Christchurch airport: Monday, June 23, 2014
The alarm went off at 3:45am!! The taxi came a 4:08am! We were on a flight to Sydney, AU by 6:20am for a 3 ½ hour fight. The night was too short!! And you have that ‘too early’ morning feeling. It was 0 Celsius or 32 deg. Fahrenheit when we got up in Christchurch.
It was so sad to say goodbye to our friends we learned to know in 1996 (we had spent 2 weeks with her at that point). It was wonderful to pick up with them again – do not know if either one of us will travel to the others country again – it is simply too far!
|Sunrise over the Pacific at 32,000 ft.|
Sydney Airport to Dallas/Fort Worth Airport: Monday, June 23, 2014 – A LOOOOONG DAY!!
Due to time change we had a 5 hour layover in Sydney! We left Sydney at 1:20pm, and after flying 14hr & 30 minutes we arrived in Dallas/Ft Worth (DFW), TX at 1:45pm the same day!! Immigration and customs took a long time as several other fights were also arriving. Originally we had booked a flight to go on to Cedar Rapids, Iowa yet today, but that flight was deleted and we would have had another 6 hour layover in DFW, plus a 2 hour flight to Cedar Rapids, with another hour to drive home. We decided we are simply too old for that kind of schedule and booked a motel here in DFW for tonight. Thank goodness we did – we are tired. We never sleep well on those long flights, plus the flight back to the US was FULL in comparison to the one going to AU.
The biggest shock, and we knew that it would be, is the daylight hours. We came from the extremes of the shortest day to the longest day of daylight. After a shower and nap we found a restaurant. Due to the placement of the sun in the sky we were thinking it was probably 4:00, but here it was 6:30 and there was still plenty of sunlight in the day! This will take a few days of reorientation!
It is always good to arrive back in the “Good Old USA”, as it is home, but traveling to AU & NZ are the easiest places to travel for Americans (other than Canada). We simply had a wonderful time making new friends, seeing old friends, seeing new sights and experiencing new things. We enjoyed the brief visits to the cities, but we loved the countryside, agriculture areas , and remote areas the most – pure raw nature at its best. We thought we would twist off the steering wheel in some situations, but it was beauty or beach around the next corner. Each one of our host along the way were special and we did unique things with everyone – a wide variety of experiences. Thanks to everyone we have fond memories of each and all of you. You have made this a memorable wonderful 7 weeks that we are sad to see come to an end. Immigrating to either of your countries would be no problem for us!! However we are not thinking of it!!
Both AU & NZ are wonderful countries. We know there is rivalry among the two countries, but the spirit of the people is so similar. They each have their own accent, but they speak English and most of the time we have no problem understanding them. In comparison to us Americans they do have different ways of expressing themselves, which we find so enjoyable and interesting, ie “Good on you”; “Bugga”, “bugga me”; “as you go”, etc. Also for the most part, their food is very similar and finding things to eat is absolutely no problem – in fact we love the quiches – I need to make more of them at home.
The biggest difference is the side of the road on which they drive! We have been so accustomed to driving on the left side of the road for the past 7 weeks that today when we rode on the shuttle bus and taxi, we had second thought!! It is funny seeing drivers sitting on the other side of the car and crawling into the vehicle on the other side!! As to who is ‘right’, we will not pass judgment!!
We just wish AU & NZ were not so far away!!
Tuesday, June 24, 2014: Arriving Home
We are taking the 2 hour flight from DFW to Cedar Rapids, Iowa (CID) this morning and should be home around 12:00 noon. It was great to relax and sleep last night at a motel in Dallas. It will make the rest of the day enjoyable.