Yesterday we were going to do some chores and shopping in Queen Street, but Giles worked out that all the places we needed to go to were in Newmarket as well (the suburb where he works) so we took the bus to there instead, and he showed me around.

Newmarket has most of the standard NZ chain stores, but also lots of little boutiques, and other independent stores, and lots of little cafes and coffee shops as well. And somehow it also looks a lot nicer than Queen Street area, possibly because it’s less grimy, and possibly because the buildings are lower, so it’s less gloomy (it also helped that Saturday was sunnier than any other day in the last couple of weeks).

So we wandered around, opened up a joint account, bought a few things, looked in the bookshop (there aren’t many bookshops in NZ, and I still haven’t got used to how expensive books are) and had yummy chicken+beetroot sandwiches in a very busy and “trendy” little cafe (it seemed trendy because of the décor).

I still find it strange that in New Zealand you can have a shop that just sells bathroom furniture, or bed linen and towels but no furniture, whereas in the UK by now you usually find all the furniture and household stuff in a single shop – there aren’t many individual shops like that now. A few, but not many.

Newmarket is a little way from home, but not too far, so we’ll probably go again for shopping and stuff. And I might send Giles there on his way home from work one day, to buy live green-lipped mussels from the fish counter in Countdown…

Oh yes, and one last thing – most of the shops here are different (apart from McDonalds and Burger King), but there’s several Westfields around, and that’s strange, because it reminds me of the ones in the UK, except these are full of such different shops.

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