Friday, September 9, 2011

New Zealand Day 1 : From KL to Christchurch

05th September 2011 : It is New Zealand, finally!

Me and Mr D originally planned to visit New Zealand in 2013 after we perform our Hajj [because I need to accumulate my leave for Hajj, so can't really use it up for something else yet], but the plan was brought forward to this year after I "accidentally" bought AAX tickets when the route was launched in Dec 2010 [hiks hiks.. Mr D didn't know until after I completed the booking process]. (I'll figure out how to handle my leave for Hajj). It is my first New Zealand trip, but for Mr D it will be sort of walking down memory lane because that's where he did both his bachelor and master degrees.

This will be our first trip via AAX, as we normally take either MAS or Cathay Pacific for long haul. Didn't know what to expect initially, but am sure everything will be fine. We took 11:40pm flight (I love traveling at night when it comes to long haul). The flight was on time, and it was not bad after all. Can use AAX again in the future..

Approaching Christchurch, I was already in love with New Zealand with the scenery from above the plane. With the snow-capped mountain and all. Wonder how it looks like down there. We finally landed at Christchurch at about 1:50pm... hooray hooray!

Now.. it is the immigration time. I've prepared a file full of things, from tickets to booked accommodation, to credit card statement bla bla bla.. at the end only return ticket was checked. Going through the biosecurity check was also a breeze.. I already declared everything I brought, our bags were NOT even opened, and we went straight out! Easy peasy! Not even 2:30pm and we were already out of the arrival dragging our luggage to the shuttle area.

I've booked City Central Motel for our accommodation for the night, before heading to Auckland the next morning. Purposely booked the one in the city centre, just so it will be easy to see the area most affected by the earthquake [crazy crazy yeahh!]. But I didn't book any transportation from the airport to the motel, so we just grabbed SuperShuttle at the rate of NZD29 for 2pax. The driver was so friendly, that suits my chatterbox Mr D, who loves to talk to everybody.

City Central is a good one I must say, just at the edge of the area most affected by the earthquake. Am sure before the earthquakes ruin everything within the Christchurch Central Business District, almost anything you want will be within walking distance. But because of the quakes, and CBD is closed, there's not much things around. The studio room I've booked was convenient enough for the two of us, with adequate kitchenette and all. It was clean, and the owner is also very-very-very friendly and accommodating, explaining to us where to get things and stuffs. We were also given fresh milk, though I don't drink milk and only Mr D drinks. Not much complaint about the motel, except the internet connection of course. We were given the first hour free as complimentary, but the next will be charged at NZD5/hr. Expensive max!

We didn't plan to do much things the first day, just to see what is it like in Christchurch now. There's not much time anyway.. we walked to Countdown supermarket within 12 minutes from the motel by foot, just to buy some things for dinner and breakfast. I saw Pak N Save on the way from airport to the motel, but Countdown is the nearest so Countdown it was.

The walk was rewarding.. it was quite sad to see how the earthquakes have impacted the city. Some buildings need to be taken down as it is beyond repair and no longer safe, including a hotel very near to our motel. Some shops moved to other locations, which am sure it will be difficult not only for the owners but also for the staffs. And am sure there's impact to unemployment as well. Road cracks here and there, buildings torn down. It will not be easy for Christchurch citizens, but at the same time, I am sure God has plan, and the plan will be the best for everybody.

So, what did we get in Countdown? Just enough for dinner and breakfast, and Whittakers of course! Dinner that night was simple.. white bread, eaten with cream cheese spread, tomato, grilled bread-crumbed hoki fish fillet and honeydew [which I bought at reduced price of NZD1.99 for half]. Lovely lovely lovely...

Tomorrow : Our journey to Auckland was eventful and full of drama!

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