Sunday, December 9, 2012

Traveling to Hobbit Land

Early Friday morning, at 5am, Andrew and I set off for our LONG plane ride to New Zealand.  Super excited, but definitely tired.  The trip was about 6 hours to San Francsico, leaving at 7am and arriving around 10am.  Then a long layover in San Fran with a departure at 7:30pm to Auckland.  The flight was scheduled to take 13.5 hours and land in the morning at 5:30am or so.  Then we fly an hour or so in to Christchurch arriving at 9:30am.

The 6 hour plane ride from Raleigh to San Fran was a doozy.  Made me dread the 13.5 hour flight ahead...We landed at around 9:50am in San Fran with some issues getting in to the gate...they actually parked too far and had to use a pulley to get us in place (or something like that).  After arriving Andrew and I found the BART train (after a bit of confusion) and headed downtown to walk around and meet my cousin Ken for lunch.  Our flight to Auckland didn't leave till 7:30pm, so we had a bit of time to explore.

This was my first time in San Fran :) We got off the train at the Embarcadero Station right near the pier.  We did a bit of looking around through a market and then decided we were going to try to find Chinatown so we cut on to Broadway St.  After passing about 7 strip clubs and feeling super awkward we started to see some things that seem more 'Chinatown' so we decided to cut down and see everything.  I'm pretty sure we were 1 or two blocks too short and missed it all, because what we went through wasn't too impressive.  Did see some neat buildings and the Church of Scientology though ;)

Our lunch reservation was at 12:45pm at Michael Mina...oh how lovely (and expensive) it was! Absolutely fabulous lunch.  I started with a salad and then went on to fish and chips and a fancy smores dessert.  Andrew had tuna then trout and then some fruity melon dessert.  We took pictures...

We had a great time getting to know my cousin Ken a lot better (who I haven't seen in probably 15 years or more) and chatting about all sorts of things.  Then around 3pm we left and headed back towards the train.  We were really worried about rush hour traffic so we headed back around 4 towards the airport.  After getting there we realized we WAY overcompensated on time.  The airport was EMPTY.  We had no line through security and got right to our gate within like 20 minutes.  Walking place to place took the most time. Better safe then sorry!

We boarded the plane and started exploring all the free movies.  They had some good ones!   So Andrew and I decided we would start with a movie.  We both watched the newest Bourne movie. Quite good.  Dinner came after that and we took a little sleeping pill with it to help us get through the overnight flight.  Worked well because we konked right out and slept almost the whole flight, waking up with just enough time to watch one more movie :) GREAT flight!

We arrived in Auckland on time...verrryyy early in the morning.  Andrew got his polo boots sent through the biolab because they were gross and muddy so after getting those back we walked to the domestic terminal.  You have to walk outside to get to it OR take a tram...we picked walking (after sitting for so long!).  On the way we spotted an air stream selling coffee! Had to snap a picture for mom ;)

Off to Christchurch we went, checking out the gorgeous views from the plane along the way.  All the mountains peeked up above the was awesome! Andrew pointed out all of the sites along the way and knew basically all of the mountains (impressive).  It was definitely a scenic flight!  The clounds covered for a lot but in most places they would open up.  We were on the wrong side of the plane though.  The Southern Alps were on the opposite side :( but maybe we'll get that view on the way home.

Around 9:30am we landed in Christchurch.  Andrew's sister Ashley picked us up and we headed off to watch his family play polo...not a bad start to the trip! His family has a farm where they raise horses for polo and sell them.  They also have some cow and sheep and a cute doggy named Diesel.  Christchurch is about an hour or so from where Andrew's family lives in Ashburton.  The polo match was somewhere inbetween.  Andrew got to ride a horse again for the first time in quite a while! He was nervous but did just fine ;) I forgot to take pictures of the polo match but we'll be watching more throughout the trip so I'll get some up at one point or another.  Got to try my first Speights (their beer of the south island) and a Ginger Beer (like a thick gingerale) and my first NZ sausage! Not bad so far!! The Speights was ehh, but Garth (Andrews dad) said its because it had been sitting out for weeks at that field so he had me try one at the house once we were back...definitely better haha.

Oh and P.S. Driving on the wrong side of the road is definitely strange...not sure if I'll ever get in on the right side of the car haha.  More to come later!

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