We’ve arrived in Auckland!

Posted: December 20, 2010 in Uncategorized

Our trip, though long, was surpringly smooth and without incident. I’m very proud of Ava, who was a trooper thoughout the trip and really pushed on with Mom and Dad, despite a few points where we were really in need of sleep and had to deal with the monotony of airport lines. And I’m kinda proud of myself for being able to talk myself through several long periods of turbulence that would have had me running for the emergency exit on other flights. Kelly fought through the trip with a bad cold, and we’re hoping that now that we’re in warmer climates (it’s close to 80 and humid here, though cloudy), maybe the cold she’s got and the one I seem to be getting will go away quickly.

Once again, we’ve taken the idea of “light packing” and literally have thrown it out the window: three large suitcases along with two smaller ones for check-in (our now famous “wine suitcases” which will be filled with 2 cases of wine on the trip home) and five or six carry-ons, not including Ava’s stroller which gets checked at the gate. Gotta say the stroller is one of the smarter things we’ve brought–not for Ava–but because we can load it up with all of our carry-ons and not have to drag them through the airport!

They say that New Zealand is really tough when it comes to bringing in food, plants, or other foreign materials…and we had our own proof of that when we were picking up our suitcases at baggage claim. We spotted a woman with a dog that was sniffing all the luggage, and it was only a matter of time before he made a bee-line to my backpack! She asked me if I was bringing in any fresh fruit and I said no…then it dawned on me that I had 2 precious zip-locs filled with my home-made beef jerky! Damn that dog! He stuck his friggin’ nose right in there and wouldn’t leave. My jerky was confiscated. I was so bummed…I had planned on eating it during our flight…forgot all about it…and now it’s either trash or dog snacks.

We got out luggage, got picked up by the Apex car rental company van, and picked up our very stylish Toyota Previa family van for our 19 days of driving through the New Zealand countryside. It’ll be fine…nuthin’ fancy, but lots of visibility and tons of room for all the crap we’ve brought down here.

Our first attempt at driving on the left side (though I’ve done that many times before in the Caribbean, never with the steering wheel on the right!) was a success and we got the the Westin hotel on the waterfront in Auckland with no problems.

We’ve enjoyed a small meal via room service, including a little birthday cake they brought up for Ava’s 4th birthday which is today. And now it’s shower time and nap time before we go out to dinner tonight with out friends Angela and Robert, whom Kelly and I met a few years ago in Santorini Greece. There was one night in particular where we had enjoyed some amazing Greek food and many beverages, and then stuffed ourselves into our Smart Car rental for a road trip. Not smart, but we lived to tell the tale.

So we’re here. Look out, New Zealand!

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