9:30am, Queenstown airportYikes, hit by a lot of fees this morning, but could have been worse… Up with the 6:45am alarm. We take quick showers, complete packing our bags, cook up some cereal, and leave our toiletries in the bathrooms (extra shampoo, conditioner, facewash…). Out the door shortly before 8am. We carry 3 checked bags and 3 carry-ons together in one go. Quite a haul, even given our constant backpacking the past 3 weeks. Cloudy out, with low clouds. The drive to the airport, takes ~10 min, with no traffic. An easy drive. During check in to Jetstar airlines, we are told there is a 20kg checked bag limit per person. We are over by 12kg, and it's $15 per kg extra! We have 3 carry-ons, and limit is 1 per person at 10kg. We have a little margin in our carry-ons so we re-distribute. Some how we manage to stuff 8kg in Matt's pockets, tied around his waist, and in carry-ons (the lady behind the counter is also generous in her rounding). We only end up paying for 3kg. At the car rental counter, we have the expected penalty of paying for a windshield replacement ~$350-$400 (they'll charge $500 and reimburse us after the final cost is determined). Bummer, but the full insurance over 41 days would have been $350, so it's almost a wash… (note, a few weeks later they sent me a letter saying it was ~$280). Airport security is a breeze. We can leave our shoes and jackets on and our toiletries in our carry-ons. Only laptops need to be presented. Can't actually get through security until they announce your flight is ready. Queenstown airport is quite small, just 8 gates. Mainly domestic travel, and Melbourne flights. Clouds still lingering low, but hopefully we'll see some mountain tops from the air.
2:27pm, Auckland AirportMan, the re-packing never stops…. The 1hr, 40min flight to Auckland was smooth. Got some good views of Queenstown as we departed, but then climbed over clouds, and my hopes of catching Mt Cook from the air faded fast. Wendy slept a bunch, while I started transferring my paper journal from all the tramps onto the laptop. Napped a little during landing. After we retrieved our luggage, we changed from our boots to comfortable shoes (wore boots to save on checked baggage weight), and put all our extra clothes and articles back into our big packs, since we assumed the international flight had greater baggage allowances. Then we followed signs to the international terminal, which led us outside, and along a 10 minute walk, pushing a heavy cart, that felt more like a tramp than simple walk. We could have used some mile markers, and a we even spotted a lunch/water stop on the way. Just glad it wasn't raining, and the stream crossings were minimal….
Then at the Cathay check-in counter, we were surprised to find a checked bag allowance of 23kg/person, and 7kg for carry-on. We were over by 9kg on the checked baggage! So it was back to wearing boots, jacket, scarf, and extra sweater around the waist, with pockets full of snacks and heavy articles. After using a test scale, and re-packing, we returned, and barely cleared the 46kg limit for us. It helped that we could cheat on the carry-ons by loading a separate purse and laptop bag with lots of stuff, that was not weighed. I later checked and Wendy's extra purse was 4kg (8.5lbs)! We cleared security, and headed to our gate.As I walked through the terminal, I thought I caught a glimpse of Frodo and Sam crouched behind some seats, and heard them say: Sam: "Look, it's Matt and Wendy!"
Just watched the movie "Red". Fun Bruce Willis action flick. Had white wine with the peanuts, and red wine with the chicken based lunch. Now time to work on more journal transfer from paper. Wendy's having a blast watching movies (she just gave me the thumbs up sign and a smile).1:04am (NZ time), in flight to Hong Kong Man, now I know why I'm tired, it's 1am NZ time. But just 8pm Hong Kong time. We watched another movie, this time an Asian period film with lots of grand sets and good action. Detective Dee. Also watched a couple episodes of The Simpsons, before working on my journal. I just spent the whole flight typing up my notes from the Rees-Dart hike. Quite fun to re-live it. Wendy watched some more movies. We also had dinner, which was a pretty bland fish on pasta dish, though cookies and cream ice cream cup was fun. Have a bit of a headache after 3 glasses of wine, and not much sleep last night. Will try to catch a nap during the last hour of the flight.
Yikes, it's 7:30am NZ time right now! Long day...
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