We’ve arrived!

Subversive Summer Sausage?

We’re on our way!  We’ve done the continental US portion of the flight and are waiting in the LA airport for our direct connection to Auckland, leaving at 11 tonight.  We hope we’ll be able to sleep, waking just in time to deplane – maybe that’s unrealistic, but we’re hopeful.

Now to the tale of the subversive summer sausage — We packed lots of snacks and such for the US portion of things today since there is no food service on the plane; one item I put at the bottom of my pack was a small tasty beef summer sausage [Thanks to Ray and Phyllis VanderWeele whose Old Wisconsin Christmas giftbox provided this wonderful option.  : ) ].  Wouldn’t you know it?  We were pulled aside in the Grand Rapids airport to check out an unknown suspicious item.  The agent knew immediately what it was w/o even looking for it – she said there have been quite a number of such items in folks’ luggage over the holidays.  Once she wanded the culprit as well the contents of the entire bag, we were cleared – phew!  Almost undone by a snack ….

Gerry’s been reading up on New Zealand throughout the day, interrupting my crossword puzzling w/interesting and pithy details on Maori history and our intended route on the North Island.  Check in later for updates on our actual encounters with such things.

…. and PINK sheep?A stop at Sheep Country

It is now Saturday evening here in Whangerai in “Northland”, the title folks up here give to this area of New Zealand’s north island.  We deplaned around 10 this a.m. after being enroute for over 24 hours (five of which were spent in the LA airport), but of course, it was not just a day later than when we left MI, it was TWO days later.  Crossing the Int’l Date Line just before reaching New Zealand put us into an entirely new time zone.

After hitting the closest ATM for NZ dollars, we appropriated our rental vehicle (a very seasoned 1998 Nissan) and headed down the road.  Except for a couple of times when the driver (Gerry) put the passenger (Jan) up on the left-side curb (He says it’s really hard to get a sense of where the left edge of the car is in relation to whatever else is there.  Isn’t it something that we learn from almost our first ride in a car how to judge the distance from where we are inside to the outside limits of the car’s reach?  It’s a very learned response which needs to be re-learned here for a person to drive comfortably – we’ll see how long it takes for that to feel natural.), things went quite well on the four-hour drive from Auckland to Whangerai.  It was remarkable to note that many of the many Polynesian names evident all about are so similar to street and business names we encountered in Hawaii.  Here, however, they alternate with some VERY proper English names (Wardworth, Epsom) – this juxtaposition is interesting.

Some interesting signs and opportunities slowed us down, one being for “Sheep Country”.  It isn’t a real working sheep farm, but rather a museum of sorts where all the aspects of the sheep industry are demonstrated and explained.  Right alongside the motorway to cause drivers to slow down and hopefully stop at Sheep Country were some PINK sheep!  Now that just isn’t normal – poor things!  Bet they’re embarrassed … : )

Once we located our motel home for the next two days, we found a grocery store and stocked up on breakfast and lunch items.  We are fortunate to have a kitchenette right here, so cooked hamburgers for dinner tonight … nice!

We are definitely jet-lagged, both of us feeling fragile and cotton-headed.  We’ll see how much better a normal sleep makes us feel – stay tuned for reports on our tour of the Northland.

P.S.  The subversive summer sausage was confiscated by the NZ customs agents … sigh —

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2 Responses to We’ve arrived!

  1. Crystal VK says:

    the summer sausage tales make me laugh! The blog looks great, by the way!

  2. Craig Van Kooten says:

    I wonder if the pink sheep would be a good advertisement gimmick for a storage facility???

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