Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wellington Airport to Queenstown

Well, early in the morning I was dropped off at Wellington airport where I was told I couldn't check in for some time. For the first time in my flying life I grabbed a trolley to roll my bags around on, rather than just carrying them. Yes, I may have felt a wee bit pathetic. But such is life.

Scoping out the area I found one plug socket on the floor next to the bathrooms hall. I would plug in my computer and watch movies until the time passed enough for me to check in. Again, though, it wasn't enough to watch movies. I had just sat in a new spot, and a such had to check for wifi. While there was said to be no free wifi here, it seemed as if I was sitting directly below their airport lounge. Their airport lounge which had three open networks for my high speed browsing.

Blogs, podcasts, and emails were downloaded – responded to – I should note I've started playing that terrible facebook game Castle Age, again. Time was spent.

And then I attempted to write the last few entries post here. Codeine was causing me to jump in an out of consciousness. Through the medical professionals told me that it shouldn't have any such effect, the box warns that it will affect driving. Not that I shouldn't drive – just that it will be affected. Whatever that means.

I blame the codeine.

Seeking out water, it was discovered that while free wifi can be grabbed the same is not to be said about water. A 750ml bottle? 3.99NZD. Ugh. Oh well, after I'd just paid 6.50 for a tasteless wrap, I didn't quite mind. And at this stage, skimping on food and water? Terrible idea. Seems to me that may have landed me where I am right now.

Finally I was able to self-check in myself, and then, collecting my boarding pass, I headed down to gate 13 – beyond the sniffing dogs.

The best part of gate 13? It opens and closes, an automatic door, letting people walk in from outside, on the tarmac. It really keeps you reminded that, yes, it sure is winter out there!

On board the plane we went up, and just as quickly we came back down again in Christchurch. Though I'd be spending some time in that town, I was not due to make my stay there just yet. Once more I went up, and came right back down again in Queenstown. This may have been my first short hop in a twin-prop puddle jumper.

It seemed strange that there was no x-ray of my items, no security check, I could take water on board. This is how flying must have been forty years ago. It's nearly impossible to imagine an airline / airport / country full of airports that simply lets you jump on board for your domestic flight.

Rather than being rushed for a 25 minute connection, I found myself with time to spare, waiting around for the boarding to begin.

But as I said, soon enough I had landed in Queenstown. The airport was more of a lodge than anything else, and as you might expect you simply grabbed your bag and headed out the door with nary a security guard in sight.

I grabbed the shuttle to my hostel (could have saved ten dollars by taking the bus, but I was in no mood to try and sort that out. As much as I'd like to pretend I am perfectly fine, and all better now, I'm more than willing to pay for convenience. This – of all things – should work to explain how I'm feeling.)

At my hostel I got checked in, and threw my bags in my room. The room was air conditioned to deal with the eight people that would fill the bunks there. The only problem? I was the only one in the room. It was cold. Freezing is a better descriptor. The room was freezing. Two blankets (one pulled from another bunk) were required for the illusion of warmth. On the plus side, the room being empty allowed me to spend as long as I wanted in the ensuite shower – with enough hot water than after forty five minutes, it still didn't seem like it would be drained anytime soon.

Yes, yes, I know, I read the sign saying limit your showers to eight minutes, but when it's the only place I can feel warm, zenned out, and at peace – a little disregarding is necessary.

When I felt ready to rejoin the world, I headed down to the travel shop and tried to book myself a day trip for the next day. There was one to a place called Milfordsound that looked interesting. Unfortunately it was fully booked. My next choice was a half day trip to Glenarchy (or something like that – it's hard to get proper spellings when there's no internet access. Ah yes – this hostel has no free internet access, and paying to surf? It just seems like bad form.) in a Land Rover stopping off at all number of Lord of the Rings sites along the way.

I wasn't so much as interested in seeing the Lord of the Rings sites as I was getting out of the city, and exploring the natural beauty that New Zealand offers.

Still – for the first time – it's hardly necessary to leave the city to see the wonders of this country. Queenstown could give Interlaken, in Switzerland, a run for its money. They're both beautifully set between the mountains, with lakes all around. The closest we have to something like this in Canada (and I would say it is quite close) in Banff. Were I to rank the three, however, Banff would take the bronze, while I desperately tried to figure out who was more deserving of the gold metal.

With day trip booked I headed out in search of pizza. I was not hungry – have not had much of an appetite lately - but I knew I should eat. And find some water to drink. There was a 24 hour shop at the top of the street selling everything you need for god awful prices, and a rather pricey pizza joint called Hell's Pizza just down the road. I had a medium Mordor (BBQ sauce, deer pepperoni, and things that I now forget.) It was pretty good. Pretty tasty. I felt only a little silly ordering a Mordor. Mind you, I was supposed to order a “Uncle Tony” (their word of medium) but just like a prissy coffee shops, I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Pizza eaten, and no internet to speak of, I headed off to sleep.

at 3am we were all woken up by the fire alarm urging us to quickly leave the building. I had the presence of mind to put on clothes first. Many a girl wandered out in tank top and short shorts. It should be noted that it's winter here. Not Canadian winter, but real – in the shade, and when the sun is down – subzero winter.

Poor kids.

Into the 24 hour shop we all rushed until the trucks came, and we were told it was safe to go back in again. Real? Pulled? Drill? I don't know. What I did know was that being woken and sent out into the cold removed the effects of my late night pills. Time to pop some more, and then head on back to the land of Nod.

There's be time to figure this place out in the morning. The far far far from now morning. Some might even call it the afternoon.

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