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NEW ZEALAND | Tuesday, 14 November 2006 | Views [1142]

October 13 - Friday
Auckland, New Zealand

Oh my god.  I have never been so glad to be somewhere.  Finally, we are at our destination.  Five countries, five time zones, two different airlines and several foil-wrapped meals later, we're here.
But not all of our luggage made it.
I guess it was one country, one plane trip too many over the course of four days. We watched bag after bag move by along the conveyer belt.  There were a variety of backpacks that rode by and a variety of owners who picked them up!
After watching the empty baggage carousel go by for a few minutes to assure ourselves that we hadn't missed anything we went to make a claim.
We weren't sure where we were going to stay and the guy told Jon it could be a matter of hours or a matter of days before there was a recovery - if there was a recovery. We'll admit that during the course of this trip we've had really good luck when it comes to our luggage, other then the incident in the Loire Valley. 
Since we had time to kill we went upstairs to the information center and found out about local accomodation.  We got a quote for $65 dollars at a backpackers lodge which seemed pretty high for what they were (or weren't) offering.  We got a bed with linens, towels, shared kitchen, showers, bathroom, free internet and breakfast.  There was an internet pay station nearby so we did a little searching of our own and found the rates to be about the same in the area so we went with the place recommended by the info site staff member.  We had both been pushing luggage carts around.  One with the bikes on it and one with all our carry on luggage.  Jon wanted to put the bikes together and get rid of the boxes and packaging so we went outside where there was a bicycle assembly area.  Looks like biking in NZ is every bit as popular as we had heard given that the airport already had a designated area set up.  I had seen another bike box near ours at the luggage pick up area.  It was overcast and blustery outside.  People were still wearing fleece while others were in shorts, flipflops and t-shirts.  It's definitely that time of year that isn't quite summer but the weather was for sunny than dreary making the wardrobe decision-making tricky at best.
Once the bikes were set up it was back inside to warm up - we weren't used to this kind of weather - hadn't experienced it since Europe and everything since then has been hot and humid.  Jon checked for our lost bag one more time with no results so we decided to grab a shuttle and head to our home for the night. 
It was about a 45 minute drive to our place and I could barely keep my eyes open.  Actually, I didn't keep my eyes open and at some point realized there was no point in trying.  It was all I could do to keep my mouth from hanging open and my head from bobbing against the back of the seat.  No one was home when we got to our guest house but we picked up the phone posted outside the office with a direct dial to the owner who said they would be there in about 15-20 minutes and in the mean time to wait in the "TV room".  All the doors were locked.
We waited outside until a very boisterous Irish man pulled in and unloaded his own groceries, welcomed us and let us inside.  Now I could have sworn that the many I talked to on the phone had an Indian accent and while I was really tired I don't think I was so tired I would mistake an Irish accent for an Indian accent but there he was, as Irish as could be, so we followed him inside and sat in the TV room.
Turns out the Irishman was also a guest who just seemed very familiar with the place and shortly after we sat down the real owner, who is Indian, popped his head in and got us settled.  Super nice guy, could definitely spend a little more on the décor of his place given the prices he's charging but what can you do?  We asked about a local grocery store, decided it was too far given the fact that we were walking dead and decided to walk out to the main road and "stop at the first place we see" - J.  Sounded like a good plan to me so out we went. 
The lodge is situated in the Parnell district which reminds us of Queen Anne Hill but with a lot more room for parking and walking than the overcrowded trendy Seattle neightborhood.  We found the indian restaurant whose menu we saw posted at the guesthouse and ordered dinner.  Vegetarian kebab for me and falafal kebab for Jon.  It felt like it took forever to prepare but I'm sure it was just my jetlag through off all perception of time and space.  The kebab is eaten much like a Taco Del Mar burrito and just as messy.  Apparently there must by a short supply of napkins in New Zealand because we were given the alotted one napkin and that was it.  There was no dispenser offering more and the staff seemed to disappear into the kitchen after serving us.  We muttled through and enjoyed the food.  It was fresh and that was something we hadn't had in several days or airplane food!
Jon had spotted the local ice creamery so we stopped by on the way home.  Jon had his chocolate and tiramisu with chocolate sauce - he obviously needed a fix and I got a scoop of the chocolate.
We sat and talked about our game plan for the next day and generally zoned out on our ice cream before heading home. 
We were in bed before ten o'clock, maybe even before that, it's kind of a blur... 

Tags: Adventures

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