August 7, left Wellington. It was very tough... Wellington had been a good home to us for almost two years. Got on the plane, and gave Welly a tearful post-takeoff toast with bubbly. Spent the evening in Auckland, relaxing and reflecting in our favourite Indian restaurant.
August 8, drove from Auckland to Paihia. Decided to seek out a place with a bath, so splurged on the Honeymoon suite at a hotel called "Swiss Chalet". Karla got a bath!!!! ^_^
August 9, Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Explored site of New Zealands' formative English/Maori treaty. Grounds hummed with history. Took a tour, ate a fantastic lunch, and watched local birdlife frolic about. A marvellous afternoon!
August 10, took a morning cruise, saw the famous "Hole in the Rock". Then we drove to Ahipara.
August 11, last day in New Zealand. Took a trip to the famous landmarks of 90-mile-beach, the giant sand dunes, and Cape Reinga where the seas meet. We took toboggans down the sand dunes for an unforgettable adrenaline rush... and I'm still pulling sand outta my ear a whole week later. ;-)
August 12, longest day ever. Drive back to Auckland, catch the evening plane to San Francisco. 12 hours later, arrive in SanFran in the morning... of August 12. Fly to Vancouver (2 hours), are greeted by Ben and Chris. Spend my layover chatting with them over beers at the airport. Then, it's the final flight to Winnipeg, arrive 2.5 hours later, at 11:30 PM... still on August 12. (A sane person might have been tired. However, I was so refreshed by the familiar dry, hot prairie air, the four-lane-wide streets, and the faces of my family that I stayed up talking with them until about 4:30 AM.) ;-)
Since then, I've been hanging out with my parents in Winnipeg, getting last-minute wedding details together, and catching up with friends. Getting over jet lag has been a slow process, not entirely helped by the fact that late-night television is so damned entertaining. ;-)
Heading back to Vancouver on Wednesday eve... wish me luck in getting everything done in time! ^_^ W-day awaits...