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Published: March 11th 2018
Today we fly to Auckland. We arrive at the airport early (we allowed extra time to visit a temple en route but it is being redecorated). This gives me 4 hours to decide how to dispose of our remaining $28 in duty free, which bizarrely is playing Christmas carols. I opt for a cheese and pineapple sandwich, a fridge magnet and a jar of chilli chutney.
I fall in love with New Zealand before we even land. This is a combination of the view out of plane window as we approach plus the generous amount of wine distributed by the lovely Air New Zealand crew.
There is a slight blip at immigration. I try to go through the e-gate but accidentally answer ‘yes’ to the question ‘have you spent any of the past 12 months in prison?’ I get pulled out of the queue to see an immigration officer. I explain that the correct answer is ‘no but I had quite a lot of wine on the flight’. He is very understanding, stamps my passport and sends me on my way. The old man sulks. He went through the e-gate without incident and doesn’t have a stamp.
is a slight blip at customs when the chilli chutney is discovered in my luggage. But I am allowed to keep it.
We’re staying in an apartment as our original hotel cancelled the booking. It has upped the cost somewhat but the presence of a washing machine is a source of great excitement. The apartment is directly opposite the SkyTower, to be accurate, opposite the SkyTower bungee area. It’s quite disconcerting, every now and then a body comes hurtling past the window.
We go for a wander, Auckland is heaving. There’s a big yacht race in town so the harbour side is buzzing with music and boats and people. You can go inside a yacht to see how the crew live or if you’re flash, take a ride round the bay. We’re not flash, we take a look round then buy some bread and cheese from the supermarket and go home to do our laundry and have supper. I add some chilli chutney to my sandwich. It is very strong. It is some considerable time before I regain any feeling in my lips and I wish it had been confiscated by customs.
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