Posted by: monsonmadness | June 3, 2012

Delayed flight and things we love about New Zealand

Day 7 – Sunday 3rd June

We stayed at the budget Kiwi international hotel for our last night. We had been warned that it was really basic, but we found it to be luxurious compared to the dorms we had been in the last two nights. It was great. If we were to do anything differently on this trip, we probably would have forked out a little more money to stay in a hotel rather than freeze to death those nights in the dorm room. It just wasn’t worth it. You can’t put a price on being comfortable!

Getting up at 4am was a challenge, but we did it. Returning the rental car and getting through airport security was a cinch. Spending our last New Zealand dollars on extra candy bars was nice.

What was not nice was getting on board our flight and waiting to take off only to be told that the luggage count was not right, and they had to unload all the bags and count again. They did this, and still could not reconcile it. Finally, they told us that we had to disembark while they investigated. Sounded really stupid at first, but I suppose if they had more bags than they were supposed to, it could have been a bomb threat or something. Anyway, we ended up leaving 2 ½ hours after we were supposed to which made us really nervous because we only had a 3 hour layover in Samoa, and if we missed that flight, we would not be able to get another one until the next day. An extra day away from the kids, an extra day for the babysitter, missing an important baptism, but most of all, missing Daniel’s double birthday. We were devastated at the thought.

The good news is that in some miraculous way, the pilot was able to speed through the sky and make up a ton of time, and when we landed, we still had an hour. We thought we were safe. The Samoa airport is a tiny building, you just have to get your luggage, go through customs and then check in for your new flight. It’s easy. Probably smaller than Tesco’s/Alberstons inside.

Then we had a hold up. When we landed we were wearing jackets because it was so cold in New Zealand, when we got our luggage, we put them inside because Samoa was so hot. The check in guy didn’t say anything as he weighed our bags, but as they were going down the conveyor belt he handed us a ticket and told us that one bag was 1kg over weight limit and we had to pay a charge. It was a bit ridiculous because if he’d said something we would have just taken our jackets out and carried them, but they were gone now and we had no choice. We reached to our wallet to pay him, but we had forgotten that we were not in the “real world” anymore. This was Samoa, it wasn’t going to be that easy. He couldn’t accept the payment, we had to go to the flight office to pay. Checking our watches, our flight is supposed to leave in 35 minutes…we go to the office to pay and hand her the bill and our money. We are told to stay there, she is out of paper in her printer and leaves to go get some. 10 minutes later she returns, we pay, and we go back to the check in counter to show our receipt and to receive our boarding passes.

There is a departure tax for people leaving Samoa, but since we were in transit, we knew we didn’t have to pay. We asked the man if we needed any kind of stamp to show we were in transit, and he said that we just need to show our passport with the stamp showing we had just arrived. 20 minutes until our flight leaves…we go to border security and are told that we need to pay a departure tax, we explain that we are in transit, but are told we need to go out to the bank and get a stamp saying that we are in transit. We get out of line, go to the bank, get our stamp, stand back in line, all to follow Samoan protocol which never makes any sense at all.

Michael gets beeped going through the security gate but they don’t search him! Random. We arrive in the departure lounge 5 minutes before our flight is supposed to leave. Phew!

***

Here are some random thoughts about New Zealand…

1st – We were SO blessed with the weather. Check out this 10 day forecast that we printed off a couple of days before we left. Terrible rain before and after our trip, but great weather while we were there (if only we could turn up the heat gauge a little)

2nd –  The New Zealand people are SO friendly.

3rd – The speed limit in New Zealand is too high. The roads are windy and dangerous, and the speed limit should be lowered.

4th – Don’t go in winter. It’s cold. Unless you only have the chance to go in winter, then definitely go!

5th – The food is fantastic. Just like British food, except better. So many American chains, so many Indian restaurants, awesome Roast takeaways, great bakeries, great sweets, they just need to work on the crisps. They’re as rubbish as the American selections.

6th – New Zealand is such a beautiful country. The coast is breathtaking, the inland is either green rolling hills, or amazing forests. We really wish we could have explored more. It’s crazy to think that the North Island pales in comparison to the South Island. Wish we could go there someday…

7th – When the time comes for Michael to start applying for jobs, we’re going to put a few applications in to New Zealand;) Just so you know! Can’t be any more random that coming here right?

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Responses

  1. Crazy stuff at the airport. That would be so frustrating. Glad you had such a good time. I definitely want to go there from reading about your experience!


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