Arrived! What a long journey. EWR to SFO 6 hours. SFO to AKL 13 hours. AKL to Dunedin 2 hours. Dunedin to hotel 45 minutes. Our biz class tix gave us a glimpse into what its like to travel large. . .wonderful service, food, wine, and fold flat beds. I for one slept, although Don had some challenges.
I made an unexpected and unhappy contribution to the NZ economy when my carry on bag and I were stopped, searched, and taken to a private area. Seems I violated bio security when an orange I had thrown in my bag (and forgotten about) became the subject of a $400 NZ fine.
I was interrogated as to if I understood that I had falsified the customs form, signed the form, and had violated the law. After my passport with all information was entered in some database and I was told the violation did not carry a criminal record, I paid the fine, cried and felt like sh*&, and left. What a way to start a holiday. The officer (kindly) told me that Australia and Canada have similar fines and regulations. Don’s calling this the “IOI”~~International Orange Incident. I’m calling it embarrassing, maddening, and avoidable. Grrrr.
A nap and shower in our Dunedin hotel set us right and we went out to find dinner for NY Eve. The town was gearing up for a family-oriented celebration, and we thoroughly enjoyed people-watching. We heard American politics being discussed, and actually in our short time here have had a few discussions with New Zealanders who are very concerned about what’s happening in the US.
Hoping to get some sleep tonight despite the party going on in the room beside us. Happy New Year . . . .celebrating before our friends and family on the East Coast!