A Family RTW Travel Adventure (2008-2009)
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City of Sails


When I heard the man across the aisle ask for “the extender,” I thanked my lucky stars I wasn’t sitting in the middle seat next to him.

Twelve hours is too long to be trapped on a plane next to Jabba the Hutt.

Due to OneWorld ticketing restrictions, we weren’t able to get on the direct flight from Santiago to Auckland, and instead had to connect through Los Angeles.

While not the most convenient way to get to New Zealand, we figured if we could survive 23 hours on a semi-cama bus, two consecutive twelve hour flights would be a piece of cake.

However we didn’t expect the shock that comes from being exposed to a critical mass of American tourists.

The LAX departure gate was full of senior citizens from the American heartland.  They were heading to Auckland to join a two week Celebrity Cruise around New Zealand’s South Island and then across the Tasman Sea to Sydney, Australia.


It had been months since we had been in the company of so many Americans, and the snippets of conversation we overheard were, shall we say, interesting.

One woman complained to her husband:  “I don’t understand why we have to be on a plane so long to get to New Zealand.”

Another man to his traveling companion:  “I can’t wait to take a hundred pictures of glaciers.  I’m going to prove to my neighbor that Al Gore is a liar.  Global warming, my ass!”

Our favorite fellow American was the seventy year old man who, when the plane started boarding, climbed over four rows of seats in the departure lounge to cut in front of the line.

He managed to drag a large rolling suitcase behind him – though he seemed far less concerned about his wife who wasn’t nimble enough to climb over the seats.

Fortunately the Celebrity Cruise group was quarantined immediately upon arrival and taken directly to their ship, limiting their contact with Kiwis.

We gladly parted company with our country men (and women) at the airport and took a taxi into the city.  It had been fifteen years since I last visited Auckland and I was eager to see how the place had changed.

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November 17, 2008   4 Comments

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