Porridge in an Arcade
8/5/12 - 8/5/12 19 °F
Auckland is a bit friendlier armed with an iPad, following 12 hours of sleep. Indeed. I turned the lights out at 8:30 p.m., thanks to the better part of a bottle of red, and turned them back on at about 8:00 a.m. this morning. Aaah. After a hot shower in a glass and chrome box The Auckland City Hotel calls a shower, I headed out to find a bank and the Vulcan Cafe.
A moment to mention the benefit of Internet access and an iPad. I spent some time before I left the states researching various apps for Carmelotta (yes, my iPad - did you expect anything less of a woman who names plants, cars and most other possessions), which were put to good use this a.m. Trip Advisor was a good choice to find a cafe for breakfast within a reasonable walking distance of my location, then I used a GPS locater app that allows you to download a map and directions to the iPad and still access it AFTER you're offline to find a bank within walking distance of the cafe. Off I went to find the Vulcan Cafe and a bank just a few minutes after 9:00. TSB Bank, on the corner of Wellesley and Queen streets, was the first stop. Whle the city was really not much friendlier than the hotel was, including the german teller at the foreign exchange window at TSB, I felt better about getting around armed with Carmellota and having a mission. Breakfast! I cashed the travelers cheques with little fanfare and managed to wrangle a minimal smile out of the smileless Rolfe before heading further up Queen Street in search of food. I stumbled on the cafe quite by accident. It was listed as being on Vulcan Street, but the only problem with that was that there are limited street signs and many of the "streets" are really just wide alleys for foot traffic only. There are also "arcades" which start as alleys but then go underground and seem to consist mostly of sundry retail shops like tailors, shoe repair places and second-hand stores. Those promised to be real treasures except that none of them were open at 9:30 a.m., and I had limited time. Damn, but my wallet is probably very grateful. The city was part NYC and part Sydney (from what I remember of it from long ago), and probably has more appeal than my less than friendly welcome and limited ability to explore indicated. But you know what they say about first impressions!
I saw a shop on the corner of one of the alley/streets and when I went to investigate, I was met with the mirror image of a sign for the Vulcan Cafe. It was almost directly behind me - whew. Ok, so Lady Auckland decided to cut me a break this morning. Thank you. I enjoyed a large, steaming Latte and a bowl of "porridge" on the brick sidewalk outside of the Vulcan. Yum. The porridge was a form of creamy oatmeal sprinkled with raisins, nuts and fruit. Really good.
That little respite allowed me to do some people watching and once I really paid attention, I was struck again with a feeling of time warp. I saw at least a dozen or more businessmen in pin-striped suits with super wide ties (yes, 80's style). Very English looking indeed. The ladies, even the businesswomen, wore tights or leggings and Ugg boots! Seriously. Fascinating. Equally as interesting was the fact that on just about every corner was a sushi bar and a pile of people waiting for their rolls. At 10:00 a.m.! Yuk!
I made my way back to the unfriendly hotel, checked out and managed to exit glass and steel without too much stress or anxiety. Still not well marked but this time Carmellotta was calling the shots and she knew what she was doing. Thank god for technology - although I'm sure I looked like a dork driving with my headphones on! Bye bye Lady Auckland.