You wouldn’t know it from my utter lack of updates on Facebook or posts on this blog, but I have indeed made it safely to New Zealand and have been here for almost a month. Much like when I first got to Korea, I feel that I should give a brief (and hilarious!) overview of what I have been up to ever since I got here on April 5th. Less than a month, mein gott. How time does not fly. (But in a good way.)
So, technically, April 3rd is when I left on my adventure to the glorious land of Kiwis and Marmite, from glorious (now ruined) Lambert Saint Louis airport. Jason and Lisa, again, took me to the airport and kicked me to curb but luckily Bridgers threw my bags to me as they sped off, singing “The witch is dead.” I didn’t really get that, as I am clearly not a witch, nor I am dead. Jason and Lisa are weird. I meandered into the airport and checked in my bags for my flight to Most Glorious Los Angeles International Airport Where, Seriously Guys, No One Will Help You So Just Stop Asking (Copyright 2010). When I turned around, to my surprise, Michelle’s mother was there to give me some stuff to take to Michelle. She hugged me and told me I was awesome and that I was totally allowed to stab her daughter for being insane. And all was well with the world. I managed to make it through security without being stopped, something I haven’t pulled off since before Korea, and safely got on my flight to LAX. Four hours later, we landed and I was on my way!
Or so I thought. See, I picked up my bags and headed to the Air New Zealand desk to check in for my flight and everything was hunky-dory. I had my passport and visa info, my traveler’s insurance and itinerary, and so I proudly walked up to the check-in counter and the man promptly said to me. “You’re scheduled to fly on May 3rd, not April 3rd!” WHAT. Oh. Oh god no, what? WHAT?! So I ran over to their ticketing counter, and hastily explained what happened, and he asked me questions like “So you need to change your plans last minute?” “You want to pay cash for the changes?” “Why do you have no return ticket?” and I’m thinking to myself Oh fuck, they think I’m going to blow up New Zealand. Shit. I don’t want the TSA to poke me bum! But, thankfully, he let me get my ticket with no problems. 200 USD later. Le sigh. The mistakes we make, eh?
Of course, this also meant that I now got to wait at my gate for the next six hours until my flight for New Zealand left at 11 at night. Ugh. I honestly don’t remember much of that time, I know I had a Sam Adams, a bowl of chili, and a hamburger to celebrate my departure from the States, and I assume I read books, but beyond that it’s sort of a blur. Oh! I do remember a group of Americans raving about how amazing their iPad/touch/phones were and how it was great to bling them out and why anyone would ever get anything else is just wholly beyond them. They all but blew Steve Jobs right there in the Airport. Thankfully, I was sitting no where near any of them. Much to my chagrin, though, my booking snafu caused me to have to sit window on a 13 hour flight. Joy upon joys.
The flight itself was pretty much a nightmare. It started out well enough, private entertainment center, moderate leg room, decently comfortable seats, but things started to go downhill rapidly. One, the person sitting to my left spoke no English at all. So if I needed anything or had to get out of the seat, I had to speak past him. Superb. Two, about an hour into the flight I spilled water on myself, so I got to spend the next 10 hours with wet pants as they slowly dried out. Those things really wouldn’t be that big of a deal, minor annoyances really, if it wasn’t for things that got added on top of that. Like the crying baby. No, wait, crying *babies.* Or the woman who insisted on fully reclining her chain, despite the fact that she had two sweats to herself, and she was sitting length wise across them! Awesome. I had words with her, once, and she just laughed and said “Sucks to be you.” Okay. So that was all tolerable, to an extent, but then we hit a wonderful patch of turbulence that lasted for FOUR fucking hours. FOUR. I haven’t vomited on a plane in close to 10 years, but that time, four dramamine in my system or no, I puked like a 10 year old boy who smoked his first cigarette. Ugh. So I spent half the damn flight cold, cramped, wet, sick, and smelling and tasting of vomit. WELCOME TO NEW ZEALAND.
Finally, blissfully, mercifully, the plane landed (though I have to rofl at the fact that the first thing I saw on New Zealand soil was sheep) and I escaped from it’s death confines. The airport in Auckland is situated in such a way that you walk straight through the duty free shop, and I decided that, yes, I did indeed need to buy cheap booze. So I did. And it was marvelous. I got all my crap organized and found and went through customs, declaring my M&Ms since they’re apparently very uptight about that, and found my way to the next gate for my flight to Wellington. Got on the flight, landed safely, got my shit, and all was well. Michelle found me, and away we went on my Kiwi adventure!
Which, it being 8 in the morning and all, meant straight to a local diner place to get food and caffeine in me. Delicious delicious caffeine. After that, Michelle drove me, cautiously, to our place of residency on Reef Street which, if I haven’t mentioned it, is about a three minute walk, if that, from the ocean. Ha! Suckers. We unpacked my shit, of sorts, and then headed into Wellington to get me a bank account setup and just poke about the town. I honestly don’t remember much of this, but I remember liking Wellington. And maybe more coffee. That seems about right. Uh, yeah, that’s all sort of a blur.
Eventually we headed back to Reef Street to meet the Joy and Garth, whom are wonderful people oh dear god don’t beat me anymore I’m sorry!, and to get our shit organized for the four day hike we were setting out on tomorrow. Er, yeah. Leimomi and Lamertica showed up with Richard to help us get our shit organized and packed and Richard gave me some things which I am eternally grateful for letting me borrow. Like shorts. And a rain jacket. And HIS SOUL. After about an hour of this I was barely coherent, so off to sleepy land I went.
And the next day began THE TRAMPING.