Auckland

Auckland is awkward. 

a whole city where nobody knows what to do with their hands
Our story begins three years ago, on the third day of January 2016. A younger me wandered into a steam room seeking warmth after only one day in the Ice hotel. At last, isolation, warmth, and peace. I needed this.

...My solitude ended minutes later when a blurry figure came stammering in through the steam. Without introduction the mysterious gentlemen began questioning me as I peered hopelessly into the steam to see him.

Man: Where you from? 
Me: America
Man: what brings you here?
Me to Me: tf? to the ice hotel in the middle of the Arctic Circle?
Me: uh, vacation.
Man: with friends or family here?
Me: friends
Man: what’s your favorite food?
Me: (annoyed) I LOVE Bacon. And it’s been hard to find good bacon lately.
...
Man: oh, really?...*serious tone* The best bacon IN THE WORLD comes from New Zealand. [goes on rant about general health of the livestock, width of bacon, how great the land is for animals, etc].
Me: Thank you. 🙃

Actor Portrayal 
I never saw his face, he left soon after our exchange. It was as though he was part of some kind of bacon Illuminati, spreading the word on to worthy travelers willing to speak their bacon love. Not a moment passed from that day where I wondered if my bacon was sub-par. You travel the world and the 7 seas, everybody’s looking for something....
Tell it Annie! 
Then it dawned on me....What other reason do I have to go to New Zealand? Luckily, I know one human who hails from the north island..a good chance to experience a glimpse of his world...

Me: Auc...
Him: Auckland -  “it’s a shit city”. 

*Turns to music*. Lorde! She comes from Auckland....surely she sung tales of its beauty
The tale
Okay, not pretty but can run things...I have that to look forward to! #WeRunThisMotha (?) ha. ha. Auckland can't be THAT bad.....

Touché Auckland. 
Macabre
My first day wandering Auckland also brought me into a climate change protest in the park near my Aribnb.  I finally had my chance to stand with the chilren and protest all this pollution, air travel, and wasteful lifestyles.....YOU Greta Work!



 While Greta did not make an appearance, her interviews could be heard as a soundtrack to the cheers of the crowd that gathered to celebrate being green...all their spray painted signs and boards, even a few costumes. Shops nearby closed in honor of the movement, which showed a great deal of cohesion in the community.

Was this it? Is this how they run things? They sure do know how. 

    
Not very pretty tho. I see it. 
                        
We tried. We are only 4 million people. 

The landscape is excellent! Everywhere was a lush green oasis of rolling hills with houses tucked in along the sides. Everybody recommended I go to Maungawhau (Mount Eden).
WE NEED MORE PEDESTALS 

 
Much of the art seemed random. Looked really cool though.
        
flours
Don't be frightened, young man. My bark is worse than my bite.
Finally had a chance to hike when the weather cleared from rain. Mount Eden is not too far of a walk from the downtown area. There are tons of paths around the old volcano  - I elected to take the longest winding path up. At 650ft (198m), the mount is not particularly tall, yet is steep.


          
Bottom                                                       Top   

 The views from the top are picturesque no matter where you look.

Okay, tis pretty. Lorde was wrong.

With all the sprawling expanse of grass along the volcanoes sides, you couldn’t resist the urge to roll down the mini hills.  

Seriously, some beds are not even as comfortable as the thick grass. Nothing should be this perfect, felt right out of a commercial for antidepressants or the sound of music...I rolled around smiling all day (people probably assumed meds were involved).

                                   

The Mount Eden parks are lovely, tons of nature to enjoy. 
 
Saved Bella. 

I ended my day sampling the gay scene in Auckland, which is unique as far as gay scenes go. Or maybe it’s normal.  You spend too much time in the SoCal gay scene and anybody without a shaved body, bleached hair, and a six pack looks out of place at a gay bar.  All of the elements I expected were there but toned down, even this kind/sassy google review for the bar and the karaoke:

Pete runs things.


I can’t say I loved all the food here. One notable exception is a Japanese restaurant called Tanuki - named for this Japanese legend with massive balls: 
Yes. 
 That food was incrediballs...


FooD! duh! Tomorrow came the moment I’d been eating for. unleash the bacon slut. 


BACON:

Much time had passed since the steam room incident...

[Sing it]... are in 1,365 dayssssss 

.
.
.
Seriously, I am not obsessed.
    ...until this world comes to an end.
I purchased two types of bacon for this experience.  Traditional strips and much wider pieces that had been spoken of.
                                                                         
  The strips were to be oven baked, while the wider pieces pan fried. 20 min later, life was never going to be the same again.

how it felt. (FUCK ME UP)  

how it looked
I could not stop myself from eating, this was all that remained by the time I remembered I was documenting this occasion. Tranced out, this bacon is fuckin magical. 

Honestly, I’ve tried bacon in many forms all over the world and countless spots across the US.  Hell, I grew up close enough to Amish country to have OG grass-fed farm to table everything. It was all a LIE.  I wept over my former self, for I had not known.


             For anyone who loves bacon, New Zealand is your Mecca. 
 v offensive
 Overall, the greatest aspect of this city were the people, they’re delightfully awkward and sure know. how to: run. Things
                                            These people are weird. I loved it. 
Boots, Jeggings, Dress, Jacket, Hoodie, Backpack..its called fashion sweetie....and it trends.....


and seemingly for the sake of nonsense.....

That one Gwen Stefani fan who knows what the shit is.


IF you can't enjoy this city in the daytime, remember, turning off the lights always helps
                                         

Its off to Melbourne again for Sex In The City 2. 

.
.
.
.

 Is it really the best?

There wasn’t much else to my short week trip, most of the time was spent adjusting to jet lag before Melbourne. A plan to see the hobbit set and some glow worms got rained out, I'd love to to hop over again to get my Baggins on. Those components would have made for a less shit vacation and less shit post, but what can you do, vibes are vibes. <3


What the fuck are perfect places, anyway? 

Melbourne

Sex In The City: Mel-Born to Die




My only two Australian dreams were to see kangaroos and be driving on the "wrong" side of the road: Dream bigger, Chris.... literally accomplished both of those things leaving the airport. FUCK! there was a massive field of kangaroos  hanging out like cows and horses in the Midwest US. Was it time to turn around and go home? Had my dreams for this country been too unimaginative? Could this be an opportunity to parody and over use my favorite meme/show?



*cue fade into Sex In The City parody*


 My alter ego
We met our heroine Setdown Bradshoe with Señor Grande at an appropriately trendy bar called Naked for Satan. The bar didn’t actually allow for nudity, though was playing host to some stag parties, making for great people watching. Nothing like a flock of drunk hetero dudes dressed as nurses following around Ali G.




While chatting Señor gave me his run down on Melbourne. He said it's interesting (NOT REALLY, BECAUSE THIS IS HAPPENS IN EVERY BIG CITY) in that you have the most povo people living next to the most posh. The houses are mishmashes of historic looking row-homes and modern skyscrapers. Overall, my perception is Melbourne is not unlike NYC or LA, yet is not as filthy, congested, or cramped....only less going on.

Carlton Gardens aka "Central Park"
Next on my list?  Melbourne Museum (creative name). Easy to adore the exhibits, hella friendly staff, and the building itself was a work of Art. They did a fantastic job at showcasing Australian history under one roof. Beyond this, you can stumble right into the royal exhibition and a really pretty park.(I strolled about the “Central Park” serving my best Bradshoe lewks)

Everyday is runway

         This made me want calamari


"Smile for the camera beautiful" - Literally Nobody

...yes, you ca tell by the obnoxious colors those are my gals- Sharlet, Samanthuh and Mirandah

Here we see Samanthuh next to the only thing wetter than her in this park
I elected to skip the royal exhibition and instead ended up in a library...Some of us just like to read..
                               

The library was neato. I found myself amongst all of histories greatest works, and so I wondered....is smelling all of these great pieces of literature as impacting as reading them?  (Also what makes the “book” smell?)


didn’t actually touch many of those leather bound beauties, I was amped up on pre-workout and had no patience to sit still long enough to soak up a story. Instead I took in the serenity that comes from watching hundreds of people sitting quietly...moving only to find more books. You'd think the monsters from A Quiet Place were the librarians.

It’s spring time in Australia, the temps were cold enough that shorts were just not an option, and that’s literally all I packed (Living in Hawaii means I do not own pants). What’s a girl to do? Onward to ....THE MALL. Well, a mall. Melbourne Central (again, creative names): so-so shopping center  with an old bullet making tower in it, which is very tits. The shopping was limited, but this location has blocks of stores and stores and stores with ramen and more stores.
Lookin like a big ol brick dick in a glass con-dome.

I was cool with all these stores and ramen. I popped into the closest lululemon to show off my aloha branded “honolululemon”, and scope out any AU specific designs...*sigh* none. It's Bradshoes job to leave a bit of aspirational fashion sense behind and move on.


Living in Hawaii has exposed me to a ton of Australian tourists:  when they saw on IG that I was bopping around their home, I was swarmed with messages on ideas for things to see and places to go. Ya damn right I’m gonna follow all these leads! Next up, The Shrine of Remembrance: a monumental way to honor those who have fallen in battle. *I'm not crying, you’re crying*. Seriously, I can never go to these things and not take on the role of weeping like a widow of the fallen.






On my way to that shrine, an absolutely massive banner for the National Gallery of Victoria was promoting an exhibition for Terracotta Warriors! As a reporter that I am not, I have done like 6 different research projects on those warriors and this was my first chance to see them in person - I went for it right from the shrine! The size of the exhibit left me underwhelmed, even though it was complex, but thanks to Snapchat I got some super cute pics:

     

Here's me posing next to the fuckboy who told me he would change.


That entirely satisfactory bitch of a day ended with me singing Funky Cold Medina with some Greek lady working at GoodysBurger. She slayed it. Was this my new gal pal? No, she lacked that stable Mirandah energy that is missing from my life. 
An outfit as stylish as these buildings.
Back at my apartment that night I struggled greatly with trying to figure out how the oven worked...seriously...I had basically sent out an SOS on my IG and was helped along by one very domesticated hero I know only as Ibuffy_.


The next day was much the same. Took a walk in St Kilda. for botanical gardens and to the beach to freeze myself in the water, because bitches love beaches. Then had a super cute lunch with myself at  Pontoon, which is a tasty waterfront kind of place.

 


The water was fuckin coooooooold!
Later I would get a message from Señor Grande about “an immersive theater experience in homage to Edgar Allen Poe being held in a 36 room abandoned warehouse”. Whuat!? *picture of a demon king in ballpit* ...sold! 




This experience was called A Midnight Visit, and cool as hell doesn’t even begin to describe it. We started off with drinks while we waited then basically you choose your own adventure as you wander through this maze of rooms. You can happen into a room that’s empty and two seconds later is flooded with actors dressed in period correct costumes playing guitars, giving poetry realness, and singing randomly...or it would just be an empty room. The excitement of not knowing what was coming was all part of the charm. We had a kick ass time in the ball pit, crawled through some tunnels, I watched Señor Grande get involved in a semi sexual game of Simon says with Edgar Allen Poe and then ended up in a big ass sandbox where I found me some booty - in the pirate kind of way. The whole thing ends in a ballroom where all the actors come together and sing Lovefool by the Cardigans. If I had one phrase to described what it was like watching them sing "love me, love me, say that you love me" while hauling good ol Egadr off in a coffin amidst blasts from confetti cannons... Fuckin mint.

          

The next day was just as awesome. I checked out the royal botanical gardens, and then met Señor Grande for a mysterious show on the waterfront of the Crowne Casino. He would not tell me anything about why we were there or outside, only warning me that if I did not like it that I should lie and tell him I liked it 🤣 no need to lie, the show was great. The whole strip of the waterfront was lined with these huge rectangular metal pillars that began shooting massive fireballs into the air. Like out of nowhere just tons of heat and fire. 


I swear I was so happy that smile stuck to my face for an hour. 
....the next few days flew by. I got up to my usual routine of gym, parks, dinner, Grande, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner, I ate like the monster in spirited away 🤣 Grande and I tried out the gay scene, which was composed of decidedly normal looking men. It wasn’t the plastic pretty boys of LA nor the trendy leather bound circuit queens of NY, no, these were plain people that looked like you went to high school with them. Was actually a bit odd not to be lost in a sea of on-point eyebrows and dewy Mario Badescu faces.......no matter, this was a GREAT time....until we ran into the only other American and were inundated by her rant on all the reasons she moved from her small town in Texas to be a big city lesbian in Melbourne - you’re like florals in spring. Wait, wrong film.


all of the yes
Emerald City Realness




do, do , do.... just a ho-ass girl in a big city
      



     



       

Neon nonsense

The world needs more doughnut memorials 
All was excellent, and on my last night we had these killer dumplings. Well, most of them were killer, one or two of them sucked. Okay, most of them sucked. ...None the less, this place was BYOB and between the two of us, bringing a bottle of champagne and two bottles of wine was too much.

*thinks how to drink all this*

In my spur of the moment friendless towards strangers I managed to unload a rosè on a very funny lesbian and her Polish work wife who were seated next to us- this was excellent because they then ended up coming with us to Berlin bar. Berlin bar has a very neat vibe. Bathtub full of pillows, bunk beds, lots of nods to German history and an absolutely massive portrait of Joseph Stalin.

Four of us sitting here having a nice international pissing contest: America,Poland, Netherlands, and one other place lol boozy memory.


The kind Polish woman (on the right) gave us a try of some post dinner shots that were a tradition for her culture, these were meant to cleanse the pallet and calm your stomach. Instead they tasted like eating an actual cigarette and chasing it with vinegar. Oh well! We had an awesome time hanging out with these girls.

                   

The night was finally over, ah, Sept 16th. I’m in bed. All is good! I flew out the following afternoon.  pretty sure at some point in this trip the concept of an actual "whore island" came up... if anyone has passing interest in an island composed of model train sets and trains of sex, hit us up! 🤣
Trains on trains

..... Ah, paradise

*fin*



     Reviews:   IMBD: .5 /10     Rotten Tomatoe: .08%