How You Survive 36 Hours of Traveling

May 15, 2013


Greetings from New Zealand!

(On the way to the airport!)

I just can’t get over the fact that I am halfway across the world in the future (hello international dateline!) in a foreign country. I started my day around 8am on Monday morning in St. Pete. I finished packing and got myself together. My family dropped me off at the airport around 12 and had to kill about two hours waiting for my 2:30pm flight. The flight from Tampa to Dallas wasn’t too bad, only about two and a half hours.

But then I had to kill another hour in that airport. What I have noticed about airports is this: people are strange, therefore people watching is awesome at airports, and they are almost like purgatory because you’re stuck in this in-between place– you’re in a city, but you cannot leave the gated area. What a tease.

(Sunset in Los Angeles)

My next flight took me to Los Angeles. Let me just state that this airport is confusing and I did not enjoy the experience of moving from the domestic terminal to the international one. I asked multiple people who all gave me less than satisfactory answers of how to get to where I was going. The important thing here is that I got to my gate (early, in fact by two hours). At this point, I had met up with the group and my anxiety of flying alone was gone. The Air New Zealand flight was extremely nice. Best aircraft ever. We had our own touch screens with a variety of decent, up-to-date movies, music videos, radio, games, flight info, and basically anything you could want except internet. There were multiple plugs and a USB connector which I used to charge my phone. I lucked out twice by getting the window seat and there was a space in between me and the other girl in my row and that allowed us to stretch out a little more. Surprisingly, the dinner and breakfast were pretty good (at least in my opinion), and after dinner they dimmed the lights and it made it easy to fall in and out of sleep. I slept on and off for about 7 hours of the flight. I would fall asleep for an hour… and then wake up and want to go back to sleep. It was almost like a forced group naptime, and I didn’t want to disturb anyone else by having my screen on.

By the time we got into Auckland, it was 6:15am their time on Wednesday, and 2:15pm on Tuesday. Our Tuesday disappeared and we were exhausted. We had to go through customs in NZ twice and then recheck our baggage for our final flight to Christchurch. There wasn’t too much waiting time at our gate, and the flight was only an hour long. We arrived in Christchurch around 10:30am. After we finally arrived, we went on a quick bus tour around the heart of the city and were dropped off at the mall to convert money and eat lunch. We smelled of something nasty from being in our clothes for 36 hours, so we all wanted to shower or at the very least change. Then, we had orientation where they went over our basic questions and the rules of the program again. It sounds like this is going to be a big balancing act of fun NZ time and studying and reading time. I hope that it doesn’t take away from my experiences here, but perhaps enhance them.

After orientation, we had dinner at the Flying Burrito Brothers which is down the road from our place. It was yummy, but everyone was so dead tired that we just wanted to sleep… and it was only 6pm! Their prices here seem high for everything though. I don’t think it’s just the conversion rate though. We should be getting more for our dollar to theirs and it’s still more expensive. Maybe I’ll learn about this later on. My guess is that it might have something to do with importing their goods to this remote island. Note to self: Look up how many miles it is from here to Tampa.

I am writing from Christchurch, which is in the South Island of New Zealand. This is our first stop on our adventure and we’ll be spending a few days here exploring.

These are my first impressions of NZ:

  • I love their accents! Can I just please talk like them?
  • They drive on opposite sides of the roads and it’s throwing me off.
  • They are very nice people from what I’ve encountered so far.

That’s it for now, it’s been a long day. Goodnight!