Another Day, Another Country

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I have to admit – getting to New Zealand wasn’t easy. Why is it when you book your trip months in advance you think that the trade off of having a layover for less money is a good idea? I left Cape Town on a Friday morning at 7:30 AM and arrived in Auckland New Zealand at 2PM on Sunday. Need I say more?

On my first ‘long haul’ leg from Jo’burg to Hong Kong I was elated to find out that I had 12 hours to spend with a little TV at my seat and free booze! How in the world could I even think about sleeping when I had “The Devil Wears Prada” to watch! I got virtually no sleep on the flight – but ate and drank well and was rather entertained.

I arrived in Hong Kong a bit late and I was strung out tired and I didn’t feel too great (there was a rumble in my tummy…the joys of travel). I had initially intended to take the train into Hong Kong from the airport – but once I arrived in the airport all I really wanted to do was sleep and I didn’t feel like risking my stomach in a new city. Therefore I stayed put for my 13 hour hangover – I mean layover. If there was ever a good place to have this long of layover – it was HKIA (Hong Kong International Airport – I felt like I spent enough time to there to call it by it’s nickname).

There was shopping, eating, lounges and even a Coach store. I easily entertained myself and rested a bit, plus caught up on email. At 6PM my friend Marcus – my cute pilot friend from Colorado (I thought he would like that plug) – flew in from London to his home base of Hong Kong. Perfect – now I had a mate to talk to and have a drink with! I get so excited to meet up with people I know while on the road. Don’t get me wrong – it’s great meeting new people – but the joy of seeing a familiar face or voice is like being a kid on Christmas morning…pure joy!

Marcus had another pilot friend, Vache, that happened to be going through Hong Kong and was staying at the hotel in the airport (one of the few places I hadn’t been in the airport ) – so we headed over there to get our fill of free food and drink in the ‘pilot lounge’ (I honestly don’t know what it was called – but I really liked the sound of that). It was so fun to catch up with them, learn a little about what it was like to be an ex-pat in Hong Kong, and have a few drinks that would hopefully knock me out on my next ‘long hau’l leg to Auckland.

I was off again for a 10 hour flight to Auckland. I was hoping to catch a movie and then go to bed – but unfortunately my seat-mate had other ideas. He seemed innocent at first – so being the nice mid-western – I let him engage me in conversation for a bit…but then it went on, and on, and on, and on. This guy was really annoying. I tried to put on my headphones and watch a movie. I then had to show him how to work his little TV (why me?). He proceeded to turn and talk to me every so often during the movie. I would remove my headphones and annoyingly say with a NY attitude “What?” – thinking my bitchiness would scare him off. No chance…he then wanted to show me pictures of his fiance, yadda, yadda, yadda….pure torture. He also had no sense of personal space – spilling out into my personal space. I was tired and really annoyed. I don’t think he ever got the picture though…amazing considering I wear my emotions on my sleeve and everyone can tell when I’m bitchy and annoyed (right???!).

I made it to Auckland – home of the most thorough customs agents ever. I was stopped as I had biltong (beef jerky) as well as I was bringing in hiking boots from another country. They threw out my biltong and washed my hiking boots for me – so all in all – it didn’t turn out too bad…my boots at least got cleaned! I made it to my Bed and Breakfast in Auckland – and now the jet lag set in…really set in. I tried to stay awake by taking a ferry to an island in Auckland and having dinner. I found a loud, neighborhood pub and decided to go in and grab fish and chips (yes – I was in New Zealand – I didn’t take a wrong turn and end up in Scotland). I sat down, ordered a pint and in about 10 minutes some guy came over to talk to me…no – not some hot New Zealand boy – but the middle aged, bar drunk instead. It was so bad the bartender (who was a hot New Zealand boy) came over and asked if I was ok and if he should remove the guy. Joy…what a day.

I am now in this weird jet lagged state – waking up in the middle of the night for 2 hours and then finally falling back to sleep. When I lay awake trying to go back to sleep – it hit me…no longer am I thinking about a meeting I forgot to schedule, something that I need to make sure and remind Mitchell to do, a question I had for Varun, an issue that I needed to ’spin’ for the business – I was work-stress free! Instead – I was thinking about friends, family, past boyfriends, lovers,writing, and new people I met…but no Coach.

What a lonnnnnggggg day. The important thing – I made it to New Zealand – another country. Seventeen hours ahead of NYC – and many Kiwi adventures ahead of me.

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