I did write a little in a journal the first few days. Here it is:
At first, it looked as if we might miss our connection in Philadelphia. The incoming plane was delayed already when we checked in. We were called back to the counter and informed we were going to miss the flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. The agent was excellent and she rebooked us on another airline so we would make it to LA and catch our NZ flight. Things were looking up. We ended up flying to DC and then onto LA. It was a long flight.
Flying over the southwest was beautiful. We flew over the Grand Canyon! Los Angeles area was amazing, but not necessarily in a good way. The houses were identical and packed in. But, the sky was blue and the sunshine was reflecting off the roofs.
The flight to Auckland was just over 12 hours. That was the longest flight I'd ever been on. The airport in Auckland had a Maori carving we had to walk under. The Maoris were originally on the North Island. From Auckland, we flew to Dunedin. It took 20+ hours in the air to go from State College to Dunedin.
Dunedin is a beautiful city. It's very hilly with quaint Victorian homes in the city and newer construction in the suburbs. There is a beautiful bay called Otago Bay. There is a university in Dunedin as well as a pharmacy school. The only dental school in NZ in located in Dunedin.
We arrived Wednesday, May 6, 2009. It was cool and rainy. I got off the plane and said to Pete, "I should have brought my gloves." It was cold and people were dressed for cold
Richard met us at the gate. We did a group hug and then he presented me with a pair of black, wool gloves! I had just commented that I needed a pair. After saying hello we collected our luggage and Richard took us to his house. After a nap (kip) we picked up Nicola and found a place for lunch. I believe we ate at a cafe called Nova. It was great to be in NZ. After lunch, we walked around the Octagon and looked at some shops. There are a lot of cute shops.
Day 2 was Thursday and the day was lovely. It was cool, but sunny. We had croissants for breakfast and I saw the sun come up. Richard and Nicola's house has wonderful views.
We took Nicola to work and Richard drove Pete and me to St. Clair Beach. There was a person in the water riding a boogie board. There was a great sea breeze. We walked to a coffee shop for some java. I had a cappuccino and Pete and Richard had a "flat white." From this place we drove to Tunnel Beach. The views were breathtaking---amazing. We walked down a steep slope to the beach. R had to help carry me back up the hill. The mountainsides were sprinkled with sheep. The waves were crashing into the sea. I felt very insignificant in the world. It was amazing to think the closest land mass was Antarctica. I had been to the southern hemisphere before, but it was really hitting me at that point where I was.