New Zealand Diaries #2 (Courtesy Laura McCullough)

Pre-New Zealand* (Hawaii for Christmas!) part 2**

26 Dec. Wake around 8:00, pretty exhausted still. A slow breakfast on the lanai: pineapple, banana, yogurt, POG juice, cheese, and boiled eggs. Wander out to the beach again. There is a beach warning up: Jellyfish. Signs all over the place. Stay out of water! Despite the warning, many are in the water. And many get out of the water to go to the lifeguard station for jellyfish sting treatment. Lots of folks with bags of ice held to various body parts. Quite unimpressed with the parents of the 2yo whom they were treating for a sting. Read the signs, people! There is a huge military ship far off in the water. Several para-sailors out a ways. One adventurous group of tourists was in a large catamaran, paddling away. There are a lot of homeless people here, sleeping in the beach huts. The surf instructors seem to be a tight community. One sits down on the bench next to us with his breakfast. A barefoot little girl approaches him cautiously, no parents in sight. He offers her a bite. Obviously he knows her but she isn’t his. Police officer walking the beach said good morning to two likely-homeless older people on the bench near us. He went out surfing later, she was applying makeup. Surfers are in good shape–you have to be. One surf instructor is typical polynesian body type with wide shoulders and broad chest. Gorgeous long black hair. He carries a surfboard back to the hut one handed, board straight up. Then he tosses it in the air and catches it to put it away. I admit to admiring that one a bit!

We walked to the same fish tacos place for lunch. They were that good. Walked back to hotel via the canal. Fish fish fish! There is a tiny 3-story building visible from our room in the midst of skyscrapers, so we find it to identify it. Cooper Apartments. How old must this building be? Several of the hotels have pools with koi, and we see the biggest koi we’ve ever seen. It must have been well over a foot long and very thick. Definitely seeing the carp side of the family there. Back to the hotel for a poolside mai tai, taking advantage of the free wifi there. It’s hot and humid and sunny, so we perforce are staying in the shade in a little pavilion poolside. Another dinner on the lanai of banana, pineapple, ham, cheese. I finish off the bottle of barely adequate wine, while Kelly tries a pineapple rum drink from a can. His drink is quite good! More lounging about–the Honolulu interlude is all about resting up for the real trip.

27 Dec. Today we leave Hawaii for New Zealand! Uber excited! Up around 7:30 for a five-fruit breakfast: pineapple yogurt, passion-orange-guava juice, and fresh papaya halves with lemon. I guess that is six fruits! We check out at noon, but our airport shuttle picks us up at 7:30 pm. Mostly a day of rest. Walking around, looking at people, looking at the beach. Tacos for lunch, and then tacos for dinner too. Yes, they really were fantastic. And we were in the land of chain restaurants, so this at least was local food. Several hours spent poolside with mai tais. Great service from the poolside bar. We picked up our luggage at 7:00 pm and went to wait for our 7:30 shuttle. The 7:00 shuttle showed up around 7:15 so we grabbed that one. Turns out President Obama was in town and there were lots of traffic jams all over. We had an exciting loooooong trip to the airport with secret service agents and local police officers re-directing traffic. Our flight check-in period ended at 2030 and we arrived at 2020. Cutting it close! No problem at check-in despite the 7 kg carry-on limit and our bags are 9 and 10 kg. Great service from Air New Zealand at check-in. Usual annoying wait outside the waiting room (most Hawaii flights do this). And the usual crabby people heading home from Hawaii. We’ve had flight attendants tell us they love the flights TO Hawaii, with excited people starting vacation. They don’t love the return flight with sunburned crabby exhausted people. Another wait in the waiting room, and then we board our flight to New Zealand!

NZ Travel Diary #1

NZ Travel Diary #2

NZ Travel Diary #3

*I’ve been traveling in Hawaii and New Zealand and will be posting links to the pictures soon.

**Whenever we travel my wife does a travel diary while I take most of the pictures. I use her notes as my references for later use for books and other things. She has been gracious enough to allow me to share them here on my site for those who are interested.