Things were quite hectic during our last week in Dunedin. We needed to vacate our flat last Monday and move into a motel for the last few days. Though the Accommodations office had tried to get us a bit more time, they needed to prep the unit for the next tenants so we packed up and moved a few blocks to the Cable Court Motel on Cumberland avenue. It was a very comfortable place with a very nice couple who managed it.
We will miss our little flat (at left; we had the left half of the house. While I’ve lived in houses with corrugated metal roofing before, I’ve never lived in one with corrugated metal siding. It could get quite cold inside; sometimes it was colder in the flat that outside. But it was clean, comfortable, conveniently located, and aside from the presence of some incredibly inconsiderate late-night party-makers in adjacent houses we were very happy with it.
The week was pretty uneventful. M?lia finished her last week of school at Logan Park High School and got to spend a few late afternoons and evenings with her friends. I had several meetings with my supervisors, who seem very pleased with my research progress. We have a pretty good schedule planned, and I should hit the ground running with my research once we get back to Hawai‘i.
We flew out of Dunedin yesterday morning to Auckland for a connecting flight to Sydney. We didn’t know until we checked in that Air New Zealand cannot (or would not) route our bags to Qantas. They also charged us $200 for excess baggage for the short flight. Unfortunately ANZ has a near monopoly out of Dunedin and we had little choice but to use them. We had to wait for our bags at the Auckland domestic terminal, catch a shuttle to the International terminal, check in again, and race through security to get to our flight. We got to the gate just as the final fifty or so passengers were boarding.
Oh, yes, apparently the Auckland airport charges a $25 per head departure fee. Luckily I saw a sign over the desk of the fellow that checked us in and asked him about it. You buy the stamps (affixed to the back of your ticket) from a Money Exchange booth. He said a lot of people make it to the gate only to find they haven’t paid the fee and have to scramble to go pay. Fortunately they are changing the system on July 1 – after we leave, of course – so that the fee is included in your ticket price.
It took us nearly two hours to get through Immigration at Sydney International airport, collect our bags, and then make it through customs and catch a shuttle to town. We arrived at our hotel in Sydney about 12 hours after leaving Dunedin yesterday morning. Today, my birthday, was our only full play day in Sydney, so we walked down the harbor (about a 10 minute walk) and took a ferry out to the Taronga Zoo. We got a lot of pictures there, but they’ll have to wait for a future post. I’