I never thought that I would end my first day in New Zealand boiling water in a frying pan to make a cup of coffee. You might be forgiven for thinking that I'm in front of a camp fire - I'm actually in down town Auckland at the halls of residence of the University of Technology. I didn't know that there is such a thing as a king size single bed - but I have one for the next 4 nights.
Anyway, having made up my own bed, bought soap & coffee, accepted that the kettle is broken, borrowed an iron from a student, got stuck in the lift (forgot that you need a fob to make it work - even to open the doors) and got soaked by a sellotaped shower hose that leaks more water than the shower head, I settled down to get to know Professor Brenda Gainer from York University in Toronto who is the first of my room mates in this student flat and also a speaker at the conference that I am here for. As 50 something survivors of the womens movement - and a range of student accommodation - we have much in common and enjoyed a great evening together.
Arriving this morning was every bit as wonderful as I had hoped. The first sights from the plane were spectaular - photo's to follow. Coming through immigration and customs took longer than in LA but only because two full flights arrived at the same time. I was met at the airport by Andrew Beyer from the New Zealand Council of Social Services who took me to the top of a volcano for a panoramic view of Auckland and its surroundings. Andrew is one of those who were active in the recent General Election campaign that saw Labour lose to the National party, two weeks on the exhaustion has worn off and now they are waiting to see exactly what will change. Thanks Andrew, it was great to see a friendly face as soon as I arrived and I enjoyed hearing all you told me.
I had a short walk this afternoon - round the university area. Sunshine, market stalls and internet cafes. Keep needing to sleep - creeping up on me now, so more soon.
11.45 pm Saturday 22 November 2008
PS - just seen message from Conor saying she has bought me a tiara and a feather boa - just what have I come to???