We made it to Kuala Lumpur with a minimum of fuss, deep vein thrombosis, and functioning television equipment. There, in what is surely the planet’s quietest airport we had a much needed stopover to stretch and freshen up before squeezing back on board for the 2nd leg of please-don’t-start-screaming-child-fest 2011.
With the exception of 5 minutes on that 2nd flight, Sanne was brilliant, and in fairness, there was more than one point during those 30 hours travelling that I wanted to scream my head off so I’m going to call it a success. Having left bizarrely balmy Holland on Friday tea-time, we arrived in a wet and blustery Auckland at Sunday lunch-time.
The first thing you notice there? They don’t mess around with bananas, or any fruit or foodstuffs for that matter. You would have an easier time getting into the country with a half dozen heroin filled hand grenades in a handbag labelled ‘Cocaine’ than with a granny smith neatly packed away amongst your underpants.
In a complete blur we made it to the hotel where we flopped around and slept and flopped around some more all the way into Monday. The 2nd thing you notice here? The combination of (the nowhere mentioned in any guidebook) hills of Auckland and jet-lag is a bastard. A leg sapping, wanting to fall asleep on a park bench at 2pm bastard. By Tuesday, everyone’s body clocks started to act less like the cast of ‘True Blood’ and more like irritatingly early starters.
Auckland is a pretty normal cosmopolitan city; mocha chinos, food courts, iPhone wielding hipsters, half dozen Irish pubs, and hop-on, hop-off tour busses. What makes it abnormal, and unique, are the city parks that have sprung up out of volcano craters, the simply glorious Waitemata harbour and it’s islands (more bloody volcanoes), the sight of rugby balls being thrown across street intersections, the brilliant city museum, and the fact you can get a life story from anyone that sells you a bottle of water.
Sanne has taken picking and choosing which locals she deems worthy of being called ’nice!’ to their face, which get the double ‘hi!’ & ‘bye!’ waves, and which don’t get a second glance. I got to taste my first TimTam, the biscuits that Aussies seem more proud of than Kylie Minogue, and I’ve news for them, they are just penguin bars, we’ve had them for years.
A couple of more days here would be nice, acclimatising swallowed up too much time, but the fact it’s 4:30am and the child is still asleep is a small price to pay.
From the tourist filled, festival vibe of Auckland, we leave today for Christchurch, recently hit by an earthquake, with no idea what to expect.
Curiouser and curiouser, said Alice.
|Waitemata harbour cruise - Sanne couldn't get enough of hanging over the sides.|