Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 3 - Auckland

Yesterday was a nice, relaxing day.  We both needed it to begin acclimating to the time difference.  After Ray woke from his nap we went downstairs to have a light dinner at the hotel restaurant, then took a walk.  Since we were right at the airport, there wasn't any place to walk other than inside the airport, but that was fine.   We followed signs to the "viewing area" and watched planes take off for a while.  One of the Air New Zealand jets was painted different from the rest - black in front, with black and white stripes on the back half.  We guessed (and later confirmed) that this was one of the planes used to transport the All Blacks rugby team.  There were people there waiting to see if the team would board, but we didn't stay to find out.  
Jean Batten, 1909-1982, New Zealand's most famous aviatrix
When we got back to the room it was my turn to "hit the wall," so I took a nap, making sure Ray wouldn't let me sleep more than an hr and a half (1 cycle).  When I woke we went back to the airport for cappuccinos and pastries.  We made an effort to stay awake in our hotel room until 10pm and then fell promptly to sleep again.
The recovery day worked.  We both got up at a reasonable time this morning and decided to go to the McDonald's in the airport for breakfast instead of the hotel's expensive buffet.  Ray has had a thing about visiting any McDonald's we can in foreign countries we visit, so this let him check New Zealand off the McDonald's list.  This McDonald's quest has a long story behind it, related to our work with the U.S. Glider Aerobatic team years ago.  That's a story for a different blog.
After breakfast we walked over to the international arrivals area to see if there was a Regent representative there yet and there was.  We talked to them and found that we wouldn't have to wait until noon as originally planned - they could take us to the hotel Regent had arranged for us along with a group arriving at 8AM.  We hurried back to the Novotel, got our bags together, checked out, and made it back to the Regent representatives before the other guests arrived. 
View from our room at the Auckland Pullman hotel
We are now checked into the Auckland Pullman hotel and were pleasantly surprised when we opened the door to our "room."  They have booked us into a beautiful suite.  It is like an apartment, with a kitchen, dining area, living room, bedroom and bath.  What's more, it is a corner room on the 16th floor overlooking the harbor.  There is a balcony that wraps around the room, with one side facing the harbor and the other looking into the city.  As I write this, I am sitting on the balcony watching the boats in the harbor.   The driver dropped the other 5 guests at 2 different hotels in the area.  I am very glad we got this one.
It is about 11:30AM now.  We have free time here until 6pm tonight, so we will probably take a walk after lunch.   Tonight Regent has arranged a dinner at a local restaurant and we are to be down in the lobby to board the bus by 6pm.  Then tomorrow it's bags out in the hall by 8AM, checkout by 10AM, and bus to the ship at 11:30AM.  I will be glad to get to our room on the ship so we can unpack, but I really am enjoying this room today.

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