The flight across the Pacific was almost surreal in quiet and detachment from the vast distance covered. We took off at night, and after a little rattle on the take-off it was as if we sat still for 12 hours, each of us with our meals, blankets, movies, and headsets. Then, with a little more rattle, we landed again in the dark on the other side of the globe. But the plane had a number of Pacific Islanders, and the crew with their lovely Kiwi accents, and it began to feel like we were on to something new.
Emerging from the terminal in Auckland to walk to the domestic departure terminal, we smelled the maritime air and saw the strange trees (Norfolk Pine and other names to be supplied after our full tour) and could sense that we were in new place.
Then flying down to Wellington we passed over Mt. Egmont (very similar to Mt. Fuji) and over Marlborough Sound before landing in the capital, which reminds me a lot of Marin County and San Francisco.
Off now to Somes Island to explore a local nature preserve on a beautifully sunny day. Pictures coming shortly.