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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Hike Up and Down Rangitoto Summit @ Rangitoto Island

This was yet another outdoor adventure for the girls, including the adults, during our stay in Auckland - a grueling  2-hour 45 minute hike up and down Rangitoto Island!

Sitting majestically just off the Auckland coast, Rangitoto Island is a 600-year old volcano. It boasts a unique landscape of rugged lava crops, lush native bush and sandy coves. We hiked to the summit for some spectacular 360 degree views of Auckland.

From the car park, we walked to the jetty to board a ferry.  We saw an animal activist volunteer and the kids pleaded with us to donate some money to help save animals from cruelty...

In the ferry, on our way to Rangitoto Island.  It was chilly in the morning and we were wishful that it would not rain as it rained every day ever since we arrived in Auckland.  Thank God, luck was with us and the day we went to Rangitoto, the weather was pretty kind to us- sunny and hot.  I wished it were cooler as we sweated quite a bit under the hot sun for almost 3 hours.

Before the hike...


The kids snacking in the ferry...

Our hot, long and gruelling hike up to Rangitoto Summit. Notice the black volcano rocks surrounding us...

The ferry was superbly clean unlike those in our country.  Healthy snacks and juices were sold inside the ferry.

Walking on black lava soil throughout the path up to Rangitoto Summit.  The reddish stuff on the ground are flowers from the New Zealand Christmas trees that grow wildly in the jungle.  It was very hot and the puteri lilin you see here had to use an umbrella *coughs*

Beautiful flowers from the New Zealand Christmas tree...

After an hour of hike, our prize was the breathtaking view of Auckland...

We could see the city of Auckland opposite us...

From the Rangitoto Summit, the kids were ambitious enough to venture out further to the Rangitoto Lava Cave. And we had to take another 20-minute hike down a steep ravine to the cave.  When we were at the entrance of the cave, the kids were raring to crawl inside the cave to check out what's inside!  I stayed outside with Sarah just in case...

After our 2-hour 45 minute hike up and down Rangitoto Summit, we were all exhausted. Alycia had to change into her shorts as her jeans had blood stains from her fall.  Cass had a fall too and had cuts and grazes on her chest, tummy, palm, knees and arms.  But my girls are tough soldiers and they did not shed a drop of tear!  Sherilyn  had to use my umbrella to support her hike down the hill and she broke the umbrella. As expected la, from the Drama Queen.

More snacking on our ferry ride back to Auckland...

Once back in Auckland, we walked to a nearly mall and had sushi for lunch...

Then had Movenpick ice cream to cool ourselves down...

Friday, December 26, 2014

Tooth Fairy Does Exist!!

Today must be Cass' lucky day. Today is the day that she can finally tell all her friends that a tooth fairy indeed exist... in broad daylight!

This morning we went to a coffee shop for breakfast. While waiting for a group of senior citizens to leave the table so that we could have that table, an old man in this coffee shop saw Cass and stroked her cheek and commented that she is cute. I have seen this man several times in the past somewhere in the neighborhood. I was across the table and could not hear the conversation between the old man and Cass. About half a minute later, the old man shoved his hand into his trousers pocket and took out a RM100 note. I saw him happily mumbling something to Cass and Cass looked shy. She looked at me, as if trying to get an approval from me. She knows that she is not supposed to talk to strangers. I walked over to the old man and was shocked to see him put the RM100 note onto Cass' hand. I asked him in Cantonese "why are you giving money to her?!" And his cheery reply in Cantonese was "because she called me "uncle" ma". Before I could say NO to him and pass back the RM100 note to him, he quickly walked away and 'vanished' into the crowded coffee shop! I was just too stunned to even chase after him. Everyone of us was floored.   Just like a fairy godfather who came and slowly faded away in a mist, like in a fairy tale movie!

Some si lai seated at the next table were watching our short drama and I heard them saying in Cantonese "Wah, really 'seng tang loa yan' (Santa Claus) in real life, give away money like that!"

A few minutes later when Cass was eating her bowl of noodles, her shaky tooth came off!  She took out her bloody tooth from the corner of her mouth and said "mummy, that man is a tooth fairy!".  All of us were in disbelief that a real life tooth fairy came to give her RM100 for her tooth!

When I finally came to my senses, I realized that what had just happened is wrong.  The fact that Cass accepted money from a total stranger with me not objecting to it is just so wrong. I am sending the wrong message to her that it is ok to accept money from strangers.  There are too many sick perverts out there who are preying on naive kids like Cass.  I kept telling her over and over again that she should never accept money again from strangers and told her stories of how kids get lured, trapped and never get to see their parents again all because of accepting things from strangers.  I guess a human's instinctive reaction to money (especially if the amount is HUGE!$!) given right in front of us is to accept it first.
To Cass, she still thinks that the old man is a real life tooth fairy as he came at such an unbelievable and impeccable timing!

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth. How very apt this song is for Cass on our Boxing Day!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Holiday In Auckland - 17 December 2014

After dinner at home yesterday, the adults went to Sylvia Park for shopping.  One of my SILs and BIL stayed home to babysit the 5 kiddos.

I managed to grab some tees that were on sale at Pumpkin Patch and T&T for Alycia and Sherilyn.

After shopping for the kids, hubs and I went to Park N Save to get some groceries and a cartful of chocolates!   Whittaker's chocolates are pretty cheap in NZ and this is our third (or was it fourth?) round shopping for Whittakers!

Whittaker's is the biggest chocolate brand in New Zealand, in front of Cadbury.

This is just part of the loot.  Later hubs spotted more chocolates and added them into the cart! I think these chocolates will be perfect gifts for family members and friends from our holiday in NZ.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Auckland Trip - Day 8 (17 December 2014)

We had planned to bring the girls to the Butterfly Creek today but darn it, it has been yet another wet and chilly day today.  So plan B came into place - indoor activity... and off we went to the skating rink.

It was Cass' first ever ice skating experience.

The drama queen is pretty good in this.  In her second attempt today, she managed to skate independently, without the aid of a brace!

After ice skating, we had Chinese noodles takeaway before crossing over to Burger Fuel.  As I had said before, nothing makes the man happier than food!

Anyone visiting New Zealand should try L&P or Lemon & Paeroa,  L&P is a sweet soft drink manufactured in New Zealand. Traditionally made by combining lemon juice with carbonated mineral water from the town of Paeroa, it is now manufactured by multi-national Coca-Cola.


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Random Pictures In Auckland (14 & 15 December 2014)

Homebound on Sunday as it was drizzling the whole day.  So the kids played Monopoly and other board games.  It has been wet and cold here in Auckland almost daily.  Temperature is about 11-20 degrees Celsius.

Lunch at home on Sunday.  SILs cooked.

On Sunday evening, we went to cousin A's aerobic gymnastics concert.  It was another eye-opening experience for the girls.  The senior performers are national gymnasts and danced really really well.

Yesterday (Monday), the kids played soccer, roller-skating, scooter and hill climbing at Barry Curtis Park.  After burning off loads of calories climbing up the hills, hubs brought them to dig into some sushi at Bruce Lee's Sushi.

The dog lover in me just cannot help patting those super cute doggies and snapping pix of them!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Random Pictures Taken In Auckland On 12 & 13 December 2014

12 Dec 2014.  Cornwall Park.  New Zealanders are dog lovers.  You see doting pet owners walking their dogs everywhere - from the park to the market.  We could not resist playing with and patting this friendly Golden Retriever at Cornwall Park.

Lush greenery at Cornwall Park.  The air is crisp, cool and fresh, just the way I like it!

12 December 2014 - At  Barry Curtis Park.  Cass and cousin L.

Pretty daisies are seen sprouting everywhere in Auckland.  My flower loving Cass just could not resist plucking some to bring them home.

Doting aunt S (from Hawaii) with her nieces and nephew.

The girls (and even I!) were so excited when we saw some swans swimming in the lake along with some Mandarin ducks!

The girls playing soccer with their soccer loving cousin, L.  Can you spot me playing as well? ;)

The kids conk out within seconds every nite after a day's of play everyday. They find sleeping in sleeping bags a novelty and prefer sleeping on the floor inside the sleeping bag vs. on the bed.