Holy smokes, I Live in New Zealand.


The Shopping Weekend (Or, “How I Got Hoodwinked by a Barber”).
November 4, 2007, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Actual Travelling | Tags: , , , , , ,

Happy one month anniversary of me being settled in Auckland, dear readers.

That’s how long I have been here in my glorified hotel room. Add one week for being in Auckland, plus one additional month for that holiday I took in Vancouver on the way down here. I decided to celebrate by doing the most typical back home thing I could think of – I went to the mall on Saturday.

However, I first had to get through Friday. Not that it was an achievement in of itself, but it was more that I finally broke down and arranged for a haircut. I was referring to it as a “shearing” which got some chuckles at the office, but nothing more. I decided to go to my boss’ place, since it’s easier than being adventurous and ending up with something you don’t like and having nobody to pin it on. Seemed easy enough: send text message to barber, agree on a time, and there you go.

I walk into the barber shop at 8 AM and announce that I have an appointment with Ati, my boss’ Turkish hairstylist. The lone man in the shop looks at his timetable and asks “Are you sure you booked an appointment?”

I confirmed with my usual “Ummm, yeah?” and hopped into the chair, immediately suspicious about something about this man and this shop.

The course of the haircut was uneventful, with a relatively decent output that still feels somewhat North American in shape and style. I was easing into things when a young fellow pops his head in the shop door and asks “Gary, do you have any times left today?”

Huh? Gary? I’m halfway through the cutting so there is no turning back, but how does a person so seamlessly function between two names? I actually called him on it at the end of the appointment.

“So, is Ati a nickname or something?”

“I go by two names.”

I took a business card and went back to work. After some prodding from my boss about one of Ati’s cutting techniques – running a lighter next to one’s ears to take care of ear hair – I mentioned that, no, it did not happen and I wasn’t sure if I had even gone to the right store.

The end of this story is that, no, I indeed had gone to the wrong barber shop (the correct one being the one across the street that I didn’t even know existed) and Gary just went along with my ignorance. I was hoodwinked. Second-worst to that fact is that it cost only slightly less, after conversion, than what I paid for my foo foo salon cuts back home.

haircut 002

Obviously, the best way to forget about this was to punish those brain cells with death. I decided to give going out to the bar alone another shot, in an attempt to try and meet people there – because that has worked sooooo well for me over the last three years. Actually, what was really funny is that these two very drunk Kiwi blokes stumble up to me and say “Check out the girl in front of the (big screen) teevee over there. See her? In a minute, she’s going to spin around in a circle. Wait for it…wait for it!”

Sure enough, no more than a minute later she ditches the guy she is hitting up for her next drink, walks halfway around the bar to another crowd, then heads back to the table in front of where we are now standing, still drinkless with a lot of night left. Amazing perception! We end up ditching the bar and cabbing it back to their house, seven kilometres away from where I live. Unfortunately, there was no real party going on so after a few more pops at a strangers’ house in Auckland, I went home. So a partial victory on that front.

Saturday. One of my coworkers (a local who hasn’t lived here for years) and I went to the Sylvia Park Shopping Centre on Saturday. The goal was just to see what was there, and if any deals were available. After cooking up some delicious sausages from the Farmer’s Market and drinking the Powerade I was given after the race last weekend, we hopped on the train and hit the mall. As you know my shopping habits, there weren’t any real deals to speak of along my lines of shopping. Plenty of identical-looking Polo shirts and faux-vintage print tees, with and overperky 17-year-old clerks asking how your day is going while folding overpriced jeans in every other storefront. We had McDonald’s for lunch. I mean, had I not gone I would have been really disappointed in myself. For the good company and the travel aspect alone, it was $7.60 return (train fare) well worth it.

I followed that up with a pop-in to three designer clothing stores located across the street from my apartment. I’ve passed the shops five times a week, every week, for five weeks. The clothing was fantastic, locally-made – a dream come true. And it could be yours, too, for a mere $270 NZ. Ouch. I found that to be really disappointing. The third shop is an urbain Ikea-accessories clone store. I bought a super-cool map of the world mug for $45. I had to buy something on Saturday. You can see it in the picture above.

As for Sunday, I had a terrific sleep-in to recover from all my urban hijinks. I phoned home around Noon (the first thing I actually did all day), ate every leftover in my fridge that didn’t spoil with the fridge malfunction (long story) and went out to the music and secondhand shops here in Central. I completed my CD buying binge (eight CDs) but still remain NZ-clothlesless. That’ll change as soon as I can get to Parnell on a Saturday again. I made two trips to the grocery store, but forgot to get apples both times. Looks like I’m making an early AM run there tomorrow. I finished off with another pizza from my favourite pizza joint with South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut playing on the telly.

All in all, a wonderful urban adventure without a single act of significant act of exercise. That’s what 5:45 AM tomorrow shall be for.

(Note: I’ve added another apartment view shot. You can see my updated apartment photo album here.)

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

That’s quite the adventure…..nice haircut as well !!!!

Comment by Blacksheep

Love the night shot – wow!

Comment by puppydog




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