Flew through customs at LAX! Dom managed to make it to his next flight in 45 minutes while Michelle and I waited around for the bags.
Good news: her beer survived the flight!
Bad news: we used all our standby luck in Sydney. Never fun when you have to buy a ticket to get home!
Future note: LAX's terminal system is awful! Each airline has its own separate terminal/security and nothing is connected... Standby nightmare!Read more
Ok, I lied. THIS is the best ending to a trip!
Arrived at 6:30 AM for a day-long layover in beautiful Sydney! We were even blessed with gorgeous 80° weather - Michelle was elated to wear "colors!" and something other than the two sweaters she rotated through the entire trip.
By now, we were all exhausted and set the ambitious goal of an 8 PM bedtime.
We walked all through the city and found a MTG shop for Dom to buy Australia cards ("So, since they're in English, how do you know the cards are Australian?" ... "You don't.")
Michelle made it to 4 PM before giving up and changing into PJ's. Dom and I had one last hurrah sushi dinner and let me tell you, it was INCREDIBLE! Melt-in-your-mouth tuna in addition to teriyaki waigu beef... we were in heaven! Follow that up with liquid nitrogen gelato and we had a fantastic ending to an unforgettable trip.Read more
A 3:30 AM shuttle to the airport seems fitting for such a sad day.
Maybe we'll spend an extra day in Sydney to ease the pain...
We were shocked to find how much of Christchurch is still being rebuilt. Many of the building were undergoing conduction or condemned. However, amidst the rubble, the town found unique ways to endure and excite it's residents and visitors. There was graffiti artwork everywhere, not to mention the random sculptures.
One project we all loved was the Re:Start Mall. As areas of the town are cleared, shipping containers are moved in and turned into stores and cafes. When the town is ready to rebuild on that area, the containers are moved to a new clearing, merchandise and all - it's a traveling mall!
Wish we could have spent more time here but we can't wait to see what it looks like in five years!Read more
Gorgeous wildlife park about 30 minutes outside of Christchurch. Highlights:
We saw kiwis being fed; their exhibit is keep really dark, it took our eyes about 5 minutes to adjust well enough to even see the birds!
The meerkats had a ball pit!
Michelle found a bird that sounded like R2D2!
We got to cuddle with a baby cow!
Lemur commentary with a British accent ("huh, wha... was that a bug? Oh. Oh wait. It's just a blade of grass..."). They are silly critters.
Tasmanian Devils!!Read more
Not much hostel room in Christchurch, so Dom and I booked a hotel. We were surprised how inexpensive it was in comparison to other hotels. Turns out, there was a reason why: the rooms are 110 sq ft with no windows. You don't realize how small that is until you stay in a hotel room that size! To their credit, the room was brilliantly done and very modern. I felt like I was in an Ikea exhibit. Possibly the most unusual feature was the "sunrise wake up." Since the room has no natural light (no windows), you can tell this fancy panel on the wall what time you want to wake up. Five minutes before that set time, the room will slowly start to brighten like a sunrise. So bizarre - so cool!Read more
Possibly our favorite city so far! This place is beautiful and has more to do and see than could be accomplished in a year's time.
Nine-hour bus to Christchurch, here we go!
New Zealand's most famous burger joint! Hour-long waits are common but the burgers are worth it! Dom and I had dinner at Devil Burger (delicious and no wait) so we went next door to Mrs Ferg for some fantastic gelato - hokeypokey flavor (a candy in NZ, it's almost like caramel honeycomb) was a winner!Read more