Well we arrived after 32 hours of travelling which was 25 on an aircraft (how does anyone sleep on a plane?) and the rest in airports en-route to Auckland.
You will be pleased to know that I’m not going to describe the journey or my absolute horror of long haul flights and the sense of despair at having to negotiate my way through airports and airport security because I’ve already previously written about that.
So something positive about customs in New Zealand.
We dutifully completed the landing cards we were issued with on the plane and declared that we had brought out hiking boots with us which meant that on arrival we were required to go through the “something to declare” gate.
Our arrival coincided with the arrival of three other aircrafts with the inevitable queues resulting from over a thousand tired and fed up travellers all arriving at the same time.
Now for the unexpected and very welcome surprise as we landed at 0530 which was that Auckland actually (and I know this will come as a shock to anyone who has arrived at UK airports in the early morning) had enough staff to assist and process all of the arriving people.
Another surprise was the number, or in reality the lack of numbers, who headed for the “Nothing to Declare” gates rather than entering the longer queues of declarations.
I wonder if the television programmes on custom security had anything to do with it?
Nevertheless we all queued and were duly asked to produce the items we had declared which is when the customers officer (why are Pacifica people so large and engaging when they smile?) unintentionally I’m sure made us feel welcome by when looking at our hiking boots said,
“Sweet, all good – enjoy your visit bro”
Yes we had arrived and ten minutes later were welcomed by the Southern Hemisphere chapter of the Palethorpe family.
Already New Zealand was a very welcome change from the doom and gloom atmosphere of our home country some 12,000 miles away.
Tomorrow we are all off for a week to the Coromandel Peninsula for a holiday where the temptation no doubt will be to blog about how beautiful the country is.
Well readers wherever you are I’m going to resist the temptation and try to look at the many other aspects and qualities that this nation has to offer.
There is more to New Zealand than the back drop to the Hobbits and I suspecting some of it will be very surprising, some amusing and some quite disturbing.
But thanks to the attitude and approach of the customs staff we are off to a good start.