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Arriving to New Zealand, to Auckland

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I caught my 7am flight to Auckland after a few hours of sleep at the Papeete airport and arrived 6 hours later at 11am to Auckland, New Zealand. But to my shock it was the next day, I lost a day. I hadn’t realized I was crossing the date line, new experience for me. But then again, since I started this trip, I usually have no idea what day it is anyway, so shouldn’t really make a difference.

I pulled out the immigration form for New Zealand and set to work, but there were a few peculiar questions that caused me some issues. Could had been more to do with the sleep deprivation thou.

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Are you here for the Rugby World Cup? I didn’t know that the World Cup was right now, I hope it doesn’t affect the prices of hostels. And besides, what has that question to do with immigration; is the whole country so sports crazy, that if you say No, you will get rejected from the country? I took my chances and still checked the No box.

Later I found out that the bloody thing is still over three months away. I mean how sports crazy do you have to be to arrive here over three months before the actual thing starts. And besides your visa is only valid for three months so, oh well. Next question.

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In the past 30 days have you visited a forest? Uh, well, I suppose that depends on the definition of a forest, but I would expect most people to have been in some kind of forest in the last thirty days. But still, decided to check the safe option of ‘No’, always choose ‘No’ in an immigration form if in doubt. Any ‘Yes’ checks are mostly likely to lead to follow up questions.

And classifying water as a biosecurity risk item sounds a bit of an overkill to me, but what do I know.

I still got a big red P on my immigration card from the customs official. That couldn’t be good, probably meant that I would get some tough checks. In my mind I went thru all my things, no, I shouldn’t have anything offending on me.

Then I saw this.

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I stopped on my tracks as I realized immediately that I had a red apple from Tahiti in my shoulder bag. Shit. Time to make a tactical retreat to the toilet I had seen 10 meters earlier. I felt like I was trying to flush cocaine down the toilet with cops banging at the door as I threw the incriminating evidence bag into the trash bin. There, should be safe now I thought.

As I reach the same advert again, I was set upon by a huge angry customs dog, viciously barking at my bag and nearly toppling me over. Well, actually the dog was barely knee high, sort of cute and merely seemed very exited about my bag in way that puppies are about new toys, but lets not split hairs here. It had smelled the apple I had just had in my bag moments earlier. Pretty impressive I have to admit. So it went thru my bag with the customs official. Phew, that was a close call.

By the time I had finally made it thru the whole customs process. My immigration form was full of weird letters, stamps and crosses. But still, I made it. And I can safely say, I don’t have anything New Zealand might find offending. So I was finally released into the wild of New Zealand, so I headed to the asphalt jungle of Auckland.

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Unfortunately the next few days were pretty cloudy, rainy and windy, but not as cold as I feared. So far I haven’t needed to buy any new clothes, which is good. But still, I heard the south island is even colder, and even thou it is supposed to be the more beautiful of the two islands, I’ve decided to stay on the north island this time. I only have two weeks here, so I will need to make a new trip here.

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This is probably closest I have come to being homesick on this trip (I said closest, not actually homesick), but it’s almost like back home in London. Well, I am not saying that it is really like London, but after spending five months in South America, this is the most western city I have seen. Most people speak English, and there are all the familiar shops around like Westfield (well, not that I miss Westfield, but you know), Wagamama (this I actually do miss), Nando’s, Borders and various other familiar shops. So by my standards right now, it’s like London.

And another thing that’s exactly like London, is the amount of affordable sushi around, which is one of the things I have missed from London.

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The biggest difference to South America however is the scale and amount of services offered for backpackers. The hostels are huge multi-storey buildings; and you have half a dozen companies offering bus tours for backpackers thru New Zealand. It’s all very civilized and organized. I did take advantage of a free bus tour of Auckland, offered by one of the above mentioned companies. You know, a tour where they do show you the sights, while reminding you at every opportunity how awesome bus passes and other adventures they have. They almost got me, I considered it, but in the end boarded a local bus to Rotorua…

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  1. I am so used to it being bad to carry foreign fruit into the country (Australia can be just as tough) that I once asked airport staff in Finland if I could keep a banana with me – the woman laughed and joked that there is no problem but I should be careful or she will eat it. Hopefully the weather will be much more cheery when I visit Auckland at the end of the year!

    • Hehe, South America was the same, you couldn’t take any fruits across borders anywhere. Well it should be the summer then in Auckland, so weather is probably a lot nicer :)

  2. Hope when you come back to NZ, the weather’s better. Summer is Dec-Feb. South Island is more beautiful than North… You’ll love it. You won’t think ur in London.. Lol. I’m based in Christchurch so if you comeover, do give me a buzz if you want. :)

    • I definitely need to make another trip to NZ. I only had two weeks this time, as I needed to catch up with my sister in KL. And two weeks wasn’t enough for both islands, so decided to leave the South Island for another time, even thou everybody keeps saying how much more beautiful it is! I’ll let you know once I get there again :)

  3. Lucky you remembered the apple just in the nick of time! My sister forgot about one in her bag and had to pay the fine :(
    I wonder how much fruit they recover from the rubbish bin in the nearby toilets!

    • Oh no, it is quite easy to forget something like that, I just got lucky with that add, otherwise that dog would totally had caught me.