And The Winner Is.... - Thursday, November 07, 2002

A stylish, seafoam green STARWAGON is our new (very used van). Yes, it's too good to be true...we found a seafoam green car. What are the chances of finding such a lovely colored car?? The market, particularly at this time of year, is very cutthroat as sellers may have 3-6 people vying for their wheels at the same time! Easy to sell. A few weeks from now, there will be even fewer sellers and tons more buyers, so we came at a good time. Who knows, we may put some work into sprucing up our new van and sell it for a profit!

After a few days of canvassing all the backpacker hostels in downtown Auckland, scouring the local classified ads, and continuously checking out the NZ version of E-bay, we bought a 1985 Mitsubishi Starwagon from a very weird man. It is a 5 speed (on the steering wheel column-like the old American cars), has a sunroof, stereo that actually works, good tires, and came with dusty brown carpeting throughout. After a good clean up tomorrow, we'll spend the rest of the day outfitting our new Seafoam green van, which of course we will find an appropriate name for like all the other vans on the market here. All used vehicles must be sold with a current Warrant Of Fitness (WOF). This basically a roadworthy/safety inspection that is required for ALL NZ cars semi-annually. Ours passed with flying colors. Though we saw several nicer vans (most came completely outfitted for car camping), this car seemed to be in the best shape mechanically. Cross your fingers...we are!!

What our seafoam green chariot still needs:
-TLC (Windex & lots of elbow grease)
-Cooking equipment (some stuff came with it, just need a few more things)
-Mattress, pillow, and sheets/blanket
-Eskie (Kiwi for Igloo cooler)
-Curtains for a little privacy

It turns out, that the price range for vans is actually $2500-over $5000. We purchased our van below the normal price range b/c he was a private party and not another backpacker. This is a good thing b/c the car is most likely better taken care of. We'll see. What we do have is time and no huge goals for the next couple of days, so no worries about getting our car up to snuff. It should be fun looking for a new discount mattress (~$50 here), pre-made curtains (they have lovely cow & tiger patters available), and actually doing some work (cleaning) since we don't have much going on until we leave Auckland.

Though Auckland is a beautiful city on the water, much like Vancouver, we are anxious to get out in the country and start hiking. We received our first round of travel shots today (Typhoid, Cholera, Hep A & B, etc..) and were shocked by how much it cost, but is still considerably cheaper than the US. AND....we're only half-way through our round of treatment!!! We were also given a sample of anti-Malaria medication that is known to give ~10% of users hallucinations and bad dreams. She told us to test it out to see if we were in the lucky 10%. This drug is considerably cheaper than another drug which has no known side-effects and has an easier dosage.

I hope we don't have bad dreams.....

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