I've been in New Zealand now for four days and this is the first long flight I have ever been on where I had no jet lag! It was as if I just completely lost a day as the time difference here is 20 hours.
But... On the flight, which was absolutely jam packed, was a large group of Tahitians going home, all of them sneezing and coughing the entire time. So there was no way I, or any other passengers, could avoid getting colds. And sure enough, I'm sneezing and wheezing with a sore throat but it is going over quite fast, thank goodness.
My flight on Air Tahiti Nui was a code share with Air New Zealand and we stopped in Tahiti - it's been ages since I was there and the airport has expanded considerably. But we were met with Tahitian music and tamure - both which brought back fond memories and a longing to go back and spend time there. After all, the psychic told me a long time ago, that the next time I go on the beach in Tahiti, I will find something that I played with as a child because, she said, in a past life, I was a Tahitian princess!
Zoze and Jenni picked me up in Auckland. The check-in process was very long as apparently there were seven international flights that all arrived at basically the same time so we wended our way through snaking lines, first through immigration and then through customs. It was a relief to get out of there. What a conglomeration of people - Chinese, Indian, American, Samoan, you name it, there was representative in those lines. You could pick out the Chinese as they were all wearing breathing masks!
It's a two and a half hour drive to Tauranga and we stopped for coffee along the way and for a bit of a stretch at Karangahake which used to be an old mining operation on the river. It's refreshing to see public places not festooned with fences and DO NOT signs.
I had forgotten how pastoral the country is - sheep and cattle everywhere. And rolling (very green) hills off to the horizon.
The last couple of days have been quiet as I haven't felt up to doing much with this cold, but it is going over quickly. And I am losing my voice so can't call to make appointments with the floatplane people - or anyone else, for that matter.
I am planning to write a couple of things from here - one for sure, on the organic wine industry and the other on the float planes that fly out of Rotorua and Taupo. Also one on a guy who has developed a really good line of eco products. I bought some of the shampoo and conditioner and although they are expensive, they really work well. He is a local person so we won't have to travel to far.
New Zealand is not inexpensive at all! In fact, for instance, a 12oz Americano coffee was the equivalent of $3.25 American!
And I bought half a pound of beans and they were almost $12. (I have since found a less expensive place and it's only $5.50 for half a pound.)
It just means Zoze and I will have to get creative and do things more locally than I had hoped. But the weather is nice, barefoot most of the time, sun is out most of the time and the days are getting longer, too.
Once my cold is over or at least, mostly gone, I will be getting in the pool every day. It's heated to about 82 F so not a shock to the system. Zoze has a group of ladies who come here a couple of times a week to do water aerobics which I will join next week. Later on today, we will head down the The Mount at Manganui and go for a walk on the beach.