We made it! After a LONG 11 hour redeye to Fiji, followed by a four hour layover and another two and a half hour flight to Auckland, we arrived in New Zealand. We flew Air Pacific on what must have been a 10+ year old plane with seriously outdated movie screens and subpar service. I mean, I wasn’t planning on drinking on our flight, but I’d at least like the offer of wine once, or perhaps four times. I mean, it’s international…come on! Don’t even get me started on the old entertainment units with movies that start on a loop, so you come in when you come in. I watched This Means War two and a half times and I still haven’t seen the first five minutes. Basicallllly….fly Air New Zealand or Qantas. I can only imagine it’s totally worth the extra cost!
If you’ve traveled with me before, you might know that I profile TSA agents in the airport if I have something questionable in my bag (say an ounce or two over on my carry on toiletries or something) who seem like the easiest to flirt with. Anyways…this time I had two large bags of Haribo Gummi Bears and some PB Balance Bars I did NOT want confiscated (they ask you on your customs form to list ANY food items, so I listed them). I cranked up the Southern charm x25 and started flirting with the old New Zealander. He looked at me sideways and said I looked a little young to be retired. Turns out, he did not find me listing “Retired” as my occupation on my customs form as funny as I did. I was worried this might give him reason to more harshly scrutinize my form but have no fear, my Haribo’s made it through safely. Phew.
We made it into the city, checked into our hostel and set off to explore and find lunch. We found this great little hole in the wall Asian spot where we had delicious chicken fried rice and all the hot tea we could drink, which was great because it was cold outside. Okay, maybeee not that cold, but considering I spent all of Sunday on the beach in California and now a mere 18 hours later, it’s winter, takes a bit to adjust. We were all highly delirious the entire first day (redeye flight, 18 hours of traveling and time travel…my first International Date Line experience…it all added up!) but just tooled around the city and at the end of it, discovered a delightfully refreshing New Zealand draft – Monteith’s Golden.
We made it till 8pm until we were so tired we could even speak (or perform any higher mental functions) and went back to the hostel to crash. If you’re in Auckland, NEVER stay at the YHA Auckland City Hostel in the winter. There was no heat and the blanket they give you is probably the weight of one you’d find at a hotel in Florida. It was like sleeping in an igloo. You live and learn, I suppose.