Today marks FIVE YEARS of being homeless, traveling the world, seeing new things every day, living unencumbered by possessions. Hooray. So…..we have some outstanding…memorable…photos to share, right? Wrong.
We arrived in New Zealand at the exact second the historic rains pounded the North Island. When we requested an Uber once the plane landed to see what the cost and distance were from the airport, the cost to the Hilton was $60 NZD (about $40 US), and it would take 35 minutes. By the time we waited in the passport and biosecurity lines, made our way outside in the driving rain, found the rideshare location, and put in the request again, the cost was $138 and the time was 55 minutes.
Our Uber slogged through flooded streets, crawling along in bumper to bumper traffic. Due to flooding, the freeway narrowed to one lane as all the drivers veered toward the center median – the edge of the road was a foot deep or more. It was a little gut-wrenching. When we got to the Hilton, the ride had been more than two hours and supplemental costs raised the price to $175! For our part, we were just happy that we made it safely and would be dry and warm. On the local news, we found that during the time we were in the Uber, the city as a whole got a month’s worth of rain in one hour – more than 10 inches, and the bottom floor of the airport terminal flooded. Everyone who hadn’t already gotten out was sleeping on the upper floor of the airport, as there was no way out. It made us feel even more thankful that we made it out, and fortunate, regardless of the price.
So we have spent five days more or less inside the hotel! We got a lot of future planning done, and went out for a few short walks, but it always started to rain on us. In a conversation as we walked, we were advised by a local man to forget about trying to drive north today, as more rain was predicted and the roads would likely be flooded and closed off. We debated waiting an extra day, but the logistics and cost were a lot with which to contend, so we decided to give it a try and simply stop at a hotel along the way if the conditions became precarious. This is life on the road, with no option to “stay home.” We know we will encounter weather, traffic, and other problems, but we always manage to make it through, and are always grateful that we are experiencing LIFE! It is the ultimate in being alive and staying positive. Anyway….today –
Surprise, surprise! The day was gorgeous for driving, blue skies with both white and black clouds. The road was completely dry for the entire 6-hour drive, and the scenery fabulous. Happy Anniversary to us! We will only put in the photos from Auckland – not many – and save today’s driving photos for a post on what the Kiwis call “the Northland.” It is a beautiful place.
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