, the plugs looks like this:

They also have an off/on switch on each plug.  Off:

And then in the On position:

It makes one wonder why there is so many different power configurations.  Does it go back to the Bible, like with the Tower of Babel and the whole language thing, sort of a Tower of Power Thing?  Annie likes the idea of turning off the power outlets when they are not in use, and plans to make a fortune from that when we get back to the states, using her high-level connections in the energy industry.

Another possible business opportunity while we're on the road is importing NBA jerseys and hats to New Zealand.  I've been completely surprised by how many people we've seen sporting a Celtics hat or a Lakers jersey on the streets of Auckland.  

Yes, it's a guy holding a rugby ball wearing a Kobe Bryant Jersey.  We've also seen some Cowboys NFL jerseys, along with the Raiders and Dolphins.  Thankfully, no terrible towels so far. I did spot one guy wearing a Reds hat, and I stopped him and told him we were from Cincinnati, but that didn't seem to resonate.  In fact, so far, no one we've spoken to about our hometown has any idea where it is.  Using Chicago as a reference point has helped, but Cincinnati appears to be safe as a well-kept secret here in New Zealand.  

While the people of Auckland seem to at least appreciate the sartorial splendor of NBA, MLB and NFL clothing, they appear to have absolutely no interest in the outcome of contests involving teams of those leagues.  We discovered that first-hand as we headed for a restaurant that we had scouted out earlier in the week, that said they might be showing NFL football mid-morning on Monday, as we hoped to catch the Bengals/Ravens game.  When I got up Monday morning, I got on a website that carries sporting events from around the world, and I watched the Jets go down to defeat to the Dolphins, the first in a series of dominoes that needed to tumble for the Bengals to make they playoffs should they lose to the Ravens.  The Jets/Dolphins feed was smooth and clear, so we tried to watch the beginning of the Bengals game online, only to find that the feed for that game was choppy and intermittent.  It was frustrating to see the play called, the snap taken, a pass thrown into the air downfield and have the picture freeze, leaving the outcome of that play in suspended animation.  At the two minute-warning of the first half, we hit the streets again and made the fifteen-minute walk to the spot we had found earlier in our treks around town.  Once we got there and grabbed a booth where they could give us an individual TV feed, we were told that they would be showing the Packers/Bears game at 2:20pm local time.  I kindly informed the server that unless they had a time machine, they would actually be showing the Giants/Cowboys game later in the day since the Green Bay Chicago game was on the previous Monday or Sunday.  (I'm starting to lose track of what day of the week it is, which isn't so bad actually.) So for the time being, they only thing we could do was watch the ESPN feed of a college basketball game, since ESPN was the only US sports network they could get.  

I kind of suspected that would be the case, but they did have free wi-fi, so we could at least try to follow the action online, even if that meant just watching the Yahoo updates refresh.
While they Bengals came up just short, the other playoff dominoes fell, as the Broncos and Raiders lost sending Andy Dalton and the gang to Houston for a re-match with the Texans this coming weekend.

The outcome put a little spring into my step as we headed for the Sky Tower.  As committed "travelers, not tourists" we try to avoid such locations, but it's the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, so we had to check it out.  The view from the top observation deck was impressive, stretching out 82 kilometers in every direction.
One thing we didn't do was spend the $255 NZ  per person to take the bungy jump off one of the observation decks.  The price didn't stop others from taking the plunge, financially and literally.  When they take the step off the deck, the supporting cord momentarily stops them at eye level at an observation deck one level lower, before taking the rest of the jump.

The Sky Tower also features a cafe/bar, but with a glass of wine costing $13.50 a glass, we got back on the lift, and descended back to street level.  

One of the interesting features of the streets of Auckland is the crosswalk system at intersections downtown.  Instead of just crossing going to the left or right, in some cases, you can cross diagonally as seen here from the Sky Tower:
Okay, it's kind of hard to see from that, but it's an interesting scene, one of many we've enjoyed so far, and look forward to seeing as we continue our adventure.



  2. Cincy Reds hats are one of the most popular hats right now because they are the hat of choice for Crips gang members.

    Proceed with caution.