Friday, September 26, 2014

Wednesday in Noumea, Thursday in Auckland, Thursday again in LA

My trip is wrapping up. Wednesday was a beautiful day in Noumea, but after standing most of the day on Tuesday, I found my right ankle was very sore. I explored the Baie des Citrons for a while, and sat by the beach to read, then grabbed lunch at a nearby restaurant. Back at the hotel, I wound up taking a nap for a few hours. Had dinner with one of the team parents, wrapping up a pretty low-key final day in Noumea.

Thursday morning I was up early, had a bit of breakfast in the room and checked out. Drove to the airport, dropped off the rental car, and checked in for my flight. Much of the Canadian climbing team was there on the same flight. After arriving in Auckland, it took almost two hours to get off the plane (there was a delay with the gate), through New Zealand customs and immigration, and pick up the rental van that I had arranged. In addition to the 5 Ontario kids I had arranged to show a bit of Auckland to, two others had joined us, so we had a full van. We drove to One Tree Hill, a nice park atop one of Auckland's 55 volcanoes, and looked at the gorgeous view from the top, where it was very cold and windy. We spent a few minutes with the sheep on the side of the hill, and then the kids had fun playing in the playground further down, especially the zip line. After that we returned the car, and got back to the airport in time for the kids' next flight to San Francisco. It wasn't much time in Auckland, but it was good to get out of the airport for a few hours, and get a little fresh air and move around a bit.

I had another few hours until my flight to LA. I had dinner, browsed in the shops, buying some candy to get rid of my loose New Zealand change, and read until it was time for my flight. We had a delay for a half hour or so while they fixed a leak in one of the water tanks, and then had an uneventful 11 1/2 hour flight to LA. I didn't sleep, but I got some rest, squirming a bit in the less than comfortable seat. I also got a good start on season 4 of Game of Thrones, which was available on the plane's entertainment system.

We landed in LA a little after 3pm Thursday afternoon, about 6 hours before I left Auckland, due to the crossing of the International Date Line. There was a very long line for immigration, after which I grabbed my suitcase that was sitting on the carousel, and got picked up right away by my friend Lorne, who had been circling the airport for about half an hour. We went back to his place and I settled in and relaxed a bit, and then we went for a walk down to the beach. After that I had a shower, which revived me a fair bit, and we met our buddy Billy for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. The three of us went through school together and are each other's oldest friends.

Back at Lorne's, I read a bit and got to bed at a proper LA bedtime, and had a good sleep. Hopefully that will make the time adjustment happen quickly.

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