It’s almost time; within a few hours I will fly to New Zealand! Since this is an international flight I have arrived at Sydney airport the required 3 hours in advance, which is ridiculously early and as a result I now have another two hours to kill in the terminal. For the first time in two months I am on my own again and even though it feels different from when I was leaving the Netherlands, I still have butterflies in my stomach. I have no clue what I want to do when I arrive in New Zealand, I am not much of a planner anyway, but I watched Lord of the Rings twice so I am pretty sure that I will like it there being a mountain lover. My lack of planning also means I have no bed for tonight. Maybe that’s something I can arrange now. I am a little sceptic when I am placing my last minute couch surfing request for Auckland but it doesn’t work out a hostel would be a good plan B I figure.
“Attention, all passengers. Flight 447 to Auckland is now ready for boarding at gate 33”. Finally, that means we will take of in about 45 minutes.
The flight itself is relatively short and after watching only one Woody Allen movie, although I must admit they are not the shortest, the runway is already in sight. I made it, New Zealand! I am eager to start exploring, but I will have to wait a bit more. First I have to go through customs, and they are pretty strict here. There is a elaborate form that has to be filled out, and I am advised not to take this lightly as the little letters on the back remind me that if I fail to mention anything there might be serious consequences.
– “In the past 30 days have you visited a forest or had contact with animals?” Yes
– “Do you bring animals or animal products?” Hmm, I wonder if the shells count, I’m gonna go with ‘No’.
-“Drugs?” Definitely no
-“Do you bring items that have been used outdoors, such as boots,?” Uhm, Yes?
-“ Camping equipment?” Yes, damn
Based on our answers, me and the other passengers are efficiently assigned to different lines. As I am walking toward my designated queue the customs officer is waving me over with her white gloved hand. I show her my tent and slightly muddy shoes as I watch my back pack disappear into the X-ray machine. “Is the tent used?” the she wants to know. “Yes” I have to admit. “I will take this” she informs me. O no, not my tent! Luckily the tent is only taken for inspection and after the miniscule traces or dirt on the pegs have been thoroughly scrutinized I get all my equipment back. Now I just have to pass a drug test after being ‘randomly’ selected once again; I’m beginning to suspect that there is some prejudice surrounding my Dutch nationality…
Two hours later I am finally outside waiting for the bus to take me to Auckland. I check my message and it appears I am lucky; James, one of the guys I sent a couch surf request to has responded and is able to host me 😀 An Aussie host in Kiwiland. O well, maybe it’s good to have a gradual transition. Additional bonus: he likes to climb! And tonight it’s free beer, pizza and climbing at Auckland University, not necessarily in that order by the way 😉 So far Auckland is making a pretty good first impression!