New Zealand 2009 – 24th Day – driving back to Auckland Airport

Sorry…I am so late to post this blog that I typed in San Francisko airport while waiting for our flight to Vegas. All flights were good, we were back home in time, around 8:30 pm. The drive from Vegas was smooth, but we were both tired of the long trip. Our car stayed all that time at Parkers’ house in Vegas- because they are “the Parkers” – almost everyone from Springdale and Rockville use their good heart and park their cars there while on flying trips:



And at home, oh boy – lots of things to do, the garden to take care of, my Mom to amuse at least a little – she was so kind and devoted to come all the way from Lithuania and stay in our house alone while we were away. So here are my impressions I wrote while still on the way home:

So here we are in San Fran, as Kiwis call it in their habit to shorten the names. Our flight is delayed a little…as usual…When you fly international – they treat you so well, but once you get into any country, things change on inland flights. I don’t say that they treat us bad, but it is no fun any more. The New Zealand flight was fun, I didn’t want it to end. We each had our personal TV’s with a choice of hundreds of movies and TV shows, not speaking about games, that I never had time to try. They fed us very well, they gave us beer, wine and other alcohol. It was so nice that I didn’t notice how those 12 hours passed by. It was some disturbance on the way, but what can you do. The plain shivered for a while. On my way out I asked the pilot what was that – he said it is nothing, not to worry, as they usually say, just passing some high clouds.

The last day was good, except getting to the airport was nervous, as usual. We Left our last lodge in Rotorua:


and drove through a rather nice landscape past Rotorua – with vertical tall stones sticking from small hills – each hill had either a stone or a tree – like in a fairy tale, but we didn’t stop to take pics. Until we reached Miranda Hot Springs – and there we couldn’t resist – hot pools are one of our biggest entertainments! So we immersed together with a bunch of older people, almost no kids, very quiet, everyone meditating in a big warm pool or going for some hot bubbles in a smaller one.




That was a good relax before the long flight. I did some stretches in the water, our backs were good, it means the pools helped. They were mineral, directly form the earth’s depths.

After that we missed the sea which had to be by the pools, or vice verse, based on the map. Sometimes maps don’t help much. So we did a round trip and returned to the sea. It means that some areas in NZ are not so easy to figure out. On a nice shore we had our last lunch with a sea gull asking for her share and Andrei explaining her that there is a lot of more suitable food for her in the sea, just do not be lazy:


and then on another shore we finished packing our bags, sticking shells and stones in all shoes :-)…A bunch of ducks were keeping us a very cozy company!




In reward I fed them with bread, it left a very pleasant feeling. And we were already rushing to return the car in the airport. Apparently we didn’t analyze the directions enough, and count our time. It was a stressful experience to find the airport – once of a sudden the landscape from countryside changed into a city and maybe because kiwis always say “no worries” – they don’t bother putting enough signs directing to the airport when the roads make many turns and mingle. So after two stops to ask helpful drivers for directions and one panic attack – we found the right airport (there were signs to another local airport, too, and the main airport wasn’t distinguished on the signs as “International Airport” or at least “Auckland Airport”, it was just “Airport”). And we found ourselves at the Juicy Rentals exactly at 5pm when we were supposed to return the car.

That is it, we are back to our occupations. It is very good to have a Blog – no need to tell about your impressions after the trip :-). They are all here.

A couple more thoughts about New Zealanders – they are sharp, wherever we had to deal with them in hotels, info centers or airport – they are fast thinkers, very concentrated in their work, no disattracttions. Pleasant, but very formal, no jokes. Once we came back to the US – the officials in the airport are more human-like, at least they seemed to me. I mean you can talk personally to them a little, even chat. What concerns info – we got some good hints where to travel only from one lodge manager, but only a bit a day, very scarcely. In info centers they can direct you eagerly only into activities that are the paid ones. Nobody tells you what you can do on your own, you have to read yourself and figure it out. You can only ask them precice questions, and will get very short formal answers. They somehow show no interest in helping you to see as much as possible, in comparison, lets say with what I got in my experience in some info centers in the US parks, or what I share with my guests. On the whole, Kiwis are pleasant, easy going, very private people, very quiet and not interested in any sensations. Again – it is my impression after having too little interaction with them. Maybe it is completely wrong…