New Zealand Arrival

The Flight from LAx to Auckland was about as I remembered it. I drank so much coffee talking with Freddie in Los Angeles that I think it prevented me from sleeping as well as I have on earlier trips – but it wasn’t too bad.

My view for 12 hours

The cabin lights came on after a long and semi-restless night and breakfast was served and the sun began to light the sky on the window on my side of the place as we began our decent into Auckland after crossing the entire Pacific Ocean. A distance I remember it took me over two weeks to cross on the ship, the Direct Tui, when I came here on her in 2003.

First view of New Zealand Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand

It was my third time to do it but there’s still something purely magical to me to step into the line for citizens and residents of New Zealand rather than into the lines for everyone else. It is always the first caress I get that tells me that this place is now mine. The usual questions from the NZ customs agent and then off to collect my luggage and answer more questions.

Oh, you work on a nursery, eh? Well, take your bags to line C and follow the directions there.” Line C took me to some nice folks who took all of my luggage apart again. It had all been gone through thoroughly in Los Angeles as they looked for bombs or whatever. Now their interest was Bio-Security. To make sure I wasn’t bringing in dirt caught in the treads of my shoes or food items that were not canned or sealed. I didn’t see the search in L.A. but I got to watch this one and they we nice folks. We talked and joked about things and, before long, everything was sort-of stuffed back into my luggage and I was free to check it in again. Remember, I was only in Auckland at this point. I still had another 2 hour flight down to Christchurch on the south Island before I was done traveling so I had to check it in for the Auckland to Christchurch flight.

Luckily, I was able to check my bags for the Christchurch flight at the International Terminal where I’d come in so that I didn’t have to schlep them over to the Domestic Terminal as we sometimes have to do.

So, free of my big luggage and with just my small hand-carry, I followed the blue line from the International Terminal to the Domestic Terminal and enjoyed my first morning back in New Zealand.

The first half of the flight to Christchurch is always boring as you are over the sea but then, later, you begin to pass down the length of a least part of the South Island. Mountains give way to hills and hills to plains and all the while you are remembering maps and trying to place yourself based on what you see.

I have a special mission this trip and that is to begin to zero in on areas not too far from Christchurch were we can find heavily forested land out in the countryside not more than two hours drive from the city.

So, I was gawking out the windows and shooting pictures of likely looking places and thinking that later I could use Google Earth to match of the patterns of brown and green in my images so I could reconstruct where exactly I was when I shot the photos.

A likely area, perhaps

20 photos later (I’ll spare you the other 19), we were on the ground and my friends, Tobi and Alex were there just as they had promised to pick me up (oh, beautiful people!).

Good friends at the end of a long trip

We dropped my luggage off at the apartment and went off to The Lotus Heart restaurant on Colombo and ate lunch and talked and caught up on things. What a lovely ‘welcome back’. Then, they had errands and they brought me back to my place and came up for a few minutes and we all looked around and then they took off.

Looking around – that was nice. My beloved was here for a month back in August and did some interior decorating so there was lots to see. New thangkas on the walls, some new furniture, everything newly painted – it was beautiful.

And how different it all was from when I arrived last year and had to find temporary accomodations while I waited for the renters in our apartment to move out so I could take possession. Everything was in a turmoil and temporary and I didn’t get into the apartment until December 22nd after having arrived around November 10th.

This year, it couldn’t have been any more different. A beautiful apartment was waiting; warm, decorated, inviting and ours. It was a big pleasure to just look around and contemplate the next three months.

2 Responses to “New Zealand Arrival”

  1. Ron & Marcia says:

    Hi Expat,
    Just discovered that you have returned to Kiwiland. We are envious.
    We are scheduled to arrive the afternoon of 28/12. We have rented the ground floor apartment in Block C that we had two years ago. It worked our nicely that it was available during the time we will be in NZ and Charlotte was happy to lease it.
    We expect to stay in CC until 8/2 and then spend a week in the Bay of Islands at a resort for a week before we head home. We visited that area in 2001 for just 3 days and decided we would like to spend more time to explore that part of NZ.
    Anxious to return. All arrangements made except buying a car at Turners. We can’t do that until a few days before arrival.
    Look forward to seeing you soon.

    Ron & Marcia

  2. Dennis says:

    Hello, Ron and Marcia! I’m looking forward to seeing you folks here. I’ve shipped my motorcycle down so I think I’m going to forego buying a car at Turners – at least this time around. I’ll be here until Feb. 8th so we’ll overlap. Let’s plan on dinner out? Cheers! Dennis