Monday, June 22, 2009

Greetings from Down Under

We are here....we arrived after a very long day of travel. It felt strange because we boarded the plane in Los Angeles around 10 pm on Saturday night, flew about 13 hours in the air, and landed in New Zealand at 5:25 am on Monday morning. We missed Sunday! The flight was good and we slept well. When we arrived in New Zealand, it was quiet and customs was smooth. Everyone was friendly and pretty laid back.

We have had some good laughs, though. After getting our luggage and going through customs, we had to pick up our car rental. Easy enough, except for a minor detail. They drive on the opposite side of the road! Which means that the steering wheel and all the controls are on the right side of the vehicle. If you could have seen us in the Hertz rent-a-car parking lot! First, Craig tried to enter the vehicle from the left side (which is normal for us in the US); then, after we loaded and he got in on the correct side, he discovered all the controls were on the opposite side. He said it felt like driving while looking in a mirror. He only had to drive around the parking lot 2 times to “test” it out and then we were off. Thankfully, the sun wasn't up and we discovered that New Zealanders don't start their days very early. Rush hour was not until 8:30-9:00 am so he had plenty of time to practice before the roads got busy. The only thing that kept giving him fits was the blinker control and the gear shift. The gift shift for his vehicle at home is on his right; in this vehicle, it is on his left. He has parked the car twice only to discover later that it was never put in park prior to turning the ignition to off! Then, he discovered that every time he wanted to use the turn signals, the windshield wipers would come on. The funny part was that we were driving in beautiful sunny weather with the wipers going!!

Then check out these road you know what they mean?

Then, true to Hoosier form, we were in the country less than 12 hours and he has met, befriended, and exchanged emails with a true Kiwi (that is what native New Zealanders call themselves). His name is Greg and here is a pic of he and Craig. (Nicky...I thought of your comment about watching Craig in Venezuela making friends with Venezuelans even though he couldn't speak the language well. We now have pictures of Craig with his various friends from all over the world. He is gathering quite an international crew!)

This pic is for our is to redeem their father and his history with rental cars. Only they will understand the reason for including this pic. One of our family stories has to do with Dad and renting a car on a trip to San Diego a few years back. It provided great laughs and life lessons, but it is one story Dad will never live down. Here is a pic of this trip's car....kinda sporty and cute, don't you think? Is he redeemed ?

Finally, here are a few scenic shots from today's adventures. The beach shots are from the beaches around Raglan which are famous for surfers and the falls are called Bridal Veil Falls. They were breathtaking!

Thanks for following our trip and stay tuned, there is more to come. Take Care and God Bless.


  1. Well, maybe........We should have had that car in San Diego!!!

    Looks amazing!


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