Saturday, May 9, 2009


So the first day of travel was full of ups and downs, highs and lows, hunger and stuffedness, and fun times and really really boring times.

We left Kennesaw (as most of you know) straight after my last final at about 7 PM to go home to Kentucky. That ride seemed so long...I was tired. Then we spent a nice day with mom and Matt and Alex in Lexington on Thursday. I got my immunization shots for the Cook Islands, and my teeth cleaned, and then bought a few last minute items. Mom made a delish pound cake and we grilled out on the back porch. It was BEAUTIFUL. A good last day that I can remember while I'm here in the cold winter!

Friday, we left Lexington at 5 AM. Holy early. It was raining and we drove to the airport with our enormous bags (that we didn't end up having to pay for them being overweight because they honored the international flight rules we were on). On to Dallas for a layover then San Francisco for the day.

We got into SFO around 10:30 AM, and it was such a nice day. We planned to have a really long layover so we could tour the city a bit, and it was a great decision. Once we found a place to store our bags (it cost $60, but we figured it was making up for us not having to pay in Lexington), we then hopped a BART train into downtown San Francisco around Powell St. It was so cool!

We bought a day pass for the cable cars and while we were waiting in line two guys jumped on the platform and started tap dancing away. Behind them was a one man band with a banjo, a drum on one foot, and a tambourine on the other foot. He was actually good. The cable cars took us pretty much all through the city. It's just like the movies, the long windy roads with the steep hills and the fire exit ladders leading up to each of the rooms.

We took the cable cars all the way to Fisherman's Wharf, where we snapped photos of the bridge and Alcatraz, and the sea lions at pier 39. We even ate at the famous sourdough bread factory right on the water. We were total tourists. There were a couple shows we stopped to watch on the side of the road. The breakdancing boys and the rapping tin men were my favorite. Sara liked the spray-paint artist and a horrendous violinist. After our Fisherman's Wharf tour we didn't have much time so we took the cable car and BART train back to the airport.

The flight was SOOOOOO boring. 12 and a half hours. It was overnight though, and I slept most of the way, but I got a sore neck from the awkward position I was holding for so long.

Once we got to Auckland the drama began. First, we went the wrong way through the airport so we passed through customs too early (we were supposed to go through customs in Christchurch once we got there) and they wouldn't let us go back, so we couldn't get to our gate cause it was in a different terminal before customs. So they had to go and find our bags, show us where to go, and get us on a new flight because by that time we had missed our flight. Might I note we were dealing with grouchy people working at 5AM.

Once we got to the ticket counter at the domestic terminal, the lady asked us for our identification and Sara realized that she had lost her purse containing everything from money to her passport, and didn't remember when she had lost it. It could have been anywhere...from the bus we took in between the terminals to still sitting at the customs desk, or maybe even in the bathroom where we stopped to wash our faces. Panic ensued, and she ran off while I sad and waited with our still over-sized bags.

Two policemen somehow found her bag and brought it over, so there was no harm done and we made our flight that was only an hour later than the one we were initially supposed to be on, so long story short, we got to Christchurch today, Sunday the 10th around 10AM, safe and sound. Her mom and dad met us there.

It's almost 7PM now and I've managed to stay awake all day. I'm pretty proud of that. We showered, ate, unpacked, and met up with a couple friends. Good day. I'm tired.

The weather here is rainy today, but not as cold as I thought.

I've written a novel now, but I felt the first day experiences to be necessary.

Much love to my homies,

Ding xoxo

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