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Published: November 2nd 2011
Today I am off to New Zealand to begin my Contiki Tour. I woke up early this morning and headed off to the airport. On the train I struck up a conversation with an elderly couple who I found out tour the world every year between October and December. It was great to hear their stories and the man who was Irish was quite a funny fellow making jokes at his wife's expense continuously. But I could tell she was used to it and was dishing them right back. The mentioned they were flying to Turkey and they were heading out at noon.
Mind you I was leaving at 9:30 and we were both on the train to the international airport at 7:40. I was a little concerned and my heart sank as I wondered if I had misread the website that said I only need 90 mintues to check in for an international flight as they were arriving well over 3 hours prior. I also remembered my Uncle from Australia and his story of how he got locked out of his international flight because the counter closes 2 hours prior to takeoff. After asking the couple about check in times they laughed and said that I had nothing to worry, since New Zealand is so close the check in time is only 90 minutes. At which I'm sure I let let out a huge sigh and the small beads of sweat that were beginning to don my forehead quickly retreated.
When I got to the terminal I couldn't find my flight number as indicated on my confirmation printout. And again I was worried as I had arrived at the airport at 8:10 and had only 80 minutes prior to takeoff and I still had to find the check in counter, or even my flight! I noticed that my Virgin Blue flight was operated by Air New Zealand so I made my way to the Air NZ desk which of course was at the other side of the Terminal. I got there and again was dissapointed to find the line extremely long. At this point I think I was very flustered and a little nervous and I think that showed as I dropped my bag once while I attempted to fill out a Australia Passenger Departure card. And as soon as I had finished the card and was attempting to put my pen back into my case I also dropped the card which fluttered several feet away from me!
Luckily they pulled me out of the line and let me check-in ahead of everyone there and then I headed off to the boarding gate.
A fun fact!!
I was originally going to fly to Byron Bay to do some scuba diving and then fly to NZ for the Contiki tour on the 4th of November. However, a month or so before my trip Contiki called me and said they were no longer offering my tour and had instead moved my tour to begin on the 2nd of November at Christchurch instead of Queenstown, essentially giving me 2 more extra days on the tour in NZ for no added cost. I was a little upset as I had to cancel and rebook some of my flights, but they assured me they would reimburse me for all flights and at the end I realized I was getting a longer tour and it wouldn't be such a bad thing. In fact it turned out to be a GREAT thing. I was originally going to fly out to Byron Bay on the 1st of November via Qantas Airlines. Qantas Airlines however is currently going through some major strike and most if not all their flights have been grounded. It is large fiasco here in Aussie with Qantas. So in a way Contiki's rebooking of my tour actually worked out great. I always say that things happen for a reason and God knows best and today I was reminded of that very fact.
I am blogging on the airplane on the way to NZ and will arrive at 2:30pm and get ready to begin what I have been assured will be 2 weeks of a lot of drinking, partying, and traveling. One sad thing is that NZ is 10 degrees colder than Australia and right now I hear it is raining there. Hopefully it will clear up and be ok for the next couple weeks.
Part 1 of vacation, Sydney, is complete onto the 2nd leg! Kia Ora!!!
How do you pronounce the following words: (leave a comment with the phonetic spelling)
ex. D'Sa -> Dee-sah
1. Circular Quay
2. Bondi Beach
3. Darling Harbor
4. Martins West
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