All with that friendly Kiwi welcome
24.11.2007 - 24.11.2007 15 °C
The first thing you realize about New Zealand is just how much the authorities want to be sure you’re leaving (after spending a hefty wad of tourist dollars, of course). This is the first of twenty countries visited that has insisted on evidence of our departing flight: it wasn’t enough to share our confirmation number, or even to show the paper tickets back to San Francisco (from Sydney, via London). We actually had to pull out our computer and find proof of our e-tickets out of New Zealand. And in this day and age – honestly – who carries copies of paper tickets? If Lloyd and I had done so, we’d have been carrying a wad of paper as thick as your Sunday newspaper around for the last five months.
The fact we’ve been travelling for as long as we have means that New Zealand could be paradise-on-earth and I still wouldn’t come close to giving up that ticket home. The immigration official wasn’t too happy when I told her that, but frankly the whole exchange was a little smug on the New Zealand side, like “of course you’ll want to stay in our fabulous country, even if you don’t know it yet”. To be fair, after so long on the dive-boat, my brain was still swaying to and fro on a bumpy ocean at this point, so I might have been grumpier than usual, but if your country is so stinking great, go ahead and implement a visa system of some sort and give people a hard time BEFORE they enter the country. Rant over.
So, the start of our ten days in New Zealand! We’re sticking firmly on the south island, but even that will mean we’ll be rushing about a bit to see everything we want to. Our mode of transportation? Well, we were looking for something we hadn’t yet utilized at any other stage of our trip, so it just had to be a campervan! Of course, we are the type of people that chuckle at RVs back home in the States, but we may just be converted by the end of our trip…
House on wheels.
The initial briefing was a little intimidating with gas tanks and waste tanks and toilet cartridges and grey water to worry about. But Lloyd quickly had it all under control and we were off to the supermarket to buy everything we’ve been missing for the last five months!
Finally. Got Milk.
We checked into our first campervan park and – hey – these things are pretty cool! The facilities (kitchens, bathrooms, laundry areas) were spotlessly clean, and the atmosphere safe and welcoming. Frankly, far superior to many “hotels” we’ve stayed in over the last several months.
This being New Zealand, we decided to enjoy rack of lamb and mint jelly for our first home cooked meal since about the middle of May when we sold the house. Of course, Lloyd cooked a perfectly medium-rare rack, with scrumptious boiled new potatoes and broccoli, but couldn’t really enjoy it himself as he seems to be coming down with some nasty throat infection. Hopefully he’ll feel better tomorrow.
Lambing season just behind us, we can confirm the lamb is tasty this year.