New Zealand 2014

Day 02

March 16

  I must have slept a long time, since I've lost a day. But I didn't pull a Rip VanWinkle - I just crossed the International Date Line so I 'lost' a day until I cross back over. And the person in front me is still enjoying their 'full tilt' accommodations. I sure am glad somebody is getting comfort from the situation ....  
  Fortunately, when breakfast is served, seat backs have to be 'upright' so I do get some relief for a while. The breakfast is actually quite good for airplane food or else I'm just foggy from lack of blood flow.  
  After breakfast, we are getting really close to Brisbane and for that I am really thankful.  
  Once we land, I give the 747 a passing look and it's out to collect the luggage and deal with Australian customs briefly.  
  They have it down pretty well, especially since I'm just passing through. Soon I'm back out into the terminal headed for my connection to New Zealand.  
  I arrive at my gate quite early but that's okay by me. I've never been one of those fellers that likes to do a mad dash through the airport. I find me a nice chair and just settle in for a while. At least here I have plenty of legroom and it feels mighty fine.  
  Soon they gather us up and I am on another silver bird to my final destination.  
  The time zones get a bit strange as you leave Australia and head to New Zealand. But my poor body at this stage does not have a clue as to what day it actually is or what time it is supposed to be. But I do manage to wave good-bye to Australia as it passes beneath my feet.  
  Another airline meal and it's not too bad. I have to say that Qantas does have some of the best airline food I've encountered and over the years I have encountered quite a bit.  
  I have a window seat on this flight so I get my first glimpse of New Zealand.  
  I can hardly believe that I am finally approaching the place that I have thought about for quite a while.  
  From the air it looks like quite an interesting jumble of mountains, lakes, seashore and forests.  
  Going through New Zealand customs is very interesting. They are particular about not allowing bugs, parasites and such into the country. In fact there's a sign that if you bring contaminated dirt on your boots, it's a $400 fine. I do mention to them that I have some boots in my luggage but they are clean - just to be safe. Soon I'm 'officially' in New Zealand and out the portal where I wait for Alain's arrival.  
  I have a couple of old Cingular cell phones with me that I had unlocked, so I wander over to the VodaPhone booth to see if I can get a sim card. The young lady that tries to help me is brand new at it, but we manage to finally get one of my phones up and working. My plan is to have one just in case of an emergency, and with that taken care of, I retire to my seat at the nearby McDonalds.  
  Before long, I see Alain's smiling face and he sees me. We check our transportation tickets that Te Waipounamu , the motorcycle tour company, gave us and make our way out to the pickup area. We're booked into the Quality Hotel in Parnell, not far from the rental shop. As we will see throughout the tour, John and Miss Alison have done an outstanding job setting up our accommodations and transportation when we need it.  
  The bed is calling my name, but I am determined to stay up until 'normal' local sleep time. Fortunately, there is a good restaurant located in the complex, so we don't have to wander far to eat.  
  I figure down here I ought to get some fresh seafood so I avail myself of tonight's special - bluenose fish. Never heard of it before, but they are pretty tasty and quite enjoyable. I'm not much of a seafood feller unless it's fresh. And back home, if they say it's fresh, that just means it was fresh once upon a time. After we get back to the room, John calls us and lets us know he will be picking us up tomorrow so we can collect the rental ST1300s. I sit out on the deck for a little while enjoying the view of Auckland.  
  But it's not too long before my eyelids follow the sun down, and the rack monster claims another victim.