After a great 6 weeks in the states visiting friends and family it was time to head out again. The summer weather in Seattle was just too nice and warm, so I grabbed a ticket to New Zealand to be a ski bum for the winter. Since Amanda started a job back in Seattle I’m traveling Kiwi-land by myself for the next 7 weeks; I guess the blog needs to be renamed In Solo I Travel.
Getting to New Zealand is quite the journey, flying from Seattle to LA, then to Sydney, and finally to Christchurch, NZ. I had an 8 hour layover in LA, but a college roommate who lives in LA was throwing a party at his place that day, so it actually worked out great. I grabbed a bus from the airport to Hollywood and spend the afternoon hanging with Kevin and his friends in LA.
I grabbed the last bus back to LAX and caught my 11 PM flight from LA to Sydney. 15 hours later I finally made it down under, and it was time for a 12 hour layover. Since I had never been to Sydney before I caught the train into town and spent the entire day walking around the harbor, downtown, the gardens, and anything else of interest I could find. It was a cloudy and somewhat rainy day, but it was still nice to explore the city. The bridge and opera house are every bit as beautiful as you would expect, and the gardens surrounding the harbor are also quite nice.
I finally found some reasonably priced food courts downtown, although as far as I can tell the Australian diet consists entirely of Asian food. This entire food court had nothing but Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, and Malay restaurants. I ended up getting a delicious soup from this hopping Malay place, although I had to visit an ATM first as they only took cash. I also grabbed a meat pie at one point in the afternoon for a snack which I was greatly enjoying until one of the million seagulls surrounding the harbor grabbed the pie out of my hand and ran off with it. I’ve always hated seagulls, but I’ve never seen one so brave as to steal food you are holding in your hand.
While exploring Sydney the realities of July being winter really hit me when I came across multiple winter festivals in town. It is currently mid-winter break for Australian schools, so there were ice rinks and snowball fights setup all around town. It wasn’t really that cold, but in Sydney they make the most of the winter they get.
After exploring all the way from the Botanical Garden to Darling Harbor, it was time to head back to the airport. I was carrying my avalanche airbag backpack on the plane and someone at security finally started asking questions about the odd canister showing up on the Xray machine. After a while of talking and explaining to security they let me through, but notified the airline personnel at the gate so I got to go through the entire process again with them. Eventually everyone was convinced that a depressurized canister is allowed on an airplane and I was able to head to New Zealand. Thankfully this plane was mostly empty and I had an entire row to lay on the sleep.
I landed in New Zealand after midnight and my plan had been to sleep in the airport, however it turns out the Christchurch airport doesn’t allow people to sleep overnight. Due to the late hour I had to find a hotel with a 24 hour reception, and thankfully was able to find a place that wasn’t too expensive for the night. With that I finally got a solid sleep after 40+ hours of traveling and sleeping only on airplanes.