Yes, going to be a long day. Got up at 7:00 AM. Changed my trip habit of shower and shave at night to regular one of doing these in the AM on this last day in NZ. So, when I got up it was 2:00 PM on 7/3 in STL and I will be home after travelling around 10:30 PM on 7/4 in STL.

About 10:00, we walked over to have breakfast at the café where had eaten the last two mornings only to find out they are closed on Tuesday and Wednesday so they can take time off each week. General store person directed us to go to the How Waves Cafe  at Hot Water Beach, which we did. Great breakfast as have all been here.

After we ate, we drove down to Hot Water Beach. At low tide, folks dig pits in the sand since hot water bubbles up. One can do this mostly at low tide plus or minus an hour or two depending on the waves as the tide comes back in. It was well beyond that time span when we got there. Beautiful beach, of course. Donna frolicked in the water.

Drove back to our accommodations, packed up, and were on the road by Noon. Took 2.5 hours to get to airport. Got a bit lost around the airport and road construction, but the Hertz GPS and Jeff got us back on track. Dropped off the car. Stuffed my new down jacket into my suitcase using the expansion zipper. Don’t think I will need it in LA or STL. Wheeled luggage into airport.

For most folks, ANZ has kiosks where you check in and get luggage tags and boarding pass printed out. Then you take your luggage over to a drop off area and put it on a belt. Donna and Jeff found out this AM that ANZ had changed their seats so that instead of two aisle seats they had an aisle and middle together. When we got to the check-in area, they worked with a live person to see what could be done.

I, on the other hand, found the Premium Check In desk. For all my flights, the scans of my electronic ticket have not worked. Same in premium check in. Attendant did it manually and said it was the “Jr” on my name that is on my passport but not part of the ANZ records that caused the problem. So, put my luggage on belt, went up a level and went through single scan/gate for premium passengers at Customs. Security was a breeze. At each juncture, I waited to see if J and D would be coming through. Finally, went through the huge duty free shopping area and upstairs to the ANZ lounge. Made contact with J and D who wanted to know where I was. They had gotten seats they wanted. But were slow coming through security and Donna was getting extra screening!

I tried to see if they could join me in the premium lounge, but I’d have to be Gold Member to be able to do that. So, I fed my loneliness with a long black, finger sandwiches and wraps. Assuaged my guilt (hahahaha). Now, lots of time before my flight boards. Hours. And the lounge is pretty empty. Too bad I could not get guest passes for  J and D. And their plane leaves about two-and-a-half hours after mine. Well, I don’t want to eat too much here. Would spoil my appetite for the fare aboard. So, fiddled around with downloading images from this morning and waiting for my call to beard.

Again, since I cannot say this enough, the whole trip was a great experience with the icing on the cake being with Jeff and Donna these last four days. We were blessed with good weather and a great group of fellow travellers. I gained new friends. And now it’s back from winter to summer, from being chilled to being fried. 


NZ6, Seat 3A: It’s about 10:00 NZ time and dinner service is over. Left the gate about 8:00. The three guys with stripes on their arms all look older than I am. Guess gray hair brings experience. On board, the woman across the aisle from me is wearing a face mask. Little did she know that I would be aboard! And she laughs out loud at whatever she’s watching on her video monitor. Guy in front of her changed to PJs. Guess he’s done this before. And it was interesting to watch through the open curtains to the galley as a crew member assembled each main course from various containers and bowls. What emerges is as if you are at a good restaurant. I’m still on NZ time so I can figure when to get the bed extended and go to sleep. Too confusing to change to LA time yet. Did check in online for my AA flight LAX-STL. It was 24 hours before my flight given it was 7/3 in LA.

Had two glasses of sauvignon blanc before and with dinner. While red wine seems to get me coughing, found out that white doesn’t. Strange.  Guess it’s time to take out my hearing aids, lenses, and get supine.

Slept for five hours. Reset my watch before I lay down. So, it was about 7:40 LA time when I got up. Others seemed to sleep longer. A couple of hours later, they served breakfast. Lots of food, of course. Got into LAX on time. Breezed through Global Entry. Went outside to figure out where my AA terminal was and how far away. My check in online showed Terminal 5 which is past Terminal 4. I dragged luggage and myself down there only to find out that the gate had been changed to one in Terminal 4. However, TSA Precheck was fast and I parked  myself near the gate, dozed, got a scone and coffee, dozed.

AA803, Seat 2F: Flight boarded on time. Reset my watch again to STL time. I think dinner is next. 

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