Monday, January 31, 2011
Day 6: Sydney to Auckland
Day 6: Sydney to Auckland
The last stanza of the Australian National Anthem
hou'd foreign foe e'er sight our coast,
Or dare a foot to land,
We'll rouse to arms like sires of yore
To guard our native strand;
Brittannia then shall surely know,
Beyond wide ocean's roll,
Her sons in fair Australia's land
Still keep a British soul.
In joyful strains the let us sing
"Advance Australia fair!"
and, stanza one of the New Zealand Anthem
God of nations at thy feet
in the bonds of love we meet.
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific's triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.
Pictures: Our exchange site in Auckland, overlooking the harbor, inside and out
Today is a travel day, and the good news is we are leaving Sydney: it is unbelievably hot at 7am. If we had stayed, it might have been a two movie day. We try yet another coffee and pastry spot, and it is actually cooler to sit outside than in (their fridges are blowing hot air into the café proper); one sour cherry muffin, one fig muffin and two large flat whites (large means somewhere around 4 ounces of coffee), $15.
We decide to shuttle to the airport for $28 than repeat the $50 cab ride. We are the first picked up; 50 minutes later and 3 or 4 endless miles or so of looping through downtown (the stop at the massage parlor - TRUE! - appeared to be a mistake, though we can’t be absolutely sure), we finally appear to be heading to the airport without stopping for any more pick-ups, taking surface streets all the way. The driver decides to turn up the a/c after 40 minutes or so, which means that instead of cool air we just get a lot of noise. Of course, domestic terminals are first. I wonder if car sickness can be used as an excuse for early dropoff?
We get let off at the farthest spot possible from our check-in at Pacific Blue. Another stuffy warm terminal with lines that don’t move (Pacific Blue doesn’t have on-line check-in). When we get to the front of the line, the check-in person asks for our return flight receipts: apparently you can’t get into New Zealand without proving you are leaving. Another first! Somewhat ironic that e-tix don’t work for check-in and yet they do for checking out….Hmmmmmmm….
Then we head to immigration and another first: Australia wants you to fill out one of those declaration cards on leaving the country (the form which you always fill out when entering). So the passenger arrival card just needs a minor title adjustment: the passenger departure card and it is ready to go. Turns out that along with not bringing in more than $10k in cash we aren’t allowed to leave with more than that either! No problems, mate…
Lunch on the plane: leftover cheese, fruit, baguette, sushi roll, chocolate, approximately $10 (because all the other $$ amounts have been exact down to the last tuppence).
New Zealand is already different: an efficient customs and immigration system and a cool terminal (it is cooler out, which must help with the terminal a/c). We are met by our house exchangers, Zelda and Graham, we pick up our phone (we bought one, it will work in many other countries), pick up our rental car (not buying a car here, just renting), and head to a Thai place for dinner. Very good: pad thai, roast duck curry, Monteith beer, NZ sauvignon blanc, and Z&G treat, or as they say down under, it is a shout (they shout at us? they shout us up? they shouted us?).
Their condo is lovely, large, with a large view of the Auckland Harbor. It stays light until after 8:30, and we are now another two hours different from Sydney, so we are only 3 hours off California time, and one day ahead.