June 30, 2008

Arrival at New Zealand

I think I’ll start off with my handwritten log I scribbled when I was on the plane last night…

29th June 2008 – 9.28pm My flight was supposed to have taken off at 8.40pm, but here I am on the plane, still grounded in KLIA. Bronya and her 2 boys drove me to the airport (as opposed to my earlier plan of taking a quiet ride via KL Sentral) because the boys wanted to see me off. They saw me off at the departure hall, and I managed to grab the connecting train to the international gates the moment I went through the gates, and spent the next twenty minutes browsing. Then, at about 8.20pm as I was in the washroom, an announcement was made to all passengers for flight MH0131 (my flight!) to board the plane – and I rushed.For nothing, really. At 8.46pm, the pilot announces that the engineers were taking a look at the plane and hoped to take off in 10 minutes. At 9.01pm he announces that the engineers had to change the batteries and it would take 1-1.5 hours. However we were required to remain onboard as they would like to take off the moment they were cleared to do so.Not that I mind – I’d rather they got the plane in working order before a long flight. But that meant 1-1.5 hours of no entertainment (because the “batteries were being changed”). I wished they had checked BEFORE we boarded. If my flight was to be delayed, I’d rather spend 1-1.5 hours looking at jewelry and chocolates in the departure lounge rather than be strapped down to a stiff chair being compensated with nothing but a tiny pack of salted peanuts and fake juice. I’ve exhausted the inflight magazines and

And at precisely the moment I wrote that last word, the lights went off.

Well, after the batteries were changed, we were finally good to go about 10pm. It was an uneventful flight, and we touched down safely in Auckland at about 11.20am local time. When I got to the passport counter, I was taken to the immigration department where one of the ladies explained nicely to me that they were doing random checks on passengers. However my uncle had written an email warning me that NZ has turned away many single ladies before as they had suspected them of coming to NZ to find a job. Even Bronya told me that when she came here with her mother to visit her sister, because her occupation was a professional dancer, they were very suspicious (in case you’re wondering, some “dancers” don’t just dance) and she hadn’t even had her sister’s contact number or address on her, but fortunately her sister was outside waiting for her and they could clarify with her. For me, I had printed my itinerary as well as my emails with my uncle and my friend Jin, but I hadn’t needed to show them the prints. All the lady asked me was who I was staying with, and the full names of my uncle and Jin. After my uncle’s name and address checked out, she said that I was cleared to enter Auckland.

After I collected my baggage, I was waiting in line to go through the Declarations counter and almost cut line. It was totally unintentional 😛 I was behaving in the typical Malaysian way where “if one line was free, just go there” as opposed to this style of one line only,which would stream itself into the different available lines. Fortunately before I had even jumped straight into the available lines, I caught myself and stayed behind the couple in front of me. Phew!

I finally exited the customs about one hour after landing, where my uncle and aunt had been patiently waiting for me. They took me for lunch at a popular Chinese dim sum restaurant. Portions were quite big, compared to our tiny dishes back home. Still, I’d have to say nothing beats food like in Malaysia 😛

My aunt and uncle then took me to a hilltop park where I could see most of Auckland. I’ve never seen a sky so beautifully blue, and where green was really green. The wind was chilly and biting though… well, it is winter.

Along the way home, my aunt pointed out and explained how the houses were here. Unlike Malaysia, most of the houses here were individually built as opposed to the common terrace houses. Even the few linkhouses I saw here are strung in only about 8 or less units. I thought it was really nice as you get to choose the kind of house you wanted, in the design you wanted, and the layout you wanted, as opposed to the Malaysian’s way of having one standard design (selected by the developer) for all houses in the neighbourhood, and if you want to customize it, you’d have to renovate it – and the cost of renovation could equal the cost of the house!

My aunt also pointed out some of the houses which belong to the government but are rented out to the “poorer” folk. The look of the house can be misleading, she explained to me. They may look rundown and shoddy from the inside, but the inside could be very posh.

The houses here are a lot smaller than the ones I’m used to back home. Everything was cosy and compact, and this goes for my aunt and uncle’s own home too. But it’s nice because the place is fully utilised, and it doesn’t feel so cold even in winter. Auckland doesn’t snow, so it feels like a very cold autumn to me (comparing UK, of course). My aunt is such a generous hostess, as she has offered me many of her spare winter clothes, a bedroom of my own (decorated with a sprig of fresh flowers from this morning), and even now I’m blogging from my uncle’s home office.

I do have photos, but I haven’t transferred them from my camera yet, so that will probably get done later.

I’m still running in Malaysian time! It’s 4.22pm here but it’s only 12.22pm back home. I’d probably adjust to the local time by tomorrow.

Photo Updates:


View of Auckland

Look at the beautiful blue sky!

In the middle of the park... green is really green!

A warm welcome by my aunt

My Auckland bedside companion

View outside my room Malaysian Food & Bakery - here in Lynfield, Auckland!

I had followed my aunt to Countdown, a 24-hour supermarket after dinner… and found a Malaysian shop right outside it!