Today is day 4 in new zealand, but after the airline I flew on left my backpack in Brisbane, Australia I had to spend an extra day and a half in Auckland before I could start hitching out of the city. Auckland was a pretty neat city and I got there at a neat time. On day 2, there was a gigantic parade right by the hostel for Santa claus. so with the massive crowds of people flocking in every direction, I found an alley with good acoustics and played my guitar with a cup at my feet for a while. Made enough to pay for some delicious Korean hot pot that night. I did really enjoy those couple days in Auckland- hanging out with people from Sweden, Ireland, Japan, Germany, and a million other places; watching buskers play accordion, with a jazz combo, solo female singer guitar player with some soul, a Maori family singing traditional songs loud and proud and in unison; looking out over Queens harbor where the big ships creep against the strong outward current, gulls I’ve never seen before flying ahead, clouds on the horizon backlit with orange and pink while the sun sets on my rooftop chilling spot. All this was fine and dandy, but I came here to get into the bush, and I was eager to do so. My pack finally showed up yesterday around 11AM, and I immediately went out to the on ramp for highway 1, the main road leading north toward Cape Reinga. I got picked up by a package delivery dude, and we made a few drop offs and pick ups on the way to Warkworth, laughing and cursing and drinking Victoria Bitter on the way. I was picked up again within 10 minutes after he dropped me off, this time by a couple who also picked up another local dude minutes before. They told me about what kind of resources I’ll find in towns as I continue hitching North, warned me about the nasty undercurrent on the beaches along 90 mile beach, laughed at the radio DJ when he made a Donald Trump joke and tried to ask me what i thought about him (i’m in New Zealand right now was my answer) and shared some of the local greenery with me, let’s say. Then they dropped me off at the grocery store. What a strange and confusing trip that was. Being hungry and a little stoned at the market in a country you’ve never been in before was a challenge of the mind. So much math! Energy is measured in Kilojoules instead of calories and prices are compared to each other based on dollars per 100grams rather than by ounces. not surprising that this is the case, but it messed with me pretty hard. Fully loaded with food and water and fuel, I tried to hitch out of Whangarei, but had to walk 2 or 3 miles out of town to get past the byway where there was heavy construction before I found a solid place where cars could stop for me. 3 more rides after Whangarei got me to KeriKeri, where I slept last night in a public reserve that was so beautiful I laughed a silly stupid laugh when I saw it.