Sunday, January 30

On the plane from Los Angeles to Auckland.

Today was a really hard day for travel. It was tough to say goodbye to everything I know and am familiar with. All comforts gone, I waited with my mother at the Duluth airport for the first flight. I had said goodbye to the pets, friends, family without a single tear. The flight was fine, but the plane was late.
Unfortunately, this made us late for the next flight and we didn’t end up making it. We then had to try and get on the next airplane from Chicago to LA. We were told that it was full and that we could get on the wait-list. We were numbers 4&5 on the initial initial wait-list, and was a little scary to just sit and wait to see if we had to spend the night in Chicago or LA. Fortunately, we were able to get on the flight and literally RAN through LA to get to our New Zealand Air flight.
We only had 20 minutes to be able to get through the entire airport from our arrival gate to the departure gate. They had taken us off the list for the flight, but since we had made it, they told us that they would try to get us back on with the last two seats left. It was really nice of them, and we were able to FINALLY get back on schedule. We hadn’t eaten all day, except for the food that Peg gave us for our daypacks. I was becoming hypoglycemic with a small headache, so when they told us food was being served on the flight not once, but twice, my mom and I were exhilarated. So, my mom has currently watched 2+ movies, I have been trying to sleep. We are sitting next to this wonderful lady who told us all the best places to go on the island because she is a native. So we know where to go and what to do.
I still have six hours left on my flight, but I don’t know what to do other than try and sleep. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can anymore, even though I’m super tired. My mom has no trouble sleeping on the plane. She just puts on another movie and falls asleep within 5 minutes of it turning on. I”m a little jealous. Oh well. Hopefully when we get to our destination, we have a good time making it. Well, thats all for now.

2:19AM NZ time.

In the wonderful Fraurisenhaus (or however you spell it) hostel after fighting our way through Auckland Airport.

So, after a super tight connection in LA (only 20 minutes to get to our flight before it took off) where our only savior was a REALLY nice Avis bus driver who volunteered to take us from terminal 7 to terminal 2 at LAX. It was a 20+ minute walk or a 10 minute bus ride if it left immediately. So this guy single handedly got us onto our New Zealand flight. The connection was so tight that the flight attendants had cancelled our seat reservations because they knew we were on the later LAX flight. They were SO surprised when we got there and were panting at their desk! HA! Grace and Lucy work another small miracle! So, that was pretty awesome. :)
Unfortunately, because we made our tight connection we left our luggage behind. It will be coming later this week to Nelson Airport where we will pick it up before we go to Abel Tasman Park. Hopefully it will get there and we will be able to swiftly pick it up. Another bit of good news: my cell phone works over here. It IS on roaming charges, but it works! So, if the airport have a cell number to call when the luggage gets here. If all goes well we’ll get the luggage as we roll through Nelson.
In Christchurch we checked into our hostel after taking a shuttle, no driving yet! We got gyros from Dimitri’s, got some shampoo and face-wash from a pharmacy, and cleaned up! We have our only clothes in the wash so we’re wearing rain gear...super hot look. <3 Oh well, we are never fashionable anyways. Thats all for now TTFN!

You can’t imagine the excitement your mojo bar brought to our first leg of the journey… Our first flight to Chicago was a small commuter flight where we were jammed in like spam in a can. I was seated next to a young very professional female optometrist dressed in a business suit and only inches away from the watchful eye of Keith, our intense air steward. I was feeling a little bit peckish. I remembered that you had given me the care package with the mojo bar. I ravenously dove into it. We were experiencing some significant turbulence at the time and Keith, our polite but firm steward had instructed us to remain SEATED with SEAT BELTS fastened. Out of the corner of my eye, sans glasses, I thought I had dribbled some bit of bar onto my seat. However, I was not allowed the luxury of standing at the time so I cast my hand surreptitiously under my bottom in a vain effort to retrieve the nasty bit. It was very hot in the cabin. Once we were out of the turbulence, I made a better effort to assess the damage. Well of course the bit that dropped down under my ass was chocolate(even though the majority of the bar was nuts) and now it was smeared all over it. My seat mate was clearly appalled at the situation and readily offered up her napkin. Keith caught wind of the whole situation and wondered if he could help. I handed him the brown smeared napkin and suggested that it was best not to ask. He brought over mass quantities of disinfectant, papertowels,napkins, etc. I stood up with my ass tilted toward my seatmate, the optometrist, and she kindly obliged wiping off my bottom while the entire forward compartment roared in laughter. Grace seated directly behind me stated ‘That is not my mother.‘ I am so glad that I am 50 something so that I could laugh just as heartily as everyone else.


Our luggage is now in Christchurch, while we are in Nelson. This sucks because we booked a tour of Abel Tasman without all of our gear. I have only 2 changes of clothing and mom only has one. bummer. Oh well, we'll pick up a few essential items and borrow a few from a friend here and all will be well. Cheers.

Sunday, January 16


Here's the deal. My mom and I leave on Jan. 27, 2011 and don't arrive until the 29th of January. SO, don't expect many blogs to happen during that time. We take about 6 planes and hope that our luggage makes it safely. Also, all the words in BLUE are links to websites explaining the location. Enjoy!

Planned itinerary for the epic beginning:

Location 1: Stay at the Frauenreisehaus in Christchurch and chill out. We'll probably spend the entire day trying to recover from 24+ hours of flight. If we feel up to it we might go and work on some surfing skills. Yes, we will avoid being eaten by sharks or stung by jellyfish. No, we won't wear helmets.

Location 2: If surfing goes well, we'll stay and play the rest of the day away! Also, traveling outside of the city to look at the mass amounts of sheep in the hillsides. LKF (Little Known Fact) New Zealand has a 9:1 sheep to human ratio. I hope they perform the LED sheep choreography like in this video!

Location 3: This day is a little fuzzy. We could catch some rays at the beach or we could start our adventure to the wonderful Abel Tasman Park. We'll stay in the huts on the long sandy beaches and hopefully see some dolphins while tramping. Sea kayaking might also happen here. There are supposed to be some awesome sea caves to explore.

Location 4: We'll then travel down the west coast and try to see the RAINFORESTS!!!! Wow. I am super excited to go there. We'll going to go hiking there. The surrounding city is called Punakaiki, but the rainforest is in Papora National Park.

Location 5: We might stop at the Okarito Lagoon which is host to the only white heron colony in New Zealand. It is also the countries only unmodified tidal inlet. There are orchids, rainforest and more than 70 species of birds. Some people compare it to the Amazon.

Location 6/7: We'll hopefully stay and hike on the two main glaciers that are accessible to trekkers. One glacier is called the Franz Joseph Glacier, and the other is called the Fox Glacier. Both are supposed to be spectacular where the terminal face of the glacier cuts right through the rainforest. So, a super hike that day!

Location 8: Since it is a 6 hour drive to the Glaciers to Milford Sound, we might take a break at Queenstown. Queenstown is one of the locations where Lord Of the Rings was filmed. Pictures will be taken, don't worry LOTR fans! :) Queenstown is also the place where most of the extreme sports occur. We'll see how adventurous we feel!

Location 9: Milford Sound is the 8th wonder of the world according to Rudyard Kipling. The sound is the most stunning fjord in a park full of them! The sheer rock walls plunge thousands of feet to the sea and friendly seals and dolphins are eager to visit. The whole sound is surrounded by snow capped mountains! I can't wait!

Location 10: We'll head back to Christchurch to meet with my host-mother. Her name is Michelle Meynell. This is the address and description that I was given:

Michelle Meynell
1 Nunweek Boulavard
PH: 3533 429
Children: None
Pets: None
Time to University: 10 minutes walk 10 minutes on the bus.

Michelle has a lovely modern home in a new subdivision. She enjoys
gardening and is part of a vintage car club. Michelle worked for Quanta's
airways in Australia for many years but has come back to NZ after the death
of her Father a few years ago to support her mother.

She seems like a really nice person. The address given is the address I can receive mail at!

Well. That's it for now. I'll post when I get there! :)