I arrived in Auckland the previous night to grey skies caused by the bushfires in Australia.
For almost three hours as the train had left Hamilton, the skies overhead were dark, lit by an eerie yellow glow. For the next sixty miles, the sky grew darker.
Sunset here is after 8.30pm so seeing this twilight in the afternoon was eerie.
At a distance of 1200miles from Australia, this, as well as staining the glaciers on South Island caramel, was the impact on the neighbours.
I was met at the railway station, which has become an unusual experience, by my friend Dancing_in_the_dawn, who I met on the train from Warsaw to Moscow.
We’ve kept in touch, been able to catch up in Hanoi and her aunt and uncle invited me to stay for my last night in Auckland. I never failed to be surprised and grateful for people’s kindness.
This morning, we took a short walk down to the beach at St Heliers.
It had rained over night and the wind had blown much of the smoke away. The strange yellow effect had certainly cleared.
Then it was off to the airport… and after the experience at Singapore when my passport triggered further checks and required me to present proof of onward travel from New Zealand, I was wondering how many checks I would have to go through.
I’d checked in online the night before but I’d also done that in Ho Chi Minh City, so I wasn’t holding my breath. I’d been intercepted before reaching security and directed to the check in desks on that occasion.
I walked into Auckland Airport, went up to Security, presented my boarding card and epassport at the automatic gates, strolled through, loaded up my baggage for scanning and…
That was it.
I was through.
That has to be the easiest airport departure procedure I’ve ever experienced.
Life is more surprising and far more enjoyable as a pessimist.
I headed for the airport shops, something I never do. It’s all so over-priced.
However, Tenzing had informed me just before he and Mr How Fucking Much had left New Zealand that I hadn’t lived until I had tried Chocolate Lammington flavoured M&Ms.
I have been searching for them ever since. The airport shops were my last hope.
Overpriced novelty flavoured chocolates? They had to be here.
Well, that was my theory.
I regret to report that I will be leaving New Zealand having not tried these. I am now wondering if Tenzing was winding me up.
Plus, if I didn’t already know that he is ok, I would be seriously concerned about the wellbeing of Mr HFM. Have you seen the prices of the chocolate?
The Kiwi (as in the people, not the birds) laid back approach to air travel continued. I was delighted with the presentation of boarding gate information. Relax.
And when it was time to go to the Gate, I had a great seat to watch the world and the luggage go by.