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In the land of the Kiwis

So Aurelie and I have arrived safe and sound in Auckland, New Zealand. It was quite the adventure getting here and I'll try to recount some of the more noteable points.

Here's the intinerary:
(All times are listed local to their location)
9:45am Paris -> 10:15am London 2.5 hours travel
6 hours waiting
4:15pm London -> 8:30pm Los Angeles 12 hours travel
1 hour waiting
9:30pm -> 5:30am Auckland 13 hours travel

Our flight from Paris to London was not associated with our flight from London to Auckland, hence the reason we gave ourselves lots of time at Heathrow airport (6 hours).

We left Wednesday morning with Aurelie's mom, Janet, driving us to airport. Early into our trip we take a wrong turn and end up going towards Paris. In an attempt to correct the mistake Janet turns on to another highway but this only makes things worse and 45 minutes later we end up exactly where we started, albeit a lot more stressed (complete panic) with the fear that we would miss our flight to London.

In the end, everything worked out ok and we got to the airport just on time. Poor Janet was so worried that we would miss our flight but she did remain calm. She was there to see us off.

When we checked in our bags at Charles de Gaulle the check-in staff talked us into doing a transfer with our luggage so that our bags would automatically be put on the flight from London to Auckland. I was hesitant with this idea since our two flights were not associated but they assured us that they do this kind of thing was done all the time.

At Heathrow we had 6 hours to spare, we even thought about going into London but a security guard advised us against it since it would take a while to get through security, etc. We ate a nice lunch and then went to the check-in desk at 1:00pm, 3 and a half hours before our flight left. The woman at the desk was very nice and very helpful especially when she told us that our luggage was not checked in for NZ and was probably still spinning around on the carousel. Fantastic!

After a few calls, she told us that all of our luggage had been picked up and was being held in the customs hall. We would have to return to Terminal 1, claim our bags and then return to Terminal 3 and recheckin for the flight to Auckland.

So off we went to Terminal 1, a little tired and stressed. We had to fill in landing cards to leave and collect our bags ... thankfully it was quick and painless going through customs. With our luggage safe, we returned to Terminal 3 just in time to checkin (we were one of the last people to do so).

The flight was long. Very long. When we arrived in Los Angeles, we were exhausted and the realization that we had to do the same thing again loomed before us. I slept for a long time on the plane and woke up to find out that 7 hours of flying still remained.

By the end of our journey a horrible stench was coming from underneath my arms. The combination of stress, spray-on deodorant and a 30 hour t-shirt had finally taken its toil.

I must admit that everything in relation to New Zealand has gone smoothly, from our flight with Air Zealand, the approval of our visas, and the reservations with our hostel, we have not had any problems thus far.

The weather is nice, switching from bright sun to torrential downpour every half hour.

Now all that's left is finding a place to live, finding a car, and finding jobs. How hard can that be?

27th May 2005 | Filed in blog