This is part of some travelling notes I wrote exactly 4 years ago for a trip to New Zealand in November 2004. Please enjoy the story.
Day 1, 06 November 2004, Saturday
Technically speaking, today was the actual first day on my tour package itinerary. But I wasn’t really concentrating on this. The flight attendants served breakfast, and this time I took it.
We landed in Auckland after 10 hours of flying, an 8404 kilometre flight straight from Singapore. Time in New Zealand was 11:40am. And my check in time for the transfer flight to Christchurch is 12:40pm! So I only have an hour to finish whatever I need to do. One would probably think there’s enough time, but I’m not going to take chances. I said goodbye to Richard, and alighted the plane.
The check out counter was slow. Man, was it slow! When I finally managed to get my luggage, it’s already 12:30pm! I rushed to check in counter. Argh! Wrong terminal! I need to go to the domestic terminal. Amazing Race music kept playing in my head now… Dragged my luggage to the internal shuttle service station, and kept wishing the driver would move already. Finally reached the domestic terminal, checked in just in time, and took the two and a half hour flight at 1:00pm, and arrived in Christchurch airport.
Retrieved my luggage from the conveyor belt, and saw my limousine transfer driver. He’s holding up a sign reading “Mr Tan”. That’s me! His car didn’t seem like a limo to me, but at this point I didn’t really care about the fine art of identifying car types. It’s bigger and grander than most cars, but that’s about my limit of vehicle differentiation.
The driver’s name was Bryce, and he handed me the travel vouchers and explained to me how to use them. Actually, after he explained the first two vouchers, I got the idea already, but he went on. All the way to the last voucher. Well I didn’t want to offend him, so I kept quiet and listened. On the way to the hotel, we talked about stuff. I only remember the NZ1400+ for a car…
Where I stayed for the night.
Arrived at the Kingsgate Autolodge Hotel, checked in, and after settling in, managed to move out at about 4:30pm. Walk, snap pictures, walk some more, snap pictures, got lost, don’t care, snap more pictures, got hungry, camera battery went flat, no extra batteries on me, still haven’t had dinner, took out Lonely Planet guide for help, walked back in general direction of hotel, and found DINER!!
Ate at Rosie’s, if I remember correctly. Didn’t want fast food on my first day. Will take cheaper food later on. Even if I do fly 8000 plus kilometres to eat at McDonald’s. Or Burger King. Or Kentucky Fried Chicken. Well, ordered cajun fish (NZ19.95) with hot chocolate (NZ4.00) and garlic bread (NZ4.50). Don’t know why I ordered the garlic bread. Didn’t know that cajun fish dish came with garlic bread as well.
Finished my dinner, walked some more and returned to the hotel. All the while, winds in Christchurch were howling like werewolves during full moon. Now I know what biting cold feels like… The sky here only started to darken at about 8:30pm (about 7:30pm in Singapore), but it was drizzling. And the sky was cloudy all day. *sigh* At least it didn’t pour.