So flying to New Zealand was really stressful. First problem was that I hadn’t tried to print my visa until the night before, because before that I was having problems with the website. It must’ve been a problem with my internet at home; almost every time I tried accessing the website at home, the website would stop responding, and this was happening even when I was trying to apply for the visa.
Anyways, night before I leave, still haven’t started packing, still have friends I want to see before I go, still hungover from the night before, still haven’t printed my visa or tickets, still wearing the clothes from the day before, hadn’t gotten a solid night’s sleep before work all week. I open a beer, and hook up the computer to the printer. print my ticket for DEN>SLC>LAX. boom. print my ticket for LAX>AUK>CRX. Bang. now for the visa. pull up the site no problem. sign in. cool. Go to the application page and the process starts to slow down. I know I have the visa, I got the email like a week ago… getting a little frustrated with the website. Then all of a sudden, I’m getting page not found errors. quit chrome maybe starting over might help, nope. Try my mom’s computer. the website is officially down as shit. FUCK.
so I open another beer and start organizing my shit and taking my bike apart. Then Terra comes over to keep me company while I pack. she’s sippin on the jim beam i had left over from friday and I’m cutting the spokes off of my hubs because i decided the wheels wont fit in my luggage. not a big deal, i’ll buy new ones when i get there and they need to be replaced anyway, the hubs are the expensive part so those gotta come with. I lost the bolt cutters I used to have years ago so I have to resort to using some shitty tinsnips, but they’re slowly getting the job done while I beat myself up struggling, Kate comes over and i finish the first wheel and get started on the second. Then Ryan comes over, I take a break, and we all smoke a blunt and hang out for a bit. Eventually i get back to cutting up the wheels and get the bike fully into the bag. (I have this creeping feeling I left the ziplock with the greasy headset parts in it on my desk. won’t check till I’m on the farm with Alec)
I triumphantly gulp down a few large mouthfuls from my friend Jim. Terra and kate are too tired to stick around so i walk them out. it’s raining out and we share hugs separately, and all together under the rain. No one was drunk enough to cry or maybe it was just on the sweet side of bitter sweet. Terra kissed me a bunch on my face and I’ll probably remember that forever because it made me so happy. there’s good friends, and then there’s great friends. Then after that there’s my friends. It took me leaving to realize that i have the greatest friends on the entire planet.
So now I’m alone with no distractions and i have the bike in the bag so the pressure is gone. everything else is looking like its going to fit, but now the Jim beam is creeping up on me and its almost 4 in the morning. I figure I Don’t need to leave the house till 6:30 so I close my eyes for just a bit. I never fully go to sleep and I open up my eyes again just before 5 and stuff my tent, pad, sleeping bag, and other shit strategically around my bike for cushioning. Most of my clothes go in the side compartments. My large backpack and all my other shit that seemed like wasn’t going to fit all make their way into the bag. I pack my laptop, external hard drive, camera, cables, rain coat, two shirts, two pairs of socks and boxers into my carry on with my passport and tickets. right on time too cause it’s almost seven. no time for a shower but i took one after work on friday. brush my teeth at least. we leave but i never was able to print my visa.
when i get to the check-in and weigh my bag i hit the second major upset in my plans. it’s over 80 pounds. checked bags can be up to 50lbs before they get the overweight charge, which i was already expecting. over 70 pounds and it’s a $200 fee… that i’ll pay more than once with all my flights. shit thats no good. so i pull my backpack out of my duffle and stuff in my tent most of my clothes and my hiking boots and now i have two bags to check under 50 lbs.
This should’ve been my plan from the start but i’m an idiot. try checking in again and my bags get tagged and put on the conveyer belt. “hope i see you soon bags!” while scanning my passport and eticket to print my boarding passes to SLC and LA the lady decides I can’t even fly to LA without the visa AND a return ticket. she makes a few phone calls and still decides no, the email saying I’ve been approved isn’t helping to change her mind. she makes a call and has my bags pulled out of the system and set aside. So this is the point i was officially missing my first flight and where i emotionally and mentally hit a wall and i can’t make words come out.
I tried explaining to the lady that I actually did not need a return ticket as long as i had proof of sufficient funds, and that I had 7 hours in LA to figure out a way to print my visa but she was having none of it. So i leave the check-in counter and pull out my computer. I’m able to pull up the visa no problem (maybe there is a god) and print it out at the tourist info center.
run down to baggage claim, grab bags, back to the check in counter, pop my bags on the scale and show the new lady my shit plus visa hot off the press with the fine print saying the thing about not needing a return ticket and she puts tags on my bags and pops em on the conveyer belt to freedom. gets me a new flight at 11 something making my layover in slc way shorter. never had to pay for my second bag either.. i make it through security as a verified tsa pre approved person somehow without signing up, meaning i don’t have to take my computer out of my bag, take my belt or shoes off, stand in the giant x-ray or do anything weird just put my bag on the thing walk through and grab it…. this is too easy actually.
layover in slc for literally 10 seconds and fly to LA. tried to sleep on both these flights but not much of that was happening. In LA i was hoping to go dick around for a bit before I went back through security and sit in the airport but there is nothing worthwhile within walking distance from lax. It would’ve taken me 2 hours just to walk to the beach and back and it seems like its right there. no kind of bikes to rent and fuck taking a taxi or a bus… so after walking around just outside the airport soaking in the sun and cool ocean air for maybe an hour i head in to go through security.
that took like 40 min. then i went to a restaurant, sat at the bar, ordered a ruben and a Goose Island IPA, and tried to steal glances at one of the most gorgeous girls i’ve ever seen. all while listening to these eastern european guys sing along to taylor swift and all the other bullshit they were playing over the speakers. Girls in LA are on a different level of hot. her shit was like those shirts amy adams wears in american hustle except she had a generous c cup going on. She knew i was looking. then i sat at the gate for hours looking at different hostels in Christchurch and transport to them from the airport. Ended up picking one that is in a renovated historic jail house because its a jail, and because they had bikes for rent which was useful and fun.
the flight from LA to Auckland was cool because i had a window spot in a row of 2 with no one next to me. this is where i got the most sleep. the flight was 12 hours I think idk the details are all fucked in my head now. i woke up a lot and could never sleep comfortably, and when i woke up for good I watched american hustle for the first time. there were two really questionable in flight meals that i didn’t eat much of but i wasnt really even hungry. i got really excited when we landed but then i had to go through customs and deal with going through an airport one last time. I was relieved to see my bags at the baggage claim and then i had to take them through a screening process where they x-ray your shit and ask you about it. I had hiking boots and a tent which were two things on the questionnaire thing that had to be declared if they had been used outside before (NZ is an island with a delicate environment and they’re worried about foreign dirt and pollen and stuff.) i just lied and said they were brand new. (they’re new to me but i bought them slightly used and haven’t used them yet) I was surprised i wasn’t asked at all about the very obvious bike in my bag because that isn’t something you can have in your luggage like that.
everything in Auckland goes smoothly and i get on my final flight to christchurch which only takes about an hour or so. when i landed and got my bags from baggage claim i opened my bags so i could converge all my shit back into one bag to make riding the bus and stuff easier. when I unlocked the zippers on my big bag i found a little note from the TSA saying that my bag had been selected for search. but nothing had been taken out including a sketchy looking (but empty) fuel bottle and my bike. even weirder was that my lock hadn’t been cut or anything. did they have a copy of the key?? lol
took the bus out to the hostel easily enough. lots of very helpful people in new zealand that come up to you when you look foreign and confused. they are so friendly here. when i got to the hostel i took a much needed dump and shower. then i checked into my room and locked up my camera bag with the laptop in it and left my large bag in the main hallway where all the other traveler’s bags were. Then i rented a bike and made my way to the mall to see if i could get my phone unlocked to put in a sim card for a NZ carrier. no dice, bought a sim card anyways and I’ve been looking at ways to jailbreak the 5s but it’s not looking good… after finding that out i needed to eat so i got some fish and chips from an asian lady and then picked up a few groceries and came back to the hostel. i’ve met to german guys here that seem nice enough but other than that ive been in the one private plave here looking on the internet to solutions to my problems. I’ll probably wait to get what is the equivalent of a ssn here and a bank account until i meet up with Alec. I cant wait to see him actually :)))))
haha i haven’t seen him since september. its the end of summer/beginning of fall here so the days are starting to get shorter. this bums me out actually because i hate when the days are short and the days were just starting to get long back home. I’ll make the best of it but it’s going to add a lot to the home sickness. the leaves are just starting to turn and its so green here so that’ll be interesting to see. when I left my parents said “maybe you’ll bring home a girl!” to which i responded “maybe I’ll bring home a guy” not sure why. i just thought it was funny. I like to play on my parents fears that i might be gay. I want to add that its sooooooo fucking beautiful here and there is quite a bit of really cool graffiti here. ill post here again sometime soon but for now my future is uncertain