Sunday, September 23, 2007

Aspen House, Auckland, New Zealand



It’s my first day in a new country, the farthest from home I’ve ever been, and I’ve spent the majority in bed, watching West Wing. I’m fine with this. The exorbitantly expensive cab that I took from the airport (note to self: it’s best to check for cheaper transportation options BEFORE one has left in a taxi) dropped me at the hotel just before 6am local time (2pm yesterday EST), and check-in wasn’t until 2pm. That left me 8 (OMG 8) hours before I could get into my room.

Since my phone works here (cingular connects with vodaphone – I just love technology) I rang my folks from the scruffy lounge area where they have a perpetually burning low, wide gas fireplace (hi people, it’s not that cold, kthx). With 7.5 hours to go I bought an hour’s worth of internet (at $7NZD -- $5.39USD) and checked email.

And still 7 more hours.

Breakfast was served at 7am, so I had some cold cereal and toast. 6.75 hours left. I took a walk. It being hideously early on a Sunday there wasn’t much open. Wandered with a really awful map down to Queen street (one of the big streets on the map), back up a hill, and back into the lounge with the stupid fireplace. 6 hours, fifteen minutes.

I asked the woman at the desk (who, while courteous, didn’t exude much enthusiasm) if there was any – any – way I could get into my room early. She said she’d let the cleaning person know – she’s usually fast – to clean my room first. With much singing of praises I went back into the stupid lounge with its stupid chairs.

An hour later (spent skimming my guidebook and debating whether it was a good idea to sleep on the awful, awful chair given the likelihood of drooling all over myself) I returned to the desk to check on my room status. I didn’t mean to be pushy; I was just so tired. Oh!, she said, they just started cleaning. But they know to get my room first. Okay.

Half an hour later I got to my teeny room, which, while worn, was clean, and – oh who CARES it had a BED thank you JESUS. I stripped down, I untucked the top sheet, I shuffled two of the flattest pillows I’ve ever seen –

And couldn’t sleep. Touché, New Zealand.

Thus it was that I decided that all I’m doing today is getting dinner and going to bed early. Everything else can be figured out later.

Notes on the shower: The water took so long to heat up that while waiting with my hand in the stream I wasn’t sure if it was getting warmer or if my hand was going numb. Why do you suppose the shower floor is a foot off the ground? Also, with the “hot/warm/cold/off” handle being centered around the shower nozzle, wouldn’t that really screw over short people? Final note: the handle moves way more quickly from “hot” to “cold” than it does from “cold” to “off,” so move out of the way before trying to shut off the damn water.

3 comments:

Lisa said...

Glad to know you made it there ok Em.

Lisa said...

hey I wanted to write more google!
So, ummm...tell us about the food!

grace said...

Glad to know you made it there all right. Hopefully it will get better! :)

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