15 July 2014
NZ with LG
Our two-stage flight to Auckland was long but uneventful. Oakland to Honolulu, a two hour layover in steamy Honolulu Airport (which may be the most confusing and poorly-signed major airport in the universe), then an 8-1/2 hour downhill run to Auckland. Hawaiian Airlines got good marks from all three of us: on time, clean and relatively spacious planes, pleasant attendants... They make bigger US carriers pale by comparison (we're talking to you, United Airlines!). The only unpleasant aspect of the entire trip was its bizarre finale. After we landed and taxied to the gate, we were asked to remain seated while the entire interior of the plane was fumigated to eliminate any potentially noxious insects that might have hitched a ride on our plane. That's right: they sprayed insecticide on all the overhead luggage bins while we were seated beneath with an admonishment that if anyone bolted for safety we would have to repeat the whole crazy thing. We are sympathetic to the Kiwis' near-fanatic efforts to keep invasive species out of their country, but We are not crazy about cowering under a mist of bug spray - there comes a point where the personal wellbeing of our family outweighs our eco-responsibilities. Probably best that we were semi-stunned from travel fatigue and too punchy to effectively protest. Anyway, we made it off the plane, through immigration and customs, and to our rather dreary airport motel for a few hours of much-needed sleep before starting our real adventures on Wednesday, when we pick up our rental car and head for the geothermal area near Rotorua.