It's raining again
Auckland Travel Blog› entry 7 of 7 › view all entries
Christchurch was and I assume is a drizzly affair. We left for the airport with high hopes and great expectations. The Bay of Islands get's the most rays of sunshine throughout the year. After 6 weeks of hardcore travel we need a vacation with some decent sun before we head back to the infamous tundra of northern Europe.
After a short but effective rip-off shuttle ride to the airport. $20!? I'm still pissed off about it. Well 18 really but the chauffeur hightailled it out of the parking lot instead of giving us back our change.
After checking in and a quick tour of the airport (I'd say that was a good 15 seconds ) We decided we'd better check in. My daypack hasn't left my side and certainly not my eyesight eversince that unfortunate post dinner incident back in Picton. No surprise then that I walked straight through the metal detector without realising it was still on my back and not dutifully on the conveyer to be x rayed. No problem.
...actually there was. Part of my automatic behaviour pattern this trip has been to pack my folding knife in my daypack. Carrying big foldout serrated edged buck knives around in airports is not exactly encouraged. I think If this was anywhere else I'd be in custody right now.
the Kiwi airport security however just started asking me particulars about the outdoor uses and oh I really should check it in with the airline an not with them. I raced back. Shoved the blade in my coat and simply checked my coat as luggage. The ordeal was about to begin.
The Take off was 20min late. The flight took longer and so we had about 3 minutes to no scratch that 2,5 to get to our connecting flight. Running frantic through the terminal with no staff in sight. Hearing our names accompanied with final boarding call warnings. We ran around like chicken without heads until finally some NZ air character managed to point us in the right direction. Tip for Auckland Airport: Put some direction signs up if you want people to find the right gate.
Sprinting at top speed or atleast as fast as running with three pieces of carry-on luggage will allow we finally got the right gate in sight. I momentarily forgot to scan for traffic from the blindside and pounded into some character carrying a big set of golf clubs. I hit the ground running. Hard. Clubs, golfballs, golf hat and old people strewn accross the floor I scrabbled up. Grabbed my dropped luggage and blindly followed Ilja again who was no finally at the check in and arguing with the check in personel.
Our names were being called. We're five minutes late for the flight. It's warming up on the tarmac and for some reason people decide to jump the que to get ahead of us. Fortunately one of those keystone cops was in touch with the pilot otherwise we really would have been left stranded.
We walk out not into the airlock but out on the runway to get into the piston engine 2 prop plane. Finally we're airborne hoping desperately they managed to put our luggage in the right plane so that it's not floating on a conveyer belt somewhere in the middle of auckland airport.
We land in Kerikeri a little grassland strip with a hut for an office about 35 minutes later. Lo and behold there's our luggage! Another moment of shock. The sun is shining. It's 30 degrees Celsius. Have we finally manage to fool 'them?'
Nope the one and only shuttle to the Kerikeri cost $20.. They drop us at Aranga backpackers. Arbitrarily chosen out of the lonely planet and affordable. A stroke of luck is the dutch woman behind the counter who takes pity on us and provides us with towels and beding normally reserved for the motel suites instead of the backpackerpart of their establishment.
The next day we're off to Paihia. A resort town with the cultural attraction of having the waitangi treaty grounds in its vicinity. The sun is still out when we arrive and we are counting our blessings. We decide to splurge a little and pay three times as much for lodging to get more of a vacation feel instead of bare bones travel. The girl behind the counter at the i-centre ( i stands for information but I think it's meant ironically )helps us pick a lodge and even shows us where it is by drawing it on a little map.
So nice. Except It's five kilometers out of town. Thus away from the beach.. Oh and there are no taxi's shuttles or any other way of getting there except through your own transportation. We realise this about halfway up the hill.
Ofcourse there's no shuttle going into Paihia so we have to hitch down. This actually works ( against my I admit it, pessimistic view of succes ) and we are down at the eyesight asking the girl who booked this nightmare what the hell was wrong with her. She was a moron I realised as she looked at me with empty questioning eyes and her mouth twisted in a grimace between shock, shame and stupidity.
I decided I couldn't really hold it against her. After all the idiot who hired her is to blame not the poor little retard girl who's doing the best she can. Wich isn't much but woe me for even going in there.
We found a decent hotel with normal people a little further up the beach who didn't have space for the night but managed to book us a lodge close by. Finally we had complementary mountain bikes, a barbeque a bathroom where the running water was a cascade and not a trickle. Finally the vacation could start.
We biked up a nearby mountain with a decent panoramic view. Past lot's of cows, sheep and road kill corpses of possums and other furry enemies of the holy kiwi bird. Next we went to the Waitangi Treaty grounds. The place where the local Maori chiefs put their illliterate cross or doodle besides their name and signed their lives away to the crown in 1840. Just in time for the British to prevent the French from settling the South Island.
The plan was to hunt for souvenirs the next day but we ended up watching King Kong on skymovies in our hotelroom. Oh yes and we watched rain. Torrents and torrents of it. We took long hot baths and argued about where we should or shouldn't have gone and how much it all costs and hoped the fucking rain would fuckin stop!?
It did. Yesterday. NZ was hit by two huge tropical storms while we've been here and a huge iceberg that broke off from the Antarctica floated past dunedin. The Kiwi's did sidetrips on it by helicopter. Who cares the sun is out and we have vacation time left. We spent it almost entirely on the beach. The NZ sun causes sunburn in 8 minutes. I was under the shade of a tree in 7,5. Fruitful vacation day!
All that's left now is the return trip to Holland. Through Hong Kong not Singapore although our travel info said differently. We tend to stick with what it says on the ticket. 21 hours of flying time with who know's how long a stopover. How's the weather in the Netherlands, everyone? Does it..rain?
I'm going back into the sun for a few more hours. Cheers.