With a strong tail wind we zipped across the skies above South East Asia, Australia and the Tasman Sea to be forty minutes ahead of schedule and arrived in Auckland to a gloomy morning. The welcome from Immigration and Customs was very friendly. The Smart Gate that is available to us was great. We were through Immigration in no time at all. We had decided to declare some food items to avoid featuring on the TV programme, Border Patrol. When we fronted up to the customs officer his reaction to mention of our food items was, “Suppose you’ve got some Smarties” “No, Worthers Originals”. “You can buy those in New Zealand you know”. “Yes, but these are left overs from our travels”. So we arrived back in our own country.
As we emerged into the Arrivals Hall we received a great welcome from my sister and brother-in-law. Not the banners, flags and trumpets we expected but hugs all round. With welcomes completed we loaded our few bags into the car and were on our way across Auckland to our niece’s home. Six months ago we were in the same house seeing our newest nephew, only 4 weeks old. What a difference 6 months makes.
The plan for the rest of the day was to get immersed in the Rugby World Cup atmosphere by heading into the city and visiting the Fan Zone at the water front. It was raining but that didn’t deter the fans. The colour black was everywhere. As we arrived the game in progress was drawing great support from a reasonably big crowd. When it got close to the start of the next game, All Blacks versus Canada, the crowds began to swell. The support for both sides was deafening. The game over, the good natured crowd dispersed and we headed back to our niece’s home for pizzas and wine.
Because of difficulty getting a connecting flight to Christchurch we needed to stay in Auckland overnight. So once dinner was over we were transported to our airport hotel for an early night in preparation for an even earlier wake up in the morning.
Our trip was nearly over. Just one more hotel room. Just one more flight. All we have to do was wake up at 4:30 am, a quick pack, have breakfast, catch the shuttle, check-in and board the flight at 6:50 am. The thought of sleeping in our own bed tomorrow night was almost too much.
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