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Saturday March 15 6:03 - We just cleared U.S. customs which took just under 1 hour. Emma's mom gave us a ride to the airport. By midmorning we will be in LA where we have 9 hours to kill. Then a 12 hour flight to Auckland N.Z.
It seems that no matter what you do to pass time in an airport time nearly stands still.
When we landed in LA the little boy sitting in front of us asked "where is Mickey Mouse".
We got a day room at the Hacienda Hotel. Much better than spending the day in LAX. It's raining in LA so exploration is not an option, so lunch, movies on TV and nap were the intinerary for the afternoon.
The rain has stopped and we are back at LAX. 2 hours to go till we board the direct flight to New Zealand. So far everything has gone smoothly and security has been not a problem for us. Basically let the security and customs people do their jobs and we go about getting to our destination. I am finding that a little knowledge and being prepared for airport security makes the traveling experience go rather smoothly.
Yippie we are on the plane.
Monday March 17 - The plane ride has gone well so far. Had a meal, listened to some tunes, done some reading. Sleeping has not been easy for me, Emma seems to be doing fairly well in the sleeping department. The baby a few rows up has been traveling well. I think the bady only makes a fuss when hungry or in need of being changed.
My Casio PDA which I am writing this on allows me to set a second time zone, and for example switch easily between Calgary and Auckland time. 24 hours ago we boarded the plane in Calgary to take us to LA.
You may have noticed that there is no entry for Sunday the 16th. No I have not lost track of time, but with crossing the international date line we loose a day, but get it back on the return flight.
We landed early in Auckland, got our bags, went through customs, then transferred our bags for the domestic flight to Christchurch on the south island. We then chose to walk to the domestic terminal where we caught the plane to Christchurch. The 1 km walk outdoors was a refreshing change from sitting in airport terminals and in aircraft.
Short flight down to Christchurch where we picked up our bags and were picked up by the car rental agency. Then the fun started with us having our first stab at driving on the opposite side of the road compared to back home in a car with the driver on the right hand side of the car. Needless to say it was more than just interesting driving to the bed and breakfast where we will spend our first night in NZ.
Nice cosy room in the bed and breakfast which is a short walk across the river to downtown Christchurch. We had a nice hot lunch in a pub the headed back to our room for a little rest.
Off being tourist visiting the cathedral, rested on the river bank, walked the streets and visited an art market in what looked to be an old school or university campus. We picked up some fudge and souvenirs.
Supper of roast lamb then early to bed.
Tuesday March 18
Happy birthday Emma.
The bed and breakfast served up a great breakfast of cold cereal, fresh fruits and eggs. We then checked out so we could hit the road south to Timaru where Emma's grandparents on her mother's side of her family live.
Nice 2 hour drive from Christchurch to Timaru. Good roads and not too much traffic. A little odd not seeing large cars, SUVs and such on the road. Lots of trees line the roadway so often we couldn't see much. The rivers we crossed were very low or dry would later be explained by Emma's grandad is due to them all being fed by the run off created by the spring melting of the snowpack in the nearby Southern Alps. It was interesting to see fields being irrigated with what to me look like giant lawn sprinklers. Also saw sheep pasture being irrigated by small stationary sprinklers which I would never see being done back home.
We easily found the grandparents home. We had a nice visit and midday meal before Emma and I headed out on foot down the street to the Pacific Ocean. Very nice to see, hear, and touch the Ocean. We both got our feet we in the cool/cold water with me managing to get my shorts wet too. After a bit of rock collecting we headed into the botanic garden for a little detour on the way back to the house.
After tea with grandma in the shotgun position so she could navigate, we headed of to the Warehouse for a bit of shopping. We picked up a pair of America's Cup sun hats, a Lord of the Rings tour book and a copy of the Road Code.