….Annnnnnnd We’re Off! (Almost)

Final errands today followed by our usual well-organized but nonetheless last minute packing.  (I have noticed in the past few years that my photo equipment has been taking up an ever-increasing fraction of my total luggage.)

We hit the road tomorrow morning at an un-retirement-like 6:30 AM, spending a day in LA and overnighting with friends their at their not-so-secret hideaway in the mountains about an hour and a half south of the city. Our international flight leaves Monday night, and is in two hops: 14 hours to Auckland NZ, a 1-hour layover, and a 4 1/2 flight from Auckland to Cairns (Australia) our first destination and the jumping-off point for the Great Barrier Reef.

Several people have asked why, if we are going to be in New Zealand later anyway, we are routed through Auckland on the way to Oz. And the answer is that (a) our itinerary was such that it made sense to do NZ second, but (b) our international flights are all on Air New Zealand, so everything gets routed through Auckland.  (It’s sort of New Zealand’s O’Hare.) But a bonus second reason is that Air New Zealand has this safety video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBlRbrB_Gnc.

That video was apparently some kind of breakthrough in the Kiwi national psyche since up until recently they were apparently heartily sick of having practically lost their national identity to the hobbits and elves, preferring to be known for more than being the place where Lord of the Rings was filmed. Why this is so is something of a mystery to me, since up till now their national pride seemed tightly linked to the oft-repeated fact that New Zealand has more sheep than people.  Tying yourself to JRR Tolkien seems like a step up.

In the years that I lived in Holland, I lost count of the times that people would proudly inform me that the Netherlands has more bicycles than people.  So it would seem that this is some kind of standard national boast:  “{Location Name}: More {Common Object} than People.” Needless to say, this opens a universe of possibilities, and if I were still working I would certainly run an office contest soliciting new entries, like “Detroit: More Broken Windows than People.”  I would also accept inverse entries: “West Virginia: More People than Incisors.”

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Categories: Australia/New Zealand | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “….Annnnnnnd We’re Off! (Almost)

  1. Hilarious, Rich! I didn’t realize until this moment what an awesomely good writer you are.
    Love & happy trails to you and Alice, Vicky

  2. Angie

    Airline of Middle Earth was brilliant. It was the first one I’ve actually paid attention to in the past 10 years!
    And remember – this is the first day of the rest of your lives, so enjoy!

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