It was a great send off from Palmie Airport. Thanks to all those people I work with who bravely got out of bed early on a Sunday morning to come and see me off! Glad you could get a cup of the 'best coffee in Palmie' J! - and thanks for transporting me to the airport.
Got a great view of the criss-crossed runways at Ohakea as we flew over. Also the Rangitikei River meandering through the dry countryside.
At Auckland Airport there was an aviation security lady who was incredibly severe looking. I thought she could be employed as a 'timeout' supervisor at school: that way y0ur customer supply would dry up really quickly I reckon! I left from the far gate where they have done renovations at Auckland airport. The toilet 'spoke' to you about locking the door etc. I got the giggles: it was like something out of Candid Camera.
Had a good flight. Really appreciated the in-flight little screen on the seat back. Eight hours had passed without me really realising it. I watched two episodes of CSI, one of House ( my first ever) and saw an excellent documentary about Vesuvius and Pompeii and Naples. Plus I used all my skills from ICT PD to work out how to make my own 'playlist' from the 225 CDs available! We had a genuinely nice airhostess right down the back of the plane too. ( Singapore Airlines flight.)
Dean met me at the airport and had a transit stored value card already for me. Groovy little things. You don't even need to take them out of your wallet, and just put them by the sensors when you got on and off buses and the underground. Very new underground train from the airport. Everything so safe and clean. We headed to his apartment which is near the Chinese Gardens stop, surrounded by apartment blocks. His apartment is lovely and surprisingly big. Two storeys with the bedrooms upstairs. My bedroom overlooks a really beautiful looking swimming pool and wouldn't you know it I brought no togs along! Also quite a big area of trees nearby.
I woke sometime after 4am, jet lag and all, but felt like I had had a few good solid hours of sleep. 5am I got up and wrote in my diary. Gradually got to see more of the view. The canal is lit all night and as dawn was breaking I could see people making their way along it, and exercising on it. By 7am children in pristine white uniforms were walking along it. Also huge amounts of birdsong.
Just before 7.30am a loud speaker crackled into action and I realised there was a high school nearby and the bell soon rang for assembly to start. The assembly was broadcast loudly enough for the whole neighbourhood to hear(!) and all the children were assembled outside the front. It seemed to start off with the national anthem. When it had finished fifteen minutes later, all these high schoolers in their immaculate white uniforms walked sensibly off in lines to their classes. Wow! I think I would like to teach these kids! The motto that was largely written on the outside of the high school was "Strive for excellence".
There was lots of other activity to watch along the canal. People were doing tai chi, socialising, running....
I left the apartment with Dean and walked through to the bus stop. Everyone is in apartments but it is not at all dingy and sorrowful. There are green patches all over the place, and little stores and little places where people can congregate. It all had a friendly feel to it. There was a pre-school nearby.
I came in on the express bus with Dean when he went to work and he told me which bus stop to get off for the MRT to "Little India". I successfully worked out which line to take and have been wandering through the streets of Little India. Very good place for people watching. Changed my last 35 NZ dollars at a money changer basically for dollar for dollar. ( BNZ at the airport would have taken $10 commission!) Lots of marigold strands, fruit, fabrics. Very Indian but no hassles. Time to get back out into it and out of this air-conditioned haven of the internet cafe!!!
Catch you again soon.