The Month of Packing – Chapter 2: In transit to the North Island
I started packing for my departure from Christchurch almost 20 days before I actually had to leave. I then had to repack for my south island excursion (see previous blog post). As I’ve probably said numerous times, I leave New Zealand on December 1st. What I didn’t know when I extended my stay was that my housing contract ended November 26th. So since I was getting kicked out of my flat anyway, I decided to fly up to Auckland and spend a couple of days at Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands.
When I was planning my North Island adventures I originally planned on hopping onto a bus after my flight got in and then stopping at Whangarei for a day and then heading up to Kerikeri, and then head back to Auckland for one night. However as I continued to pack I realized that not only would that involve several bus trips and more money, but I also would be travelling with two suit cases plus my carry on baggage. Then I started researching backpacker locations in Whangarei. That’s when I learned that the closest backpacker to the bus stop was about 3 kilometers (roughly 2 miles away). So eventually I decided just to go directly to Kerikeri for a couple of days. After all, I’m not exactly a city person and no offense to any kiwis but Auckland doesn’t seem all that great compared to the rest of New Zealand.
So my new plan: fly out of Christchurch at 11:50 AM and arrive in Auckland around 1:30 PM. The next bus to Kerikeri leaves the airport at 7:00 AM the next day. That gives me roughly 17 hours between when my flight arrives in Auckland and when my bus departs to Kerikeri. Any sane person would probably attempt to check into a hotel for the night, but it’s come to my attention that I definitely fulfil the cheap frugal college student stereotype. So I planned to hang out at the airport for 17 hours.
As of right now I’ve spent about 5 hours at the domestic terminal. On the plus side, there are 7 computers that allow you to access the internet for free. Unfortunately, I’m not the only one who wants to access the internet and feel bad for using the computers for long periods of time.
As any college student planning to spend 17 hours in an airport, I planned ahead and loaded my computer with seasons 1-5 of Grey’s Anatomy. Unfortunately, I planned a little too far in advance and watched all of season one and a good ¾ of season two before I even left Christchurch. Furthermore, in order to free up some more space on my computer I decided to delete the episodes off of my computer as I watched them. I finished watching season 2 and started to move onto season 3. That’s when I learned the video format of season 3 didn’t work on my computer…I tried season 4, and that also didn’t work…and no luck with season 5 either. So now I’ve started to rewatch seasons 1 and 2 of the big bang theory.
The next issue is that computers don’t hold their charge forever. After I finished off with Grey’s Anatomy, I did a couple of laps around the domestic terminal. And that’s when I learned that all of the electrical outlets within the domestic terminal aren’t located near seats. So here I sit on the ground waiting for my computer to come to a full charge before I can move on to an actual seating location. I’m starting to get a bit antsy.
Time passed and I started to get hungry. I decided to walk over to the domestic terminal at 7:00 pm. I had to walk through the sea of quinticential taxi drivers that thirst for customers outside of the Airport Terminals. That moment where 20 or so taxi drivers stare at you hoping that you pick them because they’re in need of work and you have way too many bags to be bothered with walking long distances. It’s actually really uncomfortable. The look the drivers gave me was almost similar to the look my residents get when an infant comes into the retirement home. It was nice to get out of the airport.
My options at the domestic terminal weren’t much better. I didn’t feel like paying 20 NZD for Chinese food so that left me with three options – McDonalds, KFC, and Subway. I hadn’t had KFC in a while and decided to take my chances. In hindsight it was a bad decision.
The awesome thing about the international terminal is that outlets are located numerous booths. So I settled in and continued to watch The Big Bang Theory.
I’ve started to get tired. I was thankful that I managed to pack my fuzzy blanket in my suitcase. I’ve curled up on the narrow booth with my laptop watching The Pursuit of Happiness. It’s a precarious situation since my laptop barely fits onto this booth but I think I will manage.
I dozed off somewhere during the course of The Pursuit of Happiness. Good news is that my computer managed to stay on the booth with me. I suppose this would be a good time to switch to my ipod for background music.
The international terminal starts to get busy around 4:30 AM. I awoke to the clanking of cups and hordes of groggy people that just got off their planes. I’m hungry, and extremely tired. I’m still in that state of sleep deprivation. I fight off sleep and hunger for a while longer. I’m waiting for the que at McDonalds to go down so I can get some pancakes.
5:30 AM and the line at McDonalds hasn’t decreased yet. More and more flights are arriving, or more and more people are arriving for their departing flight. I’m not exactly sure. I wait in line for the pancakes. It actually makes me miss diner food back in the states. It’s a beautiful day outside. I wait for the bus to take me to Kerikeri.
I arrive in Kerikeri around 12:30. A man on the bus offers me a ride to my hostel, but luckily I did my research and chose a backpacker really close to the bus stop. This backpacker is unlike any that I have been to while in New Zealand. Most of the people within this hostel are here for long term and are working in the orchards around Kerikeri. Also my lack of research may have gotten the best of me because many of the actual kayak tours are based in Paihia which is 23 kilomerters away. I actually really miss the south island, it’s definitely better in the south. However, I kind of happy that I decided to come to Kerikeri where not much goes on because it’s actually making me look forward to going home.
Things I have learned about myself while in Kerikeri. While I love travelling, I kind of hate lugging around heaps of luggage. Every time I need to get something out of my suitcase, I have to face the feat of unpacking and repacking again. It’s much too stressful. I’m ready to unpack and get rid of the suitcases. I also realized that I haven’t worked in more than 5 months and I kind of miss it, though ask me again in a week and I’ll probably be longing for a day off.