Monday, November 06, 2006

2 weeks before NZ!

Things are starting to fall into place..... sometimes its a bit like forcing a square peg into a round hole, but hey, why would things go easy for me just b/c I'm going on vacation...

I booked our tickets waaaay back in March, with Travel**** (think gnome). Why them, I really don't know. They had a good price with a very good itinerary. Problem #1 - they issued us paper tickets. Who issues paper tickets anymore? I never got a good reason for this, either. Some mumbo-jumbo about us flying on 2 different airlines or it being international, or arriving and departing from different cities. Whatevs. Being that we booked well, 8 months in advance, OF COURSE our itinerary changed. First, it was that our departing flight from Queenstown was bumped back and didn't allow us enough time to switch planes in Aukland. Fine. We switch our Aukland to LA flight to something later, and now we have a 4 hr layover in Aukland. Fine. Then our outbound LA to Aukland flight got bumped back an hour, meaning we wouldn't have enough time to clear customs and make it to our plane to Christchurch. Another call to the gnome call in center in India, another flight change. So, basically, the only paper tickets which are still good is our initial leg, from Houston to LA. Not really helpful. And since the gnome issued paper tickets, they can't re-issue them over the phone. Meaning we'd have to be there in person to get the correct tickets. They suggested arriving at the airport and EXTRA 2 hrs early to take care of this. Um, no thanks!

So, being me and slightly paranoid and OCD, we went to the airport this past weekend to get our tickets re-issued. This was complicated by the fact that we're flying Air New Zealand from LA to NZ and vice versa, and well, there isn't an ANZ counter in Houston. They were booked as "United, a partner to ANZ" so we strolled up to the United counter, thinking we were doing the right thing. A very confusing 20 minutes later (somehow the gnomes still kept our old flights, which we wouldn't have been able to catch AND booked us on new flights) the United agent managed to not only confirm our booking BUT ISSUED US AN E-TICKET! Yay!

Of course, I'll still be paranoid about "do we have the right itinerary???" but hey, at least now my paranoia isn't compounded by the fear of losing our paper tickets.

One of the "fun" activities we're going to do while we're down there is a 2-day sea kayak trip, catered with camping on the beach. We researched companies and decided on the one we liked best. A week ago, we booked on-line. 3 days later, no confirmation, so I emailed them. I finally got an email from them last night (6 days after booking) - telling us that sorry, they don't offer a trip on our requested day, and sorry, the website is wrong and you can't park your RV at X location for storage, you have to drive it to our facility 1.5 hrs away.

Again, me with the OCD, we have a trip calendar, which outlines where we'll be each night. Its mainly so we are able to see as much as we can without rushing or driving 12 hrs in one day. So, I break out the calendar, and the prospect of re-arranging things so we can take this kayak trip with this company one day later is making me hyperventilate. Badly. So, I email company #2 to see if they have availablity. And wow, they emailed me back 1 HOUR LATER telling me that they have 2 more openings for our requested days. Woo! I don't like their proposed itinerary as much, but hey, they responded quickly AND they confirmed the details posted on their website. Sounds like a winner to me.

And finally, clothing. I was really hoping I'd be a bit skinnier for this trip. But given the set back with my swim team, it hasn't happened. I should be happy to have maintained, really. But, I still wanted some cute casual clothes for the trip, so Will and I went shopping Saturday. It wasn't fun. Hardly anything fit, or if it did, I didn't feel like paying for it. It was depressing. But I did get some cute cargo pants and light weight khakis and even a pair of shorts.

I think we're just about set for the trip. I need to email the RV (excuse me, campervan) people to see if their vehicles have a cassette tape deck (so I can use my XM cassette adaptor for my MP3 player) and to see if they'll give us the phone number for our Vonaphone. We also need to exchange US money into NZ dollars. And book a wine-country tour.

And of course, I have to get my hair cut and highlighted. And do about 5 packing run-throughs.

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