Auckland Night Market

Tonight I’m in Auckland, preparing to turn in my rental car and go home in a couple days. As usual, my goal was to spend as little time in the city as possible. They’re gross. Until they’re awesome.

Like tonight. I found the cheapest hotel room I could that still offered free parking and got in around 9. This is the first time I’ve had a whole room to myself since leaving home, and yes, I promptly flung my stuff all over it. Then I remembered that I have zero food. I mean, I have a bag of trail mix that I ate all the chocolate out of today. So, zero.

Luckily, Google said there’s a supermarket just around the corner. I went and found that it’s in a mall, and the only access at this time of night is through the underground car park. As I walked through, I could see a huge crowd of people to my left. There were tables set out in what looked like a giant garage sale. It was crowded and noisy, and I figured I would just avoid it.

After buying my orange and a deal of yogurt, though, I realized that there was a shortcut to my hotel leading just past the crowd, so I decided to sneak towards it. Which resulted in me walking slowly past the stalls. Which resulted in me braving the crowd (spoiler alert, it was fine). Which resulted in me sampling Hungarian sweet bread (the looks of an elephant ear with the flavor of an Olive Garden breadstick), South African pork (the salesman had to coach me on how to eat it…there’s a bone in there, apparently), pizza (okay, I’ve had that before, but it would have been rude to refuse), and Korean honey crispy chicken. It was the last one that got me. I had to run back to my hotel through the extremely useful shortcut, grab some cash, and return for my very late dinner. She gave me a deal–2 meats for the price of one. Okay, she was actually just trying to close shop, but it was still nice. In a move unlike anything that I’ve ever done, I decided to go with whatever she asked. (For those who have never had the misfortune to eat with me, just know that I can be a bit of a high maintenance eater. That’s all you need to understand how rare of an event this was.) And yes, I was praying that she wouldn’t choose the spicy chicken that was simmering in a sauce so red it would have made lava jealous. She didn’t. She went with teriyaki chicken instead. #blessher

So that’s how I ended up in my last-minute hotel with a bowl of Korean food. It probably doesn’t sound that exciting, but it was one of those moments where I can’t stop smiling and thanking God that I get to experience this. I’m in freaking Auckland eating Korean food at 10 at night–that’s not something I ever expected to be doing, but I love it.

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