Rude awakening

 Well, I finally got to bed at around 4am. Lou’s flight from Singapore to Auckland had been delayed by roughly 7 hours, so instead of her being airborne when I wanted to crash out, she was stuck at the airport on the interwebnet terminals.

Facing the usual fear of all passengers – falling asleep and missing her flight – she needed someone to natter to. So natter we did. Until she didn’t have long to go before she departed. At least there weren’t too many people in the airport wanting to use the terminals as they were all downstairs watching the World Cup on the huge screen.

Checkout is at 10am in every hotel and hostel in New Zealand, so I set my alarm for 9:50. Enough time to chuck everything into my bags and drop them in the common room. I needn’t have bothered.

The Vietnamese people on the floor are very much into the same schedule they have at home. That is, wake when the sun comes up. And they’re noisy. Cooking, shouting, hawking up phlegm, radio… Net result was that I was up and about from around 8:30.

It also seems the hot water hasn’t recovered from yesterday’s power outage. Prior to this, all the taps and showers provided the full range from freezing to scalding. Now we get freezing to tepid. Ah well, I needed a shower so bit the bullet and scrubbed around the goosepimples.

The three tasks for the day were to get to Indy’s, get to the airport (or get Lou from it) and to swap hostels. I decided to loaf in the common room and use free internet until lunchtime and then walk up the road to BK Hostel. Of course, the weather was fine until I was about to leave. Then the rain started. Heavily.

Cue me unpacking the laptop for another half an hour.

Eventually, the downpour stopped and I bagged all my goods up and walked back up the hill to BK for checkin. Dropping a few of the bags off, I wandered back into town for lunch and to get the bus to Indy’s.

Welcome to another experience unlike any at home – helpful bus drivers and useful bus shelter information. The shelters each have a map of the city centre alongside a list of destinations (around 200 of them), telling you which buses you need to catch and what stands to get them from – and the maps show you where those stands are. Also, each bus route is mapped at the relevant stand so you can see what streets to keep an eye out for before you have to jump off.

Add to that a bus driver who’ll not only tell you that you need a different bus, but which one, what stand to go to and when it’s due… an experience unlike any I’ve had in years back home. One of the last buses I was on was in London about 3 years ago and I remember the driver hurling insults at one female passenger.

After a short wait, I got onto the correct bus and headed for Onehunga and Indy’s gaff. Megan had been sat in front of the television (this and Stevie Wonder both send her to sleep) and Lisa was catching up on some kip herself. Indy very kindly drove me to the airport to catch Lou’s incoming flight and we returned to the house for tea and more gurgling over Megan. Also to sort our luggage for the next couple of weeks.

Our limit was one large rucksack and two small ones – no suitacases! Even with a couple of fleeces, we managed this and Indy dropped us off at BK again. Despite it only being around 8pm, we were shattered – Louise in particular as she’d hardly slept in 72 hours. Our two appointments were for food and internet checkage.

Burger King was invaded for food. They’re doing a long-term promotion over here whereby you get some fairly cheap meals after 5pm. Also, all soft drinks are refillable if you have an eat-in meal. We went for the “two cheeseburgers, one Whopper, one long chicken sandwich, two large fries” meal ($NZ19.95) and two small drinks (no point in getting large ones when you can refill!). Lou had the two cheeseburgers. I wolfed down the two larger ones. And most of her chips.

After a quick stop to check email, we headed back to the hostel and crashed out. Tomorrow was going to be a long day. Posted by Picasa

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