x every day: threehundredfiftythree

04 January 2009


Got to Nelson airport by 8am, then had our first long wait til our flight up to Auckland. We decided to check our bags-- against our original plan-- once we saw how much they weighed, so we wouldn't have to worry about lugging them around AKL airport or LAX.

We took a shared bus directly to an Asian food hall called Food Alley, which was just like a travel show of Singapore or Hong Kong. We were in heaven, drinking bubble tea, and our favorite NZ and Japanese beverages, as well as eating Malaysian noodles, chicken tikka masala, and naan bread. We stopped at Esquire coffee shop to try to search out a place selling vinyl toys, since we had seen quite a few cool and closed shops of this sort, in other towns. Sadly, walking around to them and to some modern designer places I had read about, most everything was closed-- Sunday, argh! Luckily we still managed to shop and acquire some last minute splurges, which were a great deal with the exchange rate and holiday sales.

We headed up to K Road, which was boring, then went up in the Sky Tower. After putzing around both observation decks and watching many people jump from the top (the Sky Jump, not exactly bungee, just a controlled jump), we shared a beer and then made our way to the airport bus.

We had just missed one, but it was only 15 minutes til the next one; unfortunately we had spent all of our NZ currency, but the driver ended up just getting us to the airport for free. We had lots of time in the airport, so we ate at Subway (so nice to have a sandwich), shopped duty free (I think my first time buying that stuff), and waited to get on our very full flight. Of course I was the center seat of the center aisle in the center of the plane. Luckily the return flight was only 12 hours (better than 14). I watched two movies and mostly tried various odd positions to sleep, which didn't really work. That occasional turbulence always wakes me up, and so does the pain of fallen-asleep limbs.

LAX was truly horrible. We waited more than an hour at the luggage carousel for our two bags, and then when we stopped for Erik to retrieve something from his back, we got yelled at, quite rudely. We tried to check our bags back in but got yelled at again, this time for stopping the the place that the same people had told us to go to. At this point we had been awake for more than thirty hours, and I was feeling exhausted and sensitive. I waited til we were outside, waiting for the inter-terminal bus, but I shed a few tears for how mean those damn TSA/customs folks were.

We were delighted, after walking around the very poorly laid-out terminals, to find a burrito place-- it's tough to go so long without Mexican-type food-- and then crashed at our gate. The flight to PDX was a bit turbulent, which started while I when I stood up from the toilet-- quite an adventure.

Erik's dad met us in the airport and we retrieved our snowy, wet bags (mine with my Hello Kitty luggage tag missing!) and then waited while Fred made sure that his brother, who was in the airport trying to get back to Alaska, didn't need a ride. We stopped at Erik's parents' house to meet their new dog, then finally drove our car home, unpacked, and now I am super awake. Argh.