The landing is at 06:00 sunday morning at Shangi Airport. There is a lovely temperature of 25 degrees Celsius. The stop-over lasts almost 3 hours. I start with a bit of walking from Terminal 2 to Terminal 3. This appears to be quite a walk. It takes almost 40 minutes on foot. There are trains as well, but this way I can check out all the shops and restaurants. Requested some information about visiting Singapore as well because on the way back I will have over 6 hours between flights. There are organised tours of 2 hours. It takes 20 minutes with a taxi to get to the center and 40 minutes by bus.
Internet is free of charge on the airport, but you have to register with your passport first to obtain a login code. After less than an hour waiting, the second leg of 9.5 hours flying to Auckland starts. I can board as one of the first and for a while I am still hoping to have three chairs for my self again. But this does not take long. After a little while, some weird couple anounce themselves. The female is a strange combination of Grace Jones (length) and Whoopy Goldberg (face) with an enormous mountain of hair. Something like an afro haircut but then combed back resulting in a kind of exploded view. Soon after she asks my how I intend to share the arm-rest with her. I have a quick look around after take-off en move to another row where only one person is sitting. It is better to have some space for yourself.
Breakfast follows for the second time this morning. I could have expected of course, but something had to go wrong. There is a lot of turbulence during breakfast. It is quite difficult to keep everything in order. Suddenly a little flask with dressing slips out of my hands, oil with peppers. Half of it lands on my shirt and I try to control the flow of oil. Again the container slips out of my hand during the next violent move of the aircraft and the rest of the oil ends up in the aisle. For a second, I forget about my other task and the oil on my shirt flows down, spilling over my trousers. The rest of the flight I have an odour of peppers around me… After breakfast, I watch a movie a fall asleep. The flight is during daylight and I will arive in the evening. It might be better to stay awake, but I am reasonably tired now. The first time I check progress, already 6 hours have passed. I skip dinner and sleep as much as possible.
Customs in New Zealand are very strict related to import of plants or parts of them and soil. This to prevent deseases from entering New Zealand. Not reporting (accidentely or on purpose) and you can be fined for 400 dollars. I mark everything I can think of (soil on my tripod legs), plant parts in the Cranberry capsules and import of goods over 700 dollars (photo equipment). Questions are being asked about all things I have marked but they do not have to see anything.
Car rental is reasonably smooth. I am startled though, because I seem to have lost my passport. But I find it rather quickly again in the wrong pocked in my trousers. Shifting gears with my left hand and indicating direction with right hand is difficult at first but I guess I will be accustomed to it very soon. The detailed map on the GPS seems to work. The hotel is only 8 km away so that should not have to take very long. Soon I discover that something is wrong. The GPS expects that cars drive on the right side of the road. The consequence of this is that all the turnoff indications on the highways are wrong. In the end I arrive at the hotel after a lot of driving around it and I fell asleep quite unexpected after a short shower.
Maps, Charts & Downloads
GPS Map with color coded altitude information
Color coded distance/altitude chart
Download the original gpx file gpx file here.