Friday, March 28, 2014

New Zealand Day 42: Heading Home

I had a great soak in the mineral pool at the Top 10 last night, and while I was doing that had a lovely chat with some folks who are part of a group of six couples engaging in a friendly challenge/road trip: buy a car for less than $1000 and drive it from Auckland to Bluff (at the bottom of the South Island). The next morning we went out to see them as they were packing up.

B particularly liked this car:

 Yes, it has a ladder on the roof. Awesome.

We sent them off with our remaining maple syrup candies that we'd brought to hand out during our trip.

Then B and I gave away a bunch of stuff, leaving shampoo and conditioner in the communal bathroom, laundry detergent and clothespins in the laundry room, and food and spices in the communal kitchen.

I got almost all of our stuff smushed into our two checked bags (the allowance is one per person on Air New Zealand), including three bottles of wine! Turns out wetsuits are excellent for cushioning bottles. My parents also took a couple of bottles for us.

We spent the rest of the morning at the excellent Rotorua Museum, where they had a great activity sheet for kids that toured them around the various exhibits. Then it was picnic and playground time before getting in the car to drive to Auckland.

I enjoyed my last hard cider. This was my absolute favorite from NZ:
 Too bad I didn't have any more room to bring some back with me.

I was also disappointed that the airport store appeared to have every single flavor of Whittaker's chocolate except the mint-filled one that I love. Ah, well, I'm taking this as a sign that it's time to get back into triathlon shape!

B and I were very excited to see that we were going to travel on a Smaug plane:

The flight from Auckland to LA actually went very smoothly. B watched Peppa Pig and then the two of us watched Frozen simultaneously during our very tasty veg dinner. We got ready for sleep and made up our cuddle class bed, but B simply couldn't turn off her brain—she had question after question about plot points in Frozen! Eventually she fell asleep. I finished my book and then tried to catch some sleep...was able to drowse for a few hours.

After leaving Auckland at 7 PM Sunday night, we arrived in LA at 11:30 on Sunday morning. Whaaa??? I actually had to wake B up for final approach into LA. Getting through passport control was a nightmare as three large international planes had come in simultaneously. LONG line. Getting through customs was also extra-interesting as one of the sniffer dogs alerted on our baggage (eventually decided it was from a salad from the plane, which had spilled into it). However, it appears that they were so busy making sure we weren't importing fresh fruit that they forgot to charge me duty on the alcohol, so OK.

After giving back our checked baggage and getting dressed again, we said goodbye to my folks, checked in for our Boston flight and got through security without difficulty. Then we made a beeline for Starbucks! After chai for me, hot chocolate for B, and some snacks for the plane, it was time to board again.

B did great again, watching a movie on the iPad and doing some other activities before falling asleep.

We were SO happy to arrive in Boston after our many hours of travel. Our bags came right out and Alex and Jasper picked us up at the curb. Hurray!

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