Sunday, February 8, 2009

Adieu, New Zealand

We're back in Auckland now, packing furiously for our 9:15 flight tomorrow morning to Tokyo, then after a brief lay-over at Narita, to Honolulu and a few weeks in the islands of Hawai'i. (According to United Airlines, New Zealand is part of Asia and thus our Asia Pass). Our flight from Dunedin today at least afforded a good look at Mt. Doom, there in the middle of the North Island, which we missed in the clouds at Xmas. Unfortunately, the pilot would not stop for us to toss in the Ring.

I am sure I'll be reflecting on New Zealand, like China, as long as I live, although for different reasons. We thoroughly enjoyed our time here, more than thoroughly, people, scenery, experiences. Of all the places we have visited, it is the one to which we will return first. I am sure I will write more about Kiwis and New Zealand again.

Vicki adds...February 9, 2009—Auckland

Today we gain back the day we lost last September. However, we spend it in the air. Ten hours from Auckland to Tokyo and then an unknown number to Honolulu. I can't even remember my last blog post. My knee has finally decided it has had all it can take of trekking or even walking, so I have had to be careful of it the last few days. So much for my theory that if I just exercised it a lot, it would return to youthful health.

We did buy a Big Island Lonely Planet guide in Dunedin and have enough info now to make rough plans. However culture shock is surely going to set in, especially with prices. Even budget rooms seem to be $100 a night. We did finally find rental cars that were reasonable. Maybe we will take this homeless stuff all the way and just sleep in the car. We do plan on trying tent camping at Volcano National Park—if it's not raining, that is. Backpacking tents aren't much fun in tropical rainstorms. Four weeks from today we will be back in Missoula. I am more excited about that then even seeing Kauai and Hawaii.

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