20 December 2011

New Zealand Chronicles | Arrival

2 December 2011

The plane touched down. It was kind of surreal actually. I mean I take lots of flights -- seeing any of my close friends or relatives requires it. But this was somewhat different. First of all, I couldn't text anyone. My phone (Mr. Incredible) was not built for use outside the U.S. So, though I had wanted to buy an international plan, I could not. I had to rely on WiFi, which is just foreign to me. I recognize that -- In the grand scheme of things -- is not worth a mention. But hey, we're here to talk about me.

New Zealand is wet. 

I stepped out of the pressurized cabin and into a warm blanket. It was icky. I was icky. It had technically been two days since I had showered. In actuality it had been at least 21. Nearly a full day of rushing and waiting and angst-ing. I wanted to bathe see my friend and officially be done traveling.I grabbed my bags and followed the signs to baggage claim. 

Auckland International Airport is duplicitous. 

To have the signs tell it (and that's their function isn't it?), baggage claim is over there. It's that way, right there. No the signs didn't use those phrases, but their cheery little arrows certainly belied the actual distance to Kiwi ground. The airport kept us imports segregated in a glass hallway (my second such enclosure of the trip), where we could be watched and (I imagine) decontaminated if there were deemed a need. The glass hallway was pretty, and allowed us to be watched. But I didn't mind all that much, baggage claim was over there. Something about being there, but not quite there definitely made my bags heavier. Angie was on the premises. I was close. I was sure it once I went across the moving sidewalk, I would be... passing through a duty free shop, with the smells and false smiles. No worries, baggage claim was right over there. A large poster featuring at least one of Angie's preferred All Blacks player welcomed me. I was reminded to toss my fruit and plant life. The were Maori sayings left, right and center. The customs agent asked me if I had Angie's address. I explained the business of not having my phone. My carry on bags no longer seemed less for carrying and more for dragging. I didn't fret though. Baggage claim was this way. And it actually was.

I grabbed my lady luggage, explained the "banana residual" in my bag was not a threat to the New Zealand ecosystem, had my luggage x-rayed, and went out to actually mingle with the Kiwis. 

I did not see Angela. 

To be fair, she is pretty short. And I did not look that hard. I thought she would have a sign or a... something. So I stopped. I looked. I walked in (what Angie calls) the exact opposite direction. And then there she was. Hooray! Ang likened it to something out of Love, Actually. Angie thought I had seen Love, Actually. Clearly we had been apart too long. She was an instant pick me up though, my bags weren't so heavy. New Zealand was still wet, But it was pleasant? No. It was just humid. But I didn't mind. It was adventure time.