|Teddy, chillaxin' with a porter.|
(Yes...traveling is a sport...I bet you didn't know that, but think about it. You need training and endurance, not to mention experience being imminently helpful. Most people start with small jaunts - the equivalent to a day hike (Vegas, Mexico all-inclusives etc.) and work their way up to epic trips like - oh, let's say - three month adventures in Australia. The real elite travelers can go years living out of a suitcase.)
|Cruise ship in the harbour|
|Human sized gnome - why not?|
|Nod to the aboriginal arts|
We aren't traveling neophytes. We know that things can go wrong and, in all honesty, weren't looking forward to the 13 hour flight between Santiago, Chile and Auckland, New Zealand. Humans aren't designed to be cramped up in small spaces like that for extended periods of time. We killed 8 hours in the airport at Santiago...no, make that 9, as our departure was delayed and another 13+ hours on the airplane. (SIde note: Wi-Fi is only available at some of the restaurants (plus the executive lounges, of course) in Santiago. There is no free airport Wi-Fi, which is all well and good until the Wi-Fi you're using shuts off because the cafe has closed down for the night. That's a story for another time.)
Our landing was also delayed, due to runway juggling. All that resulted in our missing our connection to Melbourne, Australia. No big, right? Well, it turned out that we weren't booked on another flight until 8:30 that night...a whole 12 hours away. The airline offered us a range of options and we decided to head out into New Zealand and have a peek at Auckland.
While the city has historic British influence, it's modern and young. There were small children everywhere, as well as students of all stripes, plus the usual melange of office workers that tend to inhabit the downtown core. It's an expensive city, especially after being in Ecuador for so long. The cab ride into town was $76.50 (NZD). Shocking.
We noticed something immediately. It's a foodie town. Now, we've heard that Oz and NZ are gourmand, and it's no lie. Certainly not at the airport, per se, but in the city itself. My back had been "tweaking" after the long flight, but once we got out and walked around, I was feeling pretty good. The weather was a little overcast for most of the day, but we got to see the harbour, a park and the inside of a tapa bar, before heading back to the airport. (Side note: Auckland airport has 30 minutes of free Wi-Fi. Yup, that's it...just half and hour and then you have to pay - pay - pay. A crime in this day and age, as far as I'm concerned, especially when facing a very long layover.)
We finally boarded our flight, after dark and headed off to Australia. We got to experience both sunrise and sunset in Auckland, something that was beautiful, but not anticipated, but such are the vagaries of travel. Little did I realize that the little "tweak" I was feeling in my back would manifest in a full blown "episode" of agony, but that's also for another day. Next up: Melbourne - The Land of Inbetween (or so their slogan says...)