One thing we know before even leaving is our trip TO AU/NZ will cause
us more jet lag than our trip in 2001. In that trip, we got to
Sydney around 8:30 PM one day later, so after going to the hotel we
went to the neighborhood pub and had a VB and a snack, then went to bed
at a reasonable 11:00 PM. As a result, jet lag was essentially
In 2004, we get to Auckland at 5:10 AM, and have that one day in city
before going to Queenstown. Therefore, we plan to drop bags off
at the hotel, see how early we can check in, go out for a bit, take a
nap, then go back out later to see more of Auckland. It's not an
ideal plan, but it's what we're working with. Hopefully it should
not be as bad as I'm making it out to be...
And since last time people liked to track our progress and wanted to
know where we were (yes they're virtual stalkers), we're at the
380 Queen Street, Auckland.
We made it to Auckland with no problems affecting our travel. Our
first class flight from BDL to ORD was fine and on time (and they fed
us nice sandwiches and wine). Our first class flight ORD to LAX
was fine and ontime (and they fed us filet mignon and wine). Also
watched the movie "New Suit" which was not too bad.
We had one concern because Mom brought a sentimental piece of antique
whale tooth ivory, which is banned by New Zealand Department of
Agriculture. We were concerned that they would confiscate it, so
we looked around for a padded envelope to mail it back, but we never
found one. We were going to buy a greeting card and mail it, but
we realized there are no mailboxes around anymore - another victim of
9/11 security? Perhaps. So we ended up declaring it in
Auckland, and they checked it out and said that was okay. So our
fears were allayed. But note this, anyone who travels to these
places with alligator shoes, ivory, teeth, shells, etc. They are
serious about their practices!
Back to the trip over. We had to hang around LAX airport for
about 5 hours before our flight was supposed to leave, so after
deciding on the above issue re: the ivory, we checked in and went
through the new security procedure for checked bags. They now
have one of those multi-million dollar screening machines and every
checked bag goes through it. You deliver your bag, wait in a
separate line while it goes through, then if it passes, they seal it
and it goes on the conveyor. It does give you some confidence
that every bag is checked, so you're feeling pretty good when you get
on the plane.
We then went and had a snack dinner and a beer before heading to the
gate around 8. Security check was friendly, quick and competent,
then we headed to the gate, where we ended up waiting until about 9:15
before boarding for the 9:40. The flight wasn't quite full and we
had window seats but not much extra room for sleeping. We did
have a nice row-mate, a young woman from Knoxville who was on her way
to some place she didn't know near Rotorua to do missionary work with
The flight from LAX to Auckland was about 12 hours, as expected, and
they have upgraded the planes so each seat has its own video monitor,
so you can watch any of 13 video channels, play video games, or watch
the neat electronic map that shows the plane's progress. I hope
to get a picture of that on the way back - we were too tired to get the
camera on the way down.
Anyway, we arrived on time at 5:10 am, went through passport control,
then had to wait half an hour for our bags (first on, last off?), then
off to customs for the Ivory incident. Then to the shuttle bus
for the trip to the hotel.
It should have only taken about 20 minutes but because several people
on the shuttle were being dropped off at their houses, it turned into
an hour tour of Auckland and its environs. There is a wicked big
tower in Auckland, supposedly the tallest tower in the southern
hemisphere. Will get a pic of that before we leave.
So now Mom's taking a nap, and I probably will too. But we wanted
to let you know we made it, it's beautiful, about 50 degrees F, and
we're looking forward to flying to Queenstown tomorrow.