Thurs feb 23
Flight to New Zealand, we're at the airport!
They want to make sure you're leaving! Checking in for our flight, the first thing they ask is how and when are you returning. I'm laughing because my sister-in-law Irmgard says she would be going on a one way ticket - nope! Oh, funny, I just sent a message to brother, Patrick who responds, she'll just tear up the return ticket! Kind of fun to have some immediate reaction from home - I just had a little back and forth with son Derek, friends Cathy and Donna and daugher-in-law, Agnieszka as well! That 18 hour time difference is rather hard to figure out!
Jan gives me news from her twitter feed that one of the new rockets (the bombardier streetcar) has derailed in downtown Toronto!
We are on an Emirates flight and I briefly wonder if Jennifer Aniston is going to show up but we have been delayed and it's a long wait...I don't think I told you, but always be prepared. I pack a few snacks for times just like this. We were intending to have breakfast at the airport before our flight but, as we were checking in, Jan asked and the guy said we would be fed a full breakfast as soon as we were in the air - it's a three hour flight and we lose two hours - more time zones! So, we decide to wait. I had one leftover banana and an apple that I put in my backpack and from home, I always start out with a supply of several snack/granola bars. Also, pack a few ziplock bags - they'll come in handy - I had sliced the apple and put it into a baggy - easier to eat and share that way. We ate the apple and banana right away and after the second twenty minute delay was announced, I dug out a couple of the bars. Actually a good thing we ate the fruit because New Zealand doesn't allow you to bring in any thing like that as well as honey, seeds or various other items and they actually have sniffer dogs at the baggage claim in case you lied, so be warned! Our 8:30 departure turns out to be 11:30 - the plane is massive! We are in row 63 (10 across and again we are in the middle of the middle) but these seats are a bit wider and there is more leg room. And sure enough there is an upstairs for first class but the flight attendant effectively blocks my way!
I feel bad for the flight attendants because they have the ugliest uniforms I've ever seen. Red pillbox style hats, with an ivory scarf attached to one side that falls down to their shoulder and then drapes around the neck. The suit itself is a drab beige colour with a very fine red pinstripe, not so bad until you get to the skirt which has big box pleats at the bottom with solid red fabric inside the pleats which seem so old-fashioned! Fortunately they get to remove the hats once the flight is underway.
The woman on my left is wearing a tee shirt that says Shitbox Rally and I can't resist asking her about it - Google it, it's pretty cool! They are the pit crew for a team from Australia - the point is to have an old crappy car and drive it around New Zealand's South Island in about a week and they get pledges to raise money for cancer. Sounds like a whole lot of fun!
Breakfast finally comes and it's a bit dicey but it is food, something to tide us over.
We get to Christchurch finally and they actually x-ray your luggage before letting you through! Take no chances, be honest! We get a cab to take us to our lodging - a one bedroom suite, fifth floor, balcony, fully furnished and well equipped - we'll be fine even though it is well past time to check in as some nice lady helps us open the lobby door and find our keys and instructions to the suite. It's about 6 pm and we want to go out and get dinner before it gets too dark to see - I googled what time it gets dark and we have until about 8:30-9pm. Should be okay but another thing I forgot to tell you to pack was a flashlight - it'll come in handy! Also googled where to eat and we head out, walking. Find Francesca's Italian Kitchen, it was really good. a side kale salad, $12, duck breast with risotto, $35, chocolate mousse cake, $16 and glass each of their house red (Italian). We shared, though the portions are not very big. $79, no tip. A 4 block walk back home with a quick stop at a nearby convenience store for a banana and a yogurt for the morning.
Fitbit, 5.7 km; MA, nothing because I didn't think it would be worth worrying about...