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Flights landed late into Auckland from the Gold Coast, like 2 a.m. Conner was already there waiting. It was cold and it was raining and both of those conditions would persist, as a reminder that of all the exotic global outposts to which a modern airline will fly these days they’d chosen New Zealand: home to sheep, jokes about people fucking sheep that might not be jokes really, one badass rugby organization with a sweet name, precipitation, frequent Lord of the Rings references that got old in March 2007, and raw raw natural beauty.
Present: Dane Reynolds from Ventura, California. Dane is 26. Dion Agius, also 26, along to surf but just as interested in his photography, to the point of skipping sessions to just wander off and take pictures alone. Conner Coffin, the trip grom at 19. Craig Anderson, looking a lot like the one guy from Workaholics. Beren Hall, who’s Craig and Dion’s manager technically, but just a good damn dude. Also Nate Lawrence, photographer for What Youth, and Blake Myers, filmer, 20 years old. Blake is strange.
So Auckland, at a terrible hour, pissed on by the sky, everyone waddled — because under the burden of luggage and surfboards and that 2 a.m. feeling, one can only really waddle — into the lobby of the Formule 1 motel, billed as “The best value accommodation at Auckland Airport.” Outstanding.
Of course no rooms are available at the Formule 1 motel, and suddenly the Samoan rugby squad is in the lobby also, which at 2 a.m., OK sure why not. Please, is there anything you can do? Well, one room was vacated due to a faulty showerhead. We’ll take it! All seven (7) of us will take it.
And Craig makes eight. He showed up around 3 o’clock on a separate flight from Sydney, slept a few hours and left again at 6:30 for his connection to the South Island, where he waited for the rest to arrive. Everyone else tried to sleep, Dane on the floor, Samoan rugby teams everywhere, Auckland Airport, rain and cold and sheep and New Zealand. And that was night one.
The Penguin Cult continues tomorrow with more from New Zealand, namely a nine-minute video piece that's the newest prequel to Dear Suburbia.