We were reminded how uncomfortable it is to sit for thirteen hours in one place and it was hard to doze off. I luckily had an empty seat between me and the next guy, but he was six foot something and well built, so I let him have that space to fold and unfold into. Not a good movie watcher as I usually fall asleep easily I tried to watch movies but found not much was to my taste, so flicked from one thing to another for a few hours. I tried to read my book but couldn’t concentrate, and then thought I may as well watch something. I put a movie on, and just like at home, I fell asleep almost immediately. Perfect. I must remember that for going home.
A medical emergency where they were calling for a Dr on the plane mean’t staff were less attentive than normal. I went down a few hours later into the night to get a hot drink and an off duty flight attendant was flustering around. Seeing me waiting there, actually just enjoying having a stretch , jumped out and said not to use the toilet as they had a medical emergency, which I had forgotten all about. She got me a tea and hurried me away as she tried to change the toilet tab from ‘vacant’ to ‘occupied’. “Must have diarrhoea”, I said to Gilbert when I got back.
As we landed they told us temperature was around 13 degreess and I looked at Gilbert and we both thought, what the hell…2pm…what kind’ve summer day is this, and was glad I was wearing relatively warm clothes.
Having checked in baggage at Auckland airport early, it was a realisation that our bag, being first on, was almost the last off, so a good three quarters of an hour waiting for that to come off cemented why we prefer to be carry on. At one point I thought I’d be pretty annoyed if my bag had gone missing, the one flipping time I checked it in. We were so excited to see Ren, we also completely forgot to get duty free, which would have to be a first!
So funny to see her looking all worried behind the barrier. Usually it’s us waiting for her. We had taken so long to come through after landing she was worried we’d gone out some other way. We caught the train back and walked to her apartment stopping for coffee. It reminded me of our stop here two years ago to the day, when we were on our way to Amsterdam and arrived there on Tanjas birthday and Dusanka had made this!
That was a cake to remember!
We decided not to sleep in the afternoon and headed out for a walk. Ren walked us around the sea wall where heaps of people were walking dogs and jogging, biking, roller skating, playing games. Really nice relaxed atmosphere. “How fit are you guys?” Ren asks me as we head out. “We’ll walk the pants off you”. I answer laughing, but after about an hour I ask causally “so when does this sea wall end?” “Oh it goes for miles”, Ren answers. “Ok let’s stop now and sit a minute”, and quickly suggest we head back. It’s a good brisk walk and Gilbert’s ready for food now. Blair, Ren’s cousin who lives here too is going to meet us for a drink so we settle in where there’s seafood, and enjoy a wine before Blair arrives and we share dinner and dessert.
The waiter sees us hesitate over dessert and announces its the best Creme Brûlée that we must try. He must’ve seen I was a Creme Brûlée person I laugh, but I warn him that I have eaten the ‘best in the world’, and it better be good! He admits later he was nervous bringing it out, waiting for my thoughts. “Well I have to tell you it’s about a three”, I say when he returns with our bill. He’s shocked and asks “Three out of ten?” No I say. “The third best I have had, and I’ve had a few”. You will be wondering where the best was and it was in Dunedin about ten years ago. It was layered and amazing!
We hug Blair goodbye and head back to Ren’s at about 10.30pm and I’m pretty tired by then. Ren sets a cracking pace and much of it is uphill. It’s chilly and she chats as she gains speed. I match her steps and lengthen my stride, talking less so I can keep up.
The scariest thing at night walking around Ren said, is the raccoons and skunks who are not scared of you as they go about their business, and if you get ‘attacked’ by a skunk, you can get up to six weeks off. Geez. I’ll watch out for those!
We reach the apartment and I stop and turn to her “Well Ren, you tried to lose us but we managed to keep up. Not a very fair assessment of our fitness level, given we’ve been awake for more than 24 hrs and you made us walk the sea wall, filled us with wine and food before an uphill climb home”… and we are all laughing pretty hard as we head indoors. I’m absolutely buggered and I hand Ren my phone and ask her to charge it. The plug is funny and I’m too tired to think how to work that out and collapse. “Leaving at seven, she calls out, so don’t make me late”. Geez are you kidding…me, make you late!