I’ve made it! I finally arrived in New Zealand! Last night (or the night before depending on where you live), I headed out from Jordan’s house to LAX. I made two new friends at the airport. They are a pair of brothers from the UK who were heading to New Caledonia to visit their parents. They were super friendly and have already checked in to make sure I arrived safely! My flight to Auckland was fairly uneventful. Luckily, I had a free seat in between me and my neighbor. I had big plans to watch several movies, but I ended up falling asleep for most of the flight. (Except for meals because I was starving!) It was so much easier than I possibly could have hoped. Twelve hours (and almost 11,000 kilometers) later I had done several things for the first time: I had crossed the equator, the international date line, and I walked on a new continent for the first time. (I also learned that you can instant message seat to seat on Air New Zealand.) Side note: If you have the chance to fly Air New Zealand then do it. No question, they are the best airline I have ever flown with.
I made my way through Customs fairly easily at Auckland. I met a guy from Scotland who is traveling as well. We exchanged emails and may try to meet up later in our travels! (Everyone has been so nice!) After getting my passport stamped, I collected my luggage and walked the ten minutes over to the domestic terminal, only to have to check my bag again. Fortunately I found where I needed to be. The fog was so thick that flights were getting canceled left and right. Luckily, mine wasn’t one of them. The trip to Wellington was very quick. I was pleased to see the eagles from The Hobbit hanging from the ceiling in the Wellington airport! How cool is that!
Two buses, an hour, and a fairly annoying backache later and I had made it to Helen’s house, where I am staying for the next three days. Her home is beautiful and has an amazing view. The entire upstairs is converted into a guest suite for Airbnb-ers. I was planning to take a nap and begin exploring but I ended up sleeping until Helen got home. She drove me around Wellington to help me get oriented and took my out to a delicious Malaysian dinner in her neighborhood. In addition to being a fabulous hostess, she is so much fun and has traveled everywhere (most recently to the Middle East)! She is such an inspiration to aspiring travelers like me!
Tomorrow I am going to head out to explore the town! (And take more pictures so I don’t have another lame post like today!)
Ps. I don’t usually put things like this in my blog, but this is a special situation. I want to congratulate my best friend, Anna, and her new fiancé, Adam, on their engagement! I’m so happy for you and I love you guys!