A new country, a new climate...

Trip Start Aug 16, 2004
Trip End Aug 13, 2005

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Wednesday, June 1, 2005

It is cold here. Well actually not as cold as I thought it was going to be, and certainly not as cold as British winters. More of an autumn feel to it, especially since the trees here that were imported by settlers are all losing their leaves!

We had a few mini dramas getting to Christchurch. For the first time since we left the UK, my hand luggage was causing problems. First it got stopped in the X-Ray machine leaving Cairns. Apparently umbrellas can be dangerous - luckily mine isn't. Good thing, because I think we might need it in NZ. Leaving Brisbane I knew my bag was going to get stopped again for the umbrella. It did, and also got stopped because it looked like there was a long, thin metal rod in there. Mild panic set in as I tried to rack my brains to think what it was. A quick bag search later, we concluded it was the metal rod holding together a wooden spinning thingy! Made it to New Zealand safely, although we were both quite excited because it was the first time we had things to declare on our customs form, and got to walk through the red channel. New Zealand is really strict about animal and plant products. Not that they are all banned, but you must declare them. I had a couple of shells from a beach at Agnes Waters and I'd also been horseriding in the last 30 days, which was all declared on my form. Imagine then my panic as I was waiting at the baggage claims area. A sniffer dog came bounding up to me and sat down. For those of you that know about the Schapelle Corby case (it's been BIG news in Oz) will understand my panic. Luckily for me this sniffer dog wasn't a drugs dog, it was sniffing for food and plants. These dogs noses are so sensitive, they can detect if items have been in there even 2 weeks or so ago. As I'd been on the diving course, I was pretty sure that I would have had some food in my bag, or spilt something on there. Well this dog was really friendly - a little beagle, and after going round the rest of the passengers, it came back to me two more times. Of course, Graham thought this was hilarious, but I wasn't so sure!

Well after claiming our baggage, we finally got to customs and after having inspected my shells and shoes, we put all our bags through another X-Ray machine and then were free to go. Certainly the strictest arrivals procedure we have been through so far!
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