Monday, January 7, 2008

Cheers from the other side! (Kiwis are great!)

Greetings all.

I've arrived!

Is that enough to say? Would you believe it's raining here too? I thought I just moved to summer. Ok, it's a warm rain. I don't mind at all. There is still light out and it's nearing 9pm. That's a summer sign.

The trip here was mostly uneventful. I had a lovely stop with Uncle Brian and Andrew in LA. Then survived the mass confusion of LAX. Air Pacific was a sweet airline. The guy at check in just weighed my bag and quickly pulled it off the scale when it was 2.5 Kg over... no fees. The flight crew was equally great. I managed at least 8 hours of sleep on the plane, helped by the fact that we sat on the runway for 2 hours in LAX due to rain. I thought I was leaving the rain in Oregon.

Fiji was hot and humid. They had a band playing while we waited to go through security clearance. Thank goodness, since they only had ONE lane and about 500 people. Luckily I was in line with a Kiwi couple - in their 20's who chatted and wrote in my journal a list of things to see in Auckland and around.

After a very simple customs clearance and shuttle ride, I checked into my hotel. It's set up to be more like a home away from home. With a large communal kitchen, fridges in the rooms, etc. I think I prefer hostels. They're more friendly and knowledgeable about the stuff I want to do. But I did make myself at home- there's clothes strewn all over the room now. (Had to find some lost items in the monster duffle bags.)

After creating a giant mess of my hotel room, I took a shower and headed out to walk around town. Auckland's quite manageable. Nice folks. I found out about Vodafone and wandered into a large grocery store. They were broadcasting helpful messages like, "Don't eat too much candy, it's low in nutritional value and high in calories" and "Even 30 minutes a day of exercise makes a difference." A little helpful non-subliminal messages in the grocery store. Makes you think twice about buying piles of candy.

I wandered down to Parnell, a very old section of Auckland, where I heard they had free wifi. I found it. In STARBUCKS. Sorry. I cannot believe I went in there. But there was a girl in the window with her computer, so I figured I would take a shot. I met a lovely barista named Kiki, who later gave me her cell to text if I wanted. And a German girl named Carolin who is here on a work visa also. I take back anything mean I've ever said about Starbucks. It's already made me 2 friends.

So far, I feel normal. It's fun just learning new things every day.


hrag said...

what a difference a day makes, eh? and you hit the ground running exploring and making friends. nice. let's see pictures!

verdle said...

Auntie Verdle, being a dietitian, likes the idea of health broadcasting in the grocery! Find me a job there and I will come.
Sounds like so far things have gone smoothly. Our love flew with you on that long ride with those heavy bags. Looking forwarding to hearing about new chance encounters. We are waiting for the snow to arrive.
Love, Dee and Ross

Anna said...

Hey Sara. Am glad you made it to NZ!!! YOu are now a JAFFA!. haha I am not going to tell you what that stands for... You have have to go watch a rugby game in winter!!! as its our national sport. Some fine looking men in the team. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures. Makes me miss home. Take care

Molly said...

Hi Sara Bara!
It sounds like you are having fun already. It was fun to read about your start there. Can't wait to see some pictures! You'll have to keep us updated! Love you lots:)

shanta said...

well my dear - your reaction to Aukland is perfectly Sara! i'm happy you had a good starbucks experience. . .good can come from anywhere. i agree w/ molly and hrag -- where are the pictures?! you are inspiring. . .we are being couch potatoes this week here in the rain - although, i did go to Yoga on Monday! yeah love, shanta