After a shuttle ride from the airport (We shared the shuttle with a really friendly helicopter pilot and former tour operator who was happy to entertain my many questions.), a small walk and a quick dinner, we deemed it early enough to let our exhausted selves go to bed.
A early bedtime meant an early wake-up time. We got to see this view from the verandah of Verandahs just before sunrise.
We had the entire day to take in the city and work on some logistics. We took the long, long route to the grocery store to check out the shops of Ponsonby.
We got hungry along the way and stopped for what would be the first of many "pots", also known as quiches. They were a pretty common vegetarian option in many bakeries, cafes and restaurants, so I ended up eating a lot of pots.
I like going places where the trees and plants are different. I especially enjoyed the paint and landscaping of this photography studio.
All the while we were walking around, we were trying to educate ourselves on the flow of traffic. We were essentially cramming since we would be picking up our rental car on the south island the next day and giving driving on the left side a go. I have to admit, there were a few times where I failed to look the correct direction before stepping, despite the warnings.
The Belgian Beer Cafe wasn't open when we passed by, but Paul did go back later in our trip to get some Belgian brews.
It was when we reached the grocery store that his beer options grew exponentially. I am not sure I have ever seen him so focused. It was a bit like witnessing what I imagine I would be like if I walked into a yarn store that was stocked with yarn I had been researching but never seen in person before. He is literally stroking his chin in this photo and is completely oblivious to my presence.
After the grocery store trip, we headed back to Verandahs, hoping his missing bag would be there as promised. It wasn't. This was when I started what became hours of wasted time on the phone trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together to make sure we would be able to get his bag the next day. If we missed this connection with it, it would be chasing us for the rest of the trip. This was also when Paul decided we needed to find him some sandals and some clean t-shirts and underwear. Poor guy had been wearing the same clothes and his hiking boots for 3 days at this point.
And found Giapo's, the best ice cream place. Ever. Well, maybe it ties with Pumphouse Creamery. We shared a cup that was half Organic Plum Sorbet and half Vanilla Plum Creme Brulee. Delicious!
I would like one of these sheep for my front yard. Sadly, even if I expanded my suitcase, it would not have fit.
Check out Paul's sandals. Keens cost more than twice as much to buy in New Zealand as they do in the US. We are hoping Delta is paying for them.
After a few more hours on the phone, I decided that I had done all I could and that by all accounts, we were to expect the bag to be at the airport when we went to check in the next morning for our flight to Christchurch. I was skeptical since all promises in the past had not panned out. Yet, when we got there the next morning and the baggage guy came through the door with his bag, Paul literally shouted with joy. He said nobody had ever done that to him before.
Paul was happy to be reunited!
Judging by the tags on his bag, it had been through a lengthy journey before finally catching up with us.
Many thanks to Virgin Australia for helping us get it back in time and poo on LAX Delta staff for sucking so bad. And, with that, we happily left the saga of the lost baggage in the past and went on to enjoy the rest of the trip with an appropriate amount of clothing and shoe options.