It happened 4 years ago in Athens, Greece, it happened 2 years ago in Lima, Peru, & now it has happened in Auckland, New Zealand–our luggage didn’t make it! Must have something to do with the odd years! We only checked one bag this time, & stuffed my carry on with clothes for both of us in case it happened again, & are we ever glad we did...except Jim packed his warm coat & razor in the suitcase. The problem with finding it is the fact we switched airlines–United from SLC to SFO, Air New Zealand from SFO to AKL. All Air New Zealand can tell us at this point is it never made it onto their plane in SFO, so we don’t know if it didn’t get on the plane with us in SLC, or if it got misplaced somewhere in SFO. It will be interesting to see if and when we ever get it back.
We landed in AKL 45 minutes early, at 0515. Once we got through customs & got done filling out all the lost luggage paper work (which is much easier to get through when the people speak the same language as you do), we schlepped our luggage over to the domestic terminal where we sat & waited for our flight to Queenstown which was scheduled to leave at 1110 & arrive at 1300. However, there was something loose in the galley floor of the jet we were supposed to take, so we sat & waited for a repair guy to check it out...and we waited. At 1230 another plane arrived that was supposed to go to Christchurch next, but they decided to let us take it to Queenstown & put the Christchurch passengers off for an hour. At 1310 they let us board...then we sat and waited for the fuel truck to refuel us. And we waited some more. Finally around 1335 we took off. Now mind you, 1335 in New Zealand is 1935 at home, which means we are working on over 31 hours without any decent sleep since we left. After landing in Queenstown at 1510 we got our rental car. They were supposed to have a cell phone for us to rent, but the guy told us they really didn’t offer that in Queenstown. The good news??? My Sprint phone switched over automatically to Sprint International without having to change the sim card, which I didn’t know it would do. I got a message informing me charges will be $2.29/minute for calls, & $0.50 for outgoing texts & $0.05 for incoming texts. I sent a text to Jimbo informing him of this, but never got a reply so I don’t know if he got it or not. The guy at the car rental place told me he has Sprint, but his mobile to mobile texts to Sprint customers in the USA don’t go through, but they will to people who have other carriers...weird.
Once we got settled into the car we headed for Glenorchy. What do I know about Glenorchy? You get to it on a beautiful mountain road from Queenstown, it is on a big lake, has jet boat rides, & there are few places to lodge at. The drive along Lake Wakatipu is beautiful. It is fall here and there is some fall foliage around, and it is rather nippy in the evening. I had a “reservation” at a motel that I found on the internet, but there were no reviews for it on tripadvisor.com, so we didn’t know what we were getting into. I called the owner from the car rental place to let her know we were going to be late. She told me it was fine, to take our time. What we found was a very small & very run down looking place with a closed office. There was a phone outside & a sign in the door that said to let it ring at least 6 times. After about 20 rings we decided to look for a place to eat. Glenorchy is a very small town, & it is the off season. We found one café that was open. There was a sign with it that said it was a lodge, & we asked if they had rooms. They did, the rooms are clean, no TV or free WiFi, a space heater hanging over the door with a 60 minute timer, a dual control electric blanket, a warm duvet & bedspread, a toilet in the hallway on one side of the room & the shower in the hallway on the other side of the room. We are the only ones staying here, so for $15 NZD more than the other motel, we have settled in. There is a big common room with a woodburning fireplace they offered to stoke up & a bigscreen TV where we could watch DVD’s since they have no satellite, but we have just hunkered down in the bed where I am writing this & Jim is reading a book. Here’s looking forward to a good night’s sleep with the hope that our suitcase is out over the Pacific Ocean right now heading towards Auckland. And here’s hoping things will go better tomorrow than they did today!