David and I arrived here in New Zealand yesterday afternoon at about 1:00 after an 11 hour flight. Despite only a 6 hour time change, we're having a really difficult time adjusting. Those overnight flights always kill me, though somehow Dave manages to catch several hours of solid sleep. I traded seats with him so that I sat in the middle and he had the aisle seat since he was going to be driving the rental car upon landing. Nothing like feeling like a zombie behind the wheel when you're driving on the left side of the road. Ever try to hug the wrong side of the road while sleepy? Doesn't work so well. David tagged a curb pretty hard on a round about and came close to swiping a few bumpers of parked cars before my screaming registered and he started to get the feel for things.
Things have been interesting during these last 24 hours Down Under. We're slowly getting over the jet lag and getting used to driving on the wrong side of the road. The landscape is absolutely gorgeous and its bright, sunny and warm all the time. Its light outside from 6am til 9pm, which is fantastic because the sun was setting at 6:45 in Thailand (which is great for "winter," but still....). There are more cows and sheep than I think I may have seen in my whole life. Milk is a HUGE thing here dairys and shops advertising milk are everywhere. There is so much to do and the people here are exceedingly nice, helpful and generous. My only complaint thus far is that the hole in the ozone above New Zealand is the largest in the entire world and the sun here feels like its scalding your skin even in the shade. For those who know, its like being on a glacier at 10,000 feet. People here wear sunscreen ALL THE TIME. You can wear 30 SPF and still get burned after only a few hours of exposure. Its really incredible.
We stayed in Tauranga last night with the sister of a guy Dave met while rafting in Colorado (he crashed on their couch for free for like 2 weeks). Christine and her husband Mike are wonderful and have volunteered their home for us to use as a base while we tour through the region. They're super awesome and we're going to totally take them up on it! Tonight we're back in Auckland staying with Jose, another boating friend of Dave's. No idea what's on the agenda for the next few days but we're going to spend some time tonight mapping it out over a few tasty beers. More to come!