When you fly to NZ from CA it's an eleven and a half hour flight and it departs in the late evening. My home girl who is actually FROM NZ told me that it's magical because you watch a movie, have some dinner, drink some wine, fall asleep and then BOOM, it's breakfast time.
I really didn't believe her because OMG SO MANY HOURS ON A PLANE MIGHT KILL ME DEAD, but I'll be damned -- that's exactly how it worked out.
I did plan ahead and make a visit to my doctor to get some drugs to keep me from wanting to jump out of the plane because suddenly, after at least a dozen or so long haul flights under my belt, the flight home from Tokyo a couple years ago nearly killed me and I wanted to avoid a repeat. I had anxiety about the anxiety so I decided to just get some drugs. So I did and they were MAGIC.
ON OUR WAY!
Upon landing in Christchurch, our first order of business was to pick up the crappiest rental car I've ever rented, but it was cheap and we had full insurance so we weren't (as) afraid to damage it as we learned to drive on the other side of the road.
The second biggest challenge was figuring out the radio because everything was written in Japanese. We later learned that used Japanese imports are like the go-to cars in NZ because the Japanese people like new cars very often and the kiwis don't care if their cast offs have confusing radio buttons. This was just the opinion of our bed and breakfast lady a few nights later, but we'll go with it.
Third challenge: Finding the grocery store (we'd been advised to stock up on non-perishables as north as possible) and a drug store (I needed to buy a NZ hair dryer because I'm tired of blowing out fuses (or entire hotels) with my hair dryer and an adapter and I can't use the in-room hair dryers because they don't work with my necessary hair dryer accessories). We did eventually find both, and observed the first of VERY MANY things that led us to believe that people in NZ are obsessed with Corona:
It's an exotic import in New Zealand!
And then, still in the clothes we were wearing eight million hours earlier in California, we left the city and made our way south to Queenstown.
Basically, everything we'd heard about how gorgeous NZ was is true. I sort of took these reports with a grain of salt because I'm from California. It is amazingly gorgeous here.
But no, fellow CA natives. NZ wins, HANDS DOWN. Trust me when I say that the pictures don't even do it justice.
We finally arrived at our hotel riiiiiiiiiiiight before dinner service ended so we didn't take the time to change our clothes, we parked our asses down and enjoyed some wine and scenery with our dinners. It's worth noting that I was still on my pre-bungee jump diet so I ordered something that turned out to be strange but good. Carrie ordered a lamb salad that still has me confused. There was lamb and I think also stewed tomatoes and garbanzo beans, but no greenery at all. My dinner wasn't even a salad, but came with a big pile of greens that I happily shared with my home girl, but it was not the first meal where what we'd ordered did not at all arrive as expected.
Here I am in the dining room, enjoying the internet like a tacky but internet-hungry tourist:
Day One: THE END.