I would document the day, but who the hell knows what day it is? Traveling over the equator and the international date line totally messes up your sense of time, space, and direction. Everything is backwards like driving on the other side of the road, and the need to sleep on the opposite side of the bed.
I won’t bore you with stories of our airport travels. Lots of waiting. Lots of turbulence. Hubby and Griffin slept like logs. Kellen and I white knuckled it for 13 hours. Blah blah blah.
I took my friend Jennifer’s advice and started reading a book so funny she laughed out loud on a plane called “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened” by Jenny Lawson. I, too, laughed out loud on the plane.
When we arrived in Auckland we had plenty of time to get through customs and switch planes. We had to choose the “Something to Declare” line because I made a ton of granola for us to have on our hikes. Granola has dried fruit and it needs to be declared.
“I declare your granola to be delicious!” announced Hubby, yet they still made us go through the longer line.
We also were told ahead of time to have our hiking boots clean for inspection. New Zealand is VERY uptight about foreign contaminants. The adults had their boots cleaned fine, but the two teenagers did a half-ass job on theirs and we got redirected to the “YOU SUCK AND WILL PAY FOR IT” line. It took an extra hour to get through the inspection, which included a kindly old man literally washing the boys’ shoes, which is more than I would ever do for them, obviously. This delay made for a mad dash to catch our next flight. We barely made it and we were hot, sweaty, tired and stinky. Man I felt bad for the other travelers around us.
The only other thing worth commenting on is that I may or may not have run right past Top Chef Michael Voltaggio in the airport. I really wanted to stop and ask if it was him but we were literally running at top speed to catch our flight. Plus my family hates when I stop to ask strangers if they are famous because I am almost always wrong and I totally embarrass them. But I still do it. Often.
We landed safely in Christchurch and met up with Rich, our family friend who goes on most of our trips with us. Rich is a professional traveler and arrived in Christchurch rested, fed and properly buzzed from The Admiral’s Club. He arrived much fresher than The Clarks.
We checked into our hotel and took much needed showers. Then we headed out for a beautiful walk to town for dinner. We bought Rich the best shirt ever.
Can we please address the elephant in the room? Griffin’s hair. For weeks and weeks I have been suggesting, encouraging, pleading, begging, bribing and nagging him to death to get a haircut. Being 17, he’s way past the point of wanting my opinion. Plus his girlfriend likes it long. The problem is that male Clark hair doesn’t get long. It just gets BIG. And this thing is now so BIG and poofy I’m surprised they didn’t make us pay for an extra seat on the plane. He is now finally in agreement that it needs to be cut. But it’s a day short and a continent too late. Good luck trying to find a barber on our trek! We agreed that we are more likely to find a sheep herder who, for a few bucks, may sheer him. So that’s our plan: to get this thing shorn before we get home.
We chose a nice looking restaurant for dinner.
I was intrigued with the menu item that included “eggplant textures” and regret not ordering it. I may never know what eggplant textures are and I’m sure they’re awesome.
We ordered some Truffle Fries for the table. They were served with mayo- blech! I will also add that no actual truffles were harmed in the making of these Truffle Fries.
Kellen (also referred to as Bottomless Pit or BP) inhaled his Fish and Chips. Why are they called “fries” when they are “truffled”, but “chips” when served with fried fish? Head scratcher. They served his “chips” with, not mustard, but yellow curry! Now this I can get on-board with -yum!
The rest of us ordered the Fresh Fish plate. If you chose to order fresh fish over the other menu items like lamb or burgers, you are probably doing it to stay light and healthy, right? Here, they smoother the fresh fish with chorizo. Another head scratcher.
Tomorrow morning, we meet up with our tour group. We heard that there are two other people signed up to join our Active Adventures group who will travel with us over the next two weeks. All we know about them is that they are women. Rich ordered two Swedish, mid-forties, volleyball players. We will see.
Steps today: 13,700 not too shabby for a travel day!