travel

24th April 2017 – day 1 auckland

24th April 2017
Day 1 auckland:
I got up just in time to catch a skyline view of Auckland when the flight was landing which not to mention was stunning. Me and my wife were both really very very tired after a 20 hour long flight so all that I could of was checking into the hotel and crashing into the cozy bed there.
We were given customs cards for arrival new Zealand during our transit through Singapore and thankfully we went through the entire card properly and ticked off the right boxes. My wife being vegan, we were carrying a few apples and ready to eat food packets. Turns out that new Zealand customs checks all the bags for any food brought in from outside as a way of minimising any biological hazards. Though as polite as the airport staff were they were equally thorough with their checks. We were also told that has we not ticked all the right boxes then we would have been handed an instant 400 nzd fine. So long story short they just confiscated the apples and let us pass with our ready to eat packets.

Once done with all the checks we headed to the I site at the airport and called ‘go rentals from the free pay phones there. They arranged their pink and blue shuttle to pick us up from the airport and on to their office so we could pick up our rental ( all of which arranged by ‘pick your trail’ ).
The shuttle picked us up in ten mins from the airport as they said they would. We finished all the paperwork at the rental office and the entire process went very smoothly. We also got friendly advice on how to get around the country from the shuttle driver and the lady behind the counter. They were more than happy sharing their tips with the newly married couple on their honeymoon.
Turns out that 25th April is when new Zealand celebrates its independence and it was also the time when the masters games in Auckland were on in full swing so the country had a lot of foreign athletes and all the hotels were over booked. Good thing we had everything planned and booked before hand.
After taking out blue Toyota Mazda 2 rental, pretty soon we were driving down to downtown Auckland to the rydges hotel where out first booking was. GPS is a life saver and new Zealand being a commonwealth country, the right hand drives made me feel comfy with the drive, though it took me than a while to get used to the organised traffic here as compared to the chaotic road rage in Delhi.
Nonetheless the drive to the hotel was about 30 odd kms which we covered in less than 30 mins and that was after I missed a few exits and had to turn back around.
We reached rydges auckland before our check in time so we had to wait a little bit in the lobby before we were given keys to our rooms.
I was really tired but since my wife madhuri hadn’t eaten anything on the flight in, we freshened up and headed out to hog like kings and queens. We found this nice little Indian restaurant called raviz where we could stuff ourselves up.
Auckland has quite a few Indian restaurants so it wouldn’t be too difficult for a shakahari desi( I mean madhuri) to feel at ease with the food.
Afterwards we walked around the streets of downtown Auckland and to do a quick recce of what could be done in the 2 days that we had in Auckland but pretty soon we realised that we were too tired and headed back to our room instead.
We crashed at about 1930 and then I got up by 2230. Not being able to sleep, I went down to the reception to check up on things that could be done for the next day. He advised me to go to this place called mount Eden to watch the sunrise which is surrounded by an extinct volcano where you can a get a 360 degree view of the crater.
I stepped out from the hotel after that to see how the weather was and surprisingly it wasn’t that cold or windy and was quite pleasant.
I went back up, planning to be up early for the sunrise but then getting up early was never in my genes and turns out I was right about my genetics. He he he

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THE GUY SLEEPING NEXT TO ME

I hate travelling in trains. I don’t remember the last time I travelled in one. There was a time when travelling in trains was a part of everything but as age and career progressed it sort of took a back seat. So it’s been more than 3 years since I travelled in a train last and now fresh from a train journey which lasted close to 32 hours, I can now clearly recollect why I hated it so much in the first place.

First off, the fact that I boarded this train instead of the one I was supposed to be on is due to a series of events better reserved for a later post. Since I missed my previous train and I was forced to make do with whatever was available, I set off on a train journey from New Delhi to Kolkata on this one. Never did I know that the journey which was supposed to take 24 hours will end up stretching well beyond 32 hours. I boarded the train at 6:30 in the morning. It started off well. Giving me company was a guy who was on his way for his selection into the Indian army.He gave me pretty good company till the evening and when he left, on came another middle aged guy replacing him, the only interaction with whom I had was when he helped me with some change the next morning.From that point on till the time I crashed ,it was a futile attempt at writing something for my next post .

After dinner it was time to sleep and just when I started to drift off into my dreamless wonderland, my neighbour started snoring. I had forgotten the time I used to carry ear muffs for such an eventuality. I mean, how could I have predicted in my naivete that I would have to put up with someone’s snoring.From there on out, it was all about biding my time till I was either too sleepy or for him to stop snoring.I could see a few others in the compartment cursing under their breath at the perpetrator of the said crime.It reached a head when I had to wake him up to stop snoring and let me sleep. To no avail though. Before no time he was back at it and I was up staring at the ceiling of the compartment.

I even tried moving onto another berth considering most of the compartment was vacant till that time but the future occupants showed up when I was deep into my sleep and was forced to move back to my original seat.It was close to 2 at night at that time and the difficulty it took to go back to sleep was a task which I regret accomplishing.

The morning next, I was up well before my neighbour and voila!!! He was sleeping quietly like a baby(wonder how that happened) and when he did wake up, it was as if the previous night never happened and the fact that I woke up him in between was an incident in his dreams.

I have always thought that people who snore are the best sleepers. They do not care what goes on around them (had they been, then their own snoring would have woken them up), nor are they perturbed about what people think. They just keep on snoring.

As I end this chain of thought, I can’t help but wonder about my sleeping habits. Would I be a better sleeper had I snored and if i did who the hell cares cos I have my entire apartment to myself?????I still wonder how veteran couples tolerate each other after years and years of courtship.

One thing is for sure though, I had forgotten how seasoned a train traveller I used to be back in my hay day but from here on out, never again will I travel without my headphones or ear muffs again.