Thursday, March 3, 2011
Day 37: Oamaru to Sydney, aka heat and humidity
Day 37: Oamaru to Sydney
Pics: The last NZ sunrise, giant chicken just after dawn, our prop plane to Wellington, banks now offering frequent flyer miles if you switch your credit card debt over to them, and our room at the Vibe hotel has to put the chair somewhere
Breakfast same-same, a few items to add to the last minute packing and a 7am departure to the Dunedin airport, arriving shortly after 9am for our 11am flight to Wellington. Another “no worries, mate” car dropoff. Arrive in Wellington on time, lunch on decent stir fry plus a manga lassi, using up $27 of remaining $32 NZ dollars. Then notice that our Air NZ flight to Sydney is not on the board…it has been delayed for 1.5 hours (awaiting the arrival of the plane from Sydney). DB gives a call to Jane in Sydney to let her know we’ll be late for dinner. Hey, our NZ phone makes international calls! And, we have enough pre-paid to cover it.
We make it to Sydney in time to have dinner at Jane’s, a very nice affair with her friends from Ireland who left Christchurch just before the earthquake on their tour of NZ. Jane shuttles us to the Vibe Hotel, where we collapse for 8 hours trying to avoid changing time zones too much. Oh, and Sydney is same-same: hot and humid…
1. THB is a true cell phone novice: the phone has apparently been in silent mode for a month and when someone called us we wouldn’t know
2. The airports are small and well appointed, easy to get through security (what little there is of it…none on domestic flights) and of course relatively few people
3. It has been very pleasant traveling when few teenagers are out and about, we’ve seen very few except during US ski week
4. THB is convinced that if they spoke primarily Spanish or Italian here, the place would be totally abandoned by the Brits (“it’s a long way to come”) and Aussies who most likely would have few relatives here and no ease of communication
5. Most every complementary serving of coffee and tea comes with biscuits (cookies)
6. It is hard to imagine where the working people dislocated by the Christchurch earthquake are going to end up. For example, most of the SI distribution of bread is through Christchurch, and for a few days bread was being rationed on the rest of the island. Will that be changed?
7. We didn’t see a lot of dogs being walked, not sure if they are only let out in the backyards or if there is a sense that dogs are pests or workers and not widely kept as pets
8. This is a very casual country: only in the big cities did we see guys in ties, rarely in jackets or suits; after work hours, we only saw guys in suits a few times, and only once where it didn’t seem to be a work dinner event
9. There may be only two four-lane motorways in the entire country: between the Auckland airport and downtown and just south of Dunedin.
10. Without the earthquake, the front section (front page!) of the newspapers carried stories of little consequence: Pet gone missing; B’day party goes awry; Couple refuses to pay overdue parking tickets…strong personal interest stories!