The journey from Easter Island to New Zealand was as grim as I’d feared. The first leg, Easter Island back to Santiago, gave me a third chance to watch ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, which I’d only watched the first time because of Mr Depp. It also provided a meal (‘probably lunch’) which consisted of tepid vegetables and a stewed apple, thus confirming my suspicions, after the amazingly awful ‘probably breakfast’ of cold mushroom sandwhich on an earlier flight, than LAN equate ‘no meat’ with ‘only badly cooked vegetables’.
For the 13 hour flight across the Pacific I had a ‘probably dinner’ which looked and tasted remarkably like the barely edible ‘probably lunch’. Plus, as well as the mandatory grizzly child (2 in fact, right next to us), we got the Uruguay national football team who held the flight up by arriving late, and spent much of it shouting across at each other, running up and down the aisles and standing up to talk with their mates, all acceptable behaviour because as international footballers they were Important. Thought not, apparently, important enough to fly in first or business class. Still, I understand they lost their match.
So, I arrived in Auckland airport at 4.30am local time with no clear memory of when I had last slept or eaten, quite ready to be Tetchy. But the airport was well laid out, the staff helpful and efficient (helped to have a language in common of course) and the shuttle bus was full of cheerful kiwis. Even the rain felt welcome after weeks in dusty cities. My inner party paranoic (the one which says that if I’d have stayed till the end I’d have had more fun), tried to get my down, saying ‘ It’s cold, it’s wet, the bilboards are in English – the exotic part of your holiday’s over, girl, it’s mundane from now on.’ But I wasn’t listening. I was too busy being glad to be back in New Zealand. It was like coming home, only way better.