New Zealand January 2020 travel blog

(Portland, Oregon) I spent time roaming the airport, and headed to the United gate about an hour before takeoff. Take off was to be at 4:45, this would give me almost two hours in San Francisco. This would have been good as I had to change terminals, and I had no idea how far apart they were or how long the process would take.

Well the best laid plans of mice and men, don’t always work out. The plane left Portland closer to 5:15 and we arrived in San Francisco about 6:30, my flight left at 7:30. When we got to San Francisco there were frantic people on the plane, their flight to Hawaii was boarding at that minute.

The attendant asked everyone to remain seated until these passengers deplaned. (This included the fellow sitting next to me.) Most people were good about it, I had to get up and out in the aisle as my fellow passenger was in the middle seat.

It was a 10-minute walk to the International terminal; it was going on 7 by the time I got off the plane and made my way to Air New Zealand. The waiting area was packed and they were starting to board passengers. All was well and I made it on the plane to my seat.

Something that was new this trip was I had to apply for a travel visa. Air New Zealand never sent any information about this, but Ryan told me. I filled out all the paperwork, paid my fifty-five dollars, and received a message, that it “could take from 10 minutes to 48 hours to be approved!

Also, a message was included that I was “not to even think of trying to enter New Zealand without a visa.” Fortunately, I did receive my visa, however a fellow passenger did not have a visa, I heard her tell the official “she had forgotten.” The last I saw her she walking off with one of the airline employees and I have no idea what happened with her.

The flight was uneventful, which is the best I can hope for. I had one of the “plus” seats so there was lots of leg room, and amenities. Good food, plenty to drink, and a warm blanket, etc.

When dinner was served, the steward came along behind the cart with a large selection of wine. That was a hit with my fellow travelers, but personally I was hoping for root beer, I settled for sparkling water.

Judging by how sound asleep my fellow passengers were, when the lights were turned off, I think they had their share of the wine. Unfortunately, for me, sparkling water does induce sleep!

We arrived in Auckland about 5:30 AM, Friday, the 24th. Thursday, the 23rd ( Jonathan and Ryan’s birthdays), had vanished. Somewhere in the middle of the night we crossed the International Day Line and Thursday went proof!!

Getting through customs went fine. I have watched many of the New Zealand border patrol shows, so I am very careful, super careful, to not bring any banned items. These include, nuts cheese, meats, plants, etc., but the biggest one is fresh fruit. There was a teenager who had some fruit and his Dad was “reading” him the riot act.

Fortunately, it was disposed in an “amnesty bin” before they got to security. There is a $400.00 fine for even one piece of fruit! Once clear of passport and visa inspection and the border patrol, I was off to meet up with Ryan.

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