There are more pictures, but finding a reliable connection is proving problematic on our travels. I’ll try to update the entries with pictures when I can. Additional photos will (slowly) be posted here too.
After setting out pre-dawn in the east, we landed before lunch in the west… in time to meet up with friends and family for greasy food (a friend to those in transit) and craft beer. (I made the mistake of ordering Grower’s pear cider. When will I learn? I don’t like Grower’s ciders!). It was a much-appreciated mellow of sociable chit chat that helped both to whittle away at our 9+ hour layover, but also to re-establish my body’s energy levels (it’s only 10 am!). Besides that, it’s always nice to see folks you don’t often chance to.
Above is a section of the crazy table we sat at. My cousin and I struggled a little to perch our plates on the metal nautical star design,but the squishy chairs were well worth it.
After a little more than 13 hours on the plane (our flight was almost a whole hour early arriving!) I am only a little ashamed to say that our first stop was at McDonald’s. I wanted grease, The Boy wanted coffee, and we both wanted free wireless access. Besides, it was in the mall where we were waiting for our bus, so… why not?
It seems the fates agreed with our decision in any case, because in the time it took us to eat, the skies changed from cloudy grey drizzle to cheery, sunny blue. I’d post a picture of the delicious-looking (hmph) pastry The Boy had, but it was gone before I could snap a shot. To top everything off, there was a sparrow flitting about the place while we were there; an awesome welcome!
After that, we took a little walk around the just-waking-up mall, scouted the grocery store for things to buy once we get to Rotorua (they have instant oatmeal! I am so relieved!) and also stocked up on bananas for the day, as well as TimTams. (If you are unfamiliar with the TimTam, it’s a kind of cookie, and trust me, it was unavoidable that we would succumb. I’m happy to report that The Boy chose a packet of dark chocolate ones for us to snack on: it seems my taste in chocolate is rubbing off on him!)
I am happy to report that less than twelve hours after landing in the country (less than 8, even!), I cuddled my first sheep. Surprisingly, however, the first farm animals we saw were actually cows. Lots of cows. Moo cows (those black and white splotchy ones), brown cows, black cows, fat cows, cows hanging out under the trees. We were informed by our bus driver that New Zealand is the world’s top exporter of dairy. The world’s! I’d meant to ask him if that included sheep and goat milk, but completely forgot. I shall try to find out later. In any case, after about 6 hours of meandering through the gloriously beautiful rolling hillsides, The Boy and I are now ensconced in our hostel in Rotorua, wondering if 4:30pm is too early to pass out what with the afternoon sunshine pouring in and everything. People, it’s been over 50 hours since either of us have seen a bed. I don’t think it’s too early.