Monday, August 11, 2008


WE MADE IT!! YES!!! And we have to give props to the airline industry because all three flights went off without a hitch. All on time, customs was a breeze, and our luggage arrived. We successfully knocked ourselves out with Dramamine on the flight from LA to Auckland, although you know it's a long flight when you wake up after 6 hours of sleep and realize you're not halfway there yet. Ouch.

Once we landed in Auckland, we still had a 3.5 hour drive to Paihia, which is north. We picked up the rental car (automatic, thank goodness) and started driving... on the left side. I'm going to let Lee tell you about driving in New Zealand. It was a beautiful day yesterday, comparable to a nice day in the fall, although greener, in Ohio. About 60 degrees, chilly, but sunny.

We got to Paihia, which is a tourist resort in the summer, but it pretty dead right now. We are staying in this awesome apartment, which looks like a little treetops bungalow. The owners, Liz and Garth, are so nice and made sure we had bread, yogurt, jam/marmalade, tea and coffee, and fresh picked oranges and grapefruit (from their tree) waiting for us.

To get over the jet lag, we told ourselves we weren't going to sleep or nap until the evening, so we immediately went to see the Treaty of Waitangi grounds, which I'll let Lee talk about in his post. They were gorgeous, but didn't take very long to see, only about an hour and a half. We then took the 10-minute ferry to this town called Russell, which is one of the oldest settlements in New Zealand. While this sounds super exciting, it really wasn't. But we saddled up at a little pub and had a couple of handles (read pint) of Sleight's, which Derek Rogers told us was the NZ beer. (Derek: so good... thanks for the rec!)

We headed back to our little apartment at about 5:00, had dinner, and started watching the Olympics, all covered, obviously from the NZ perspective. Let me tell you, we watched with full analysis and commentary, between last night and the morning news today, the replay of the NZ equestrian falling and dropping out of the competition about 15 times. Although, America will be happy to note that the Kiwis are giving significant coverage to Michael Phelps.

I totally wimped out on the staying up until 9:00 PM last night and fell asleep, get this, before 7:00 PM and slept until about 6:00 AM today. I think my body is pretty much adjusted now, which is great. We woke up to rain, rain, rain. It feels like Europe.

I'm not quite sure what we're going to do today, but I'll be content to just hole up in a little pub, read our travel book, and chat it up with the locals. haha. Alright, I think that's about it! More later!!

P.S. Even though this post is date-stamped Monday, August 11th, I am writing on New Zealand's Tuesday, August 12th... weird!! (The Office fans... think "Future Dwight".)

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