Lou and I finally have a flat.
I'm sad to leave The Brown Kiwi: the cameraderie was endearing, the host hilarious, the experience memorable. But this trip is all about what happens after Auckland, and for that we need money. So with the Brown Kiwi's double room costing us the equivalent of a return ticket to Western Samoa evey week, despite Nils gracious discount, we decided to move out into cheaper digs.
Conversely, and fortunately, over here cheap accommodation does not mean having to live underneath a railway arch with an itenirant jazz musician called Keith. Rather, rental prices are around 40% cheaper than hostels, and $200 a week has secured us a room in an apartment 15 minutes from town with bed, dishwasher and TV. Three of my key requirements.
Admittedly, it wasn't the first place we looked at. A trawl through some accommodation websites revealed that we weren't in the most favourable of positions - a non-smoking couple requiring a flat for only 8 weeks - especially considering the online adverts were very specific about the type of housemate required, some stating: must be smoker, must like cats and, my favourite, must be quiet.
Our first viewing was a place just off Ponsonby road which could only be described as a cross between Northampton Polytechnic student accommodation and an inner-city "housing project" for single mothers with learning difficulties. There's something very disturbing about a "TV room" consisting of four walls of powdery, unpainted breezeblock, together with 3 plastic school chairs pointed at a flickering screen.
Our second viewing was of house in Grey Lynn, and whilst the accommodation was fine, Lou and I both agreed the woman who already lived there, Camilla Ribena-Faqhuar-Camembert-Bibblington-Breadbin, was annoyingly wiffy-waffy and would have probably required throttling at some point.
And so finally to our current location just off the Great North Road. Initially, the signs weren't good: bottom of a hill, bright tangerine-coloured building, above a garage. But upon opening the door we were pleasantly surprised: spacious, clean and apparently new. The couple who already live there seem fine, and as a result of pushing two single beds together, we now have a "double" bed the size of a tennis court.
I am avoiding the obvious joke about "Love All"
Or "New Balls Please"