My recent [eventual] success at producing an entry for Cairns has inspired me to go back to my [paper] diary from my New Zealand Contiki trip and write a bit about it here. It’s going to take me a while, though… if nothing else, I have to try and sort the whole lot out, and I fell so far behind that I ultimately gave up about 10 days into the trip. So we’ll see how good my memory is now of whatever happened after that.
So, I’m going to break these entries into one per day, and do my utmost to actually keep the content as such. For direct, verbatim quote from my paper diary, I’ll use italics. (And preserve my horrible spelling, punctuation and whatnot, just for kicks.) I likely won’t quote all of it… I’ll try to, but, from memory there’s stuff in here that’s a little too personal. We shall see. :)
20th of March, 2007
[written the day after]
I arrived in Auckland last night at about midnight, right on schedule. The flight was pretty fair, overall – I was stuck between some old guy (who was fine & kept to himself) and a rather large New Zealander (not maori) which didn’t thrill me much at all.
But, I settled in and watched the in flight movie, “Night at the Museum”, which passed the time well. And now, finally, I’ve seen it! :)
After the movie I chatted with the NZ guy until we landed. He sells something (I can’t recall if he said it or not, or whether I just missed it through his accent) to farmers, & does a lot of business in Australia – this was his 19th return trip, he said – since September, I think he said! He of course was quite over flying, although I noticed he still checked out the view as we were taking off and landing.
He noted that going the other way, to Melbourne, they usually run 747’s, which are a bit more comfortable. Unfortunately my return flight is from Christchurch with Jetstar, and I’m pretty sure they fly Airbus A320s. I don’t recall flying in one of them before, so I’m still holding onto the hope that they’re a stunning counter-example to the usual crappy conditions. I can dream. :)
When I arrived at the airport in Auckland I had to go through a special bio-screening step at customs, because of my boots & because I’d been bushwalking in the last 30 days (re. King Lake walk). That was pretty painless though – they just checked for any visible mud or large clumps of dirt, of which there weren’t any. It was late (~12:30am) by the time I stepped out of the airport. I went around to where the shuttles & taxis were, and then – perhaps out of laziness, or uncertainty as to how the shuttle’s operate – I went with a taxi. NZ$64 or so later, I was at the Aspen House hotel. I’m not sure what route the driver took, but looking on a map of Auckland this morning, I’m not sure it was the most direct. Plus I guess it was double-time or somesuch, being so late.
The room at the hotel was small & barren, although I’d paid very little for it so I wasn’t that surprised. At least I had it all to myself, unlike the arrangement at a hostel.
I went to bed more or less straight away, after briefly checking out the facilities. While I was tired, it took a while to get to sleep. And I woke up frequently during the night.