I’m currently sitting in the kitchen area of Kylie’s residence, and while the weather outside is slightly gray and overcast, it’s about 19 degrees. So I will begrudgingly accept it.
While yes, I am currently in Christchurch, New Zealand, this post will detail how I got here. It was a total journey that, from doorstep to doorstep, took about 36 hours.
My first flight was from Toronto to Vancouver, departing at 2 p.m. on April 2, Toronto time. Now, the recommendation by the airport is to arrive 90 minutes prior to your flight, in order to get through security and to your gate, etc. we wanted to arrive a bit earlier than that, just to ensure I got on my flight, so we left my driveway at 9:30 a.m. We figured this would get me to my gate waiting area by no later than noon.
Well, there was zero traffic, and apparently not a lot of people fly on Wednesday morning/afternoons, because I was seated at my gate waiting at 10:30.
Still, I have the mindset of ‘better early than late’ when it comes to things like this, so I bought a book and settled in to wait. It passed relatively quickly, and I boarded no problem.
The flight to Vancouver went pretty quickly. I had a nice aisle seat – thanks to my mom, who booked all my tickets – and alternated between reading and watching Pacific Rim – which wasn’t too terrible. The plane touched down five hours later, and at 4:30 Vancouver time, I found myself sitting at the International Food Court, enjoying my first BC experience. On the way, I saw this sweet aquarium. In the airport.
Oh, and I managed to find someone I haven’t seen in almost a year.
We caught up, and Nicole showed me some mountains out the window. It was quite the experience, I guess. Then, after chugging down my last Tim Hortons coffee for the foreseeable future, it was back through security and down to my gate, just in time to check in and board the plane to Auckland.
Now, this was the long-ass flight I was sort of dreading. Fourteen hours in seats that typically aren’t designed for people who are 6 foot 4. However, it seemed fortune was on my side. Mrs. Parkes had managed to secure me a desirable seat – in fact, some lady complained to me that she always tried to get it and never could – at the very back of the airplane. What made this seat so desirable was that it was one of just two in the aisle, as opposed to the normal three. This mean I had two seats to spread my long, dancer legs out – or it would have. However, the person beside me missed their flight, so I actually had three seats to myself! This came in quite handy when I passed out from exhaustion. Ten hours of sleep, mixed with some Elite Beat Agents on my Nintendo 2DS, and two movies – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Frozen – the flight actually went by quite quickly. They also served a pretty good dinner, and a scrumptious breakfast.
Upon landing, I had to pick up my luggage to take it over to domestic flights. There was a free shuttle to the domestic terminal, but I decided to stretch my legs and take the 10 minute walk.
By the time I made it to my gate I was utterly exhausted, drenched in sweat, and aching in my shoulders and back. I with a brief stop at a little café – making my first NZ purchase a Powerade and double-chocolate muffin – I took up a seat and sat there for essentially the next six hours. Yes, we got in at 6 a.m. on April 5 Auckland time – 1 p.m. April 4 Toronto time – and my flight to Christchurch wasn’t until 11:15 a.m.
I wiled away the time alternating between playing EBA, staring at people, and soaking in the NZ accent. I believe I also slept sitting up with my arms crossed on a few occasions.
And finally, at about 11:30, we were called to board. The last leg of my 36+ hour trip went smoothly, with a cookie snack and me passing the hour-and-a-half flight playing euchre on my phone (on flight mode, obviously).
When we landed and filed through into the Christchurch airport, I was met by Kylie’s flatmate Susie, who had generously agreed to pick me up from the airport since Kylie was teaching. I later learned she only did so to get an opportunity to make fun of my “Canadian accent,” whatever that might be. We got back, her driving on the wrong side of the road the whole way, and I gladly collapsed onto the bed, throwing my bags to the floor.
Kylie had left me a delightful little “welcome to NZ” package.
It included a lot of coffee stuff – thank god – as well as some miso soup mix, chocolates, and a few other items. I really wanted to nap, but instead I took a quick shower to be presentable when Kylie got home.
She arrived at 3 p.m. Christchurch time. I was trying to plan what to say, but she saved me from it by bursting into tears as soon as she walked in. Then we took selfies.
At this point, I was starving, so Kylie and I took a walk to a nearby mall in Upper Riccarton, and then went to a concert some of her students were in at Papanui High School. I know nothing about music, but it sounded good, and everyone said it was good, so it must have been good!
Shortly after returning we went to bed. At 10:30. I guess all that traveling caught up with me. It’s now Saturday afternoon here, and soon we’re going to go exploring. My next post will be a nice little list for those of you who may get stuck in super-long layovers. Follow me on twitter to keep up with the adventure!