NZ Immigration

Oh New Zealand, how beautiful you are...but what a pain in the arse. I love traveling, but sometimes it's hard. After the Koala Sanctuary, I had just enough time to get back to the city to buy a toy wombat and head to the airport. Upon check-in I was told I could not be checked in for my flight because I did not have proof of a ticket leaving New Zealand. SHIIIIT!!! I had checked and planned ahead for Australian entry requirements but hadn't checked for New Zealand. So, I had to go to the travel agency at the airport and purchase my ticket back to the US before I could be checked in for my flight. Luckily I'd gotten to the airport with a fair amount of time. The guys at the travel desk were very friendly and they said this happens every day for flights to New Zealand. Ok, all good. But they could have told me that when I bought my one way ticket to New Zealand. They could have said, Oh, by the way, you'll need to bring proof of your ticket leaving New Zealand when you check in for your flight. Because even if you have just an e-ticket leaving New Zealand, they'll still make you go find an internet place and print out your itinerary as proof. So four hours later....I touch down in Christchurch, New Zealand. Yay...

New Zealand is very protective of their agriculture and wildlife here, so they're very strict on what you can bring into the country. Had I checked ahead, I would have known that honey is considered an animal product and is not permitted to be brought into New Zealand. Well, damn it. My precious Tasmanian honey!! I don't buy much stuff when I'm traveling, aside from food and adventure. And I'd debated whether I should buy this honey, but I tasted really good and i thought my mom would really like some. I was at the Salamanca Market in Hobart and bought this Leatherwood honey from this nice couple who run their own apiary. Leatherwood honey has a strong flavor and is unique to Tasmania. I'd bought a jar for my mom and a smaller jar for myself. It was a happy purchase. So, I declared all my food when I entered New Zealand. All of my food except the honey (my precious honey!) was cleared. They even checked my hiking shoes and had them disinfected. They seized my little jar of honey, but I had packed my other jar in my big backpack. Before you leave the terminal, they X-ray everyone's bags to see if you're lying. They found my other jar of honey this way. I got a scolding from the immigration dude for not telling him about the jar in my pack. He didn't fine me though. Whew...that would have been $220NZ. The honey only cost me about $8, but I didn't even get to enjoy it!

By the time all that was over, nearly everyone else from the plane had left. When I got outside, there was only one shuttle left, and I was the last and only passenger. By then it was already 12:30am and I was exhausted and frustrated. I had booked a few nights at the hostel I stayed at 5 years ago when I was working in Christchurch. It's a lovely women's hostel called Frauenreisehaus. They knew I was arriving late, so there was this note waiting for me when I arrived.

I felt much better already! The place hasn't changed much at all. I realxed for a while, had a cup of tea, some instant noodles, read some gossip mags and crawled into my fully made-up bed. What a luxury! It sucks arriving late and trying to make your bed on the top bunk in the dark when everyone in the room is sleeping. Well, sorry for the long boring post. Next!

My room, quite roomy. My bed is the one on the left with the light on.

The green thing is the light switch.