Right, so, it’s all come together this week, finally. Contiki got back to me Wednesday to confirm that I did have a place on the tour. So I quickly set about organising flights. I’d realised, or at least become vaguely aware, by this point that I was in fact unwittingly planning to travel around Easter, which of course is a really silly thing to do without great care. Thus, I was a little disturbed when I first saw the prices for one-way flights.
I’d also not taken much care in regards to the fact that the tour starts in Auckland and finishes in Christchurch, two cities which are of course on completely different islands, many hundreds of kilometres (thousands?) apart. So, return flights weren’t, in fact, a possibility. Whoops.
Thus, two one-way flights instead. And as people who’ve travelled much will know, a one-way flight is more or less the same price as a return-flight. Grrr. So, this little endeavour of mine has already started to eat it’s way into my bank account well ahead of schedule. But at least now it’s more or less planned. I leave next Tuesday night, to arrive in Auckland at midnight, which really isn’t very intelligent, but was the cheapest flight. (I noticed that, in general, unless you pay a gross premium for your tickets, you just can’t fly to NZ at anything but crap times – more on that later)
So, that’s 12 hours before the tour leaves. I don’t think I really want to go into the tour not having slept the previous night, so I’ve tried to book a cheap hotel room for the night, there. I haven’t heard back yet for conformation, but I’m pretty sure that’ll be fine. At least that way I’ll get a few hours sleep before being packed into a coach with 40 way-over-excited (and, so I hear, over-sexed) tourists.
Anyway, then the tour meanders along through NZ for 15 days, doing it’s best to squeeze the last out of my wallet on the way with all these pricey but irresistible activities :), before finishing up in Christchurch. At 6pm. It’s apparently common for most people to share a last dinner that night, so I decided against flying out then. Plus there’s not a single flight that night anyway. So, problem doubly-solved. :/
The problem is, I wanted to get back quickly so I’d have a bit of extra time back in Melbourne before heading off to California, so I went with the earliest (and cheapest) flight the next day – at 6:15am. That means I have to be at the airport no later than 4:45am. Which means I have to leave the hostel or wherever I’m staying at 4am. Which means I’m screwed, because there’s no transport at that hour of the morning aside from – potentially but unverifiably, at this point – taxis.
So, I suspect I may end up spending the night at the airport. What fun! And it’ll be 8am when we touch down in Melbourne (time zone differences), which means I’ll probably end up spending all day sleeping anyway, rather than doing anything productive.
So, in typical Wade fashion, my travels are already building themselves up to be a miniature disaster. ‘course, I didn’t expect anything less, so for the moment at least it’s all amusing. And I kind of like the challenge of the unknown, too – I’m sure I’ll figure out something for that last night in Christchurch, but for the moment, all I can do is wing it.
So, I’ll be back on the 5th of April, which is the Thursday before Easter. I’ll be departing for California at 10:30am on Easter Saturday. So I won’t get the week I’d planned prior to starting work (which is the 9th, Easter Monday), but I’ll at least have two days to sleep off the jetlag. I’ve also got a hire car booked right from the airport, so it’ll be a lot easier getting about and organised than in past. I’m quite looking forward to it, actually.
Plus I don’t need to take half a day just to get a Social Security Number this time, which is an improvement. :)
Although, I will be going for a Californian driver’s license within the first two weeks some time, which I’m already a bit nervous about. But, I’ll have plenty of time to actually drive about and get over driving on the wrong side of the road, so, that should go pretty well. I figure myself a pretty good driver in general, so I’m not really worried about my actual driving – just that I’ll do something silly like pull into the wrong lane down a side street. :)