I finally made it to Auckland after my epic 40 (or so) hour journey. I walked around a bit (really, a bit--2-block radius....I'm too tired to be mobile) and all I kept thinking was "I can't believe I'm in New Zealand. I can't believe I'm here." I have been talking about this for so long now that it really is dream-like.
The flights were pretty good and pretty non-eventful. Three hours to Chicago followed by a 5 hour stop over which flew by (well, not really..haha) thanks to Skype and plenty of people to Skype with. Five hours to LA, followed by a 2 hour delay because the PA system was broken on the plane. But luckily I was able to watch Survivor on my computer. Fourteen hours to Sydney, which made me skip a whole day ahead, followed by a short stop where time was spent getting hooked up with a flight to Auckland since I missed my connection. Then 3 hours to Auckland on the best plane ride I've ever taken.
There was TV on every seat, equipped with a USB port where I could charge my iPod. Good food (and ice cream! yay!) and the people were super friendly. The flight attendant asked me where I was from and what I was doing in NZ and started offering me travel tips, and asked if I had anyone to spend the holidays with. Then she wished me luck and happy holidays when I got off the plane. It was very strange, but so nice! Then I was off and through customs with absolutely no issue and when I was done my bag was coming around the carrousel.
I kept thinking on the bus ride into the city that it doesn't seem all that different from Canada. Except they drive on the other side of the road and have palm trees and other tropical trees growing in their yards! But Kiwi life and mentality is obviously different than Canada. The Sky Tower in Auckland looks very similar to the CN Tower...but I just picked up a brochure that advertises BUNGY JUMPing off of it or walking around it (like, outside, at the top). I'm not kidding you. Check out this link: http://www.skyjump.co.nz/. This picture I'm posting of Auckland is a view from the top of the tower. Would you jump off the CN Tower? See? Different mentality.
I'm trying to make myself stay up for at least another two more hours so I can ward off jet lag as best I can. Man I'm tired.