Sunday, April 22, 2018

Delayed but not dismayed

We visited the LDS Temple in Hamilton New Zealand.
It will close for 3 years in July for extensive renovation.
Our 4 day trip to New Zealand was a welcomed break.  Not that we mind Tonga or the work but it's just nice to get a break.  It did make us homesick for Tonga and also for our home in the U.S.A.  In spite of the homesickness, we did have a wonderful time and we were happy to see a little bit of New Zealand.  We purposely tried not to cram too much in so we could just rest and relax a bit too.

We definitely missed the open friendliness of the people of Tonga.  We have learned so much from them and hope to be able to incorporate their genuine friendliness into our lives.  At the same time, we longed to be in our comfortable home in Utah surrounded by our loved ones and dear friends.
Hillside view through the window as we headed for Hamilton NZ to see the Temple

We arrived in New Zealand at midnight and by the time we made it through customs and rented our car it was about 1:00 A.M.  We still had to drive about 25 miles to our hotel.  It wouldn't have been too bad but one of the main roads was completely shut down and we had to take a detour through the main city of Auckland.  Our GPS may not have found the most efficient way to the hotel but it did get us there eventually (after about an hour).  We checked into the Spencer Hotel on Byron in Takapuna around 2:00 A.M. and went right to sleep.

Street lights everywhere
Lights for crossing the street
When we woke up we headed out on foot.  We had already mapped several things out that were close to our hotel and we set out to find the hair salon (first order of business).  The one we had on our list had closed down but we found another one nearby and Lepeka made an appointment for the following day.

What a strange land ... every movement whether by automobile or on foot seems to be controlled by these strange red, yellow, and green lights.  It seem like I have seen them before but it is such vague memory that I can't be sure.

Big Salad at the Leaf & Loaf
I told Lepeka that I was smiling but
she said it looked closer to a grimace.
We also had to find some of our favorite foods and first on the list was a salad.  Lettuce is one of the things that Lepeka misses the most since good lettuce is so scarce in Tonga and very seasonal, so that was second on our to-do list.  We found a local diner with an acceptable salad on the menu and we both ordered one (yes you  heard me right ... I had a salad too).  It must have been pretty good since I ate it all but as soon as I was done I was ready for the main course.  You can only imagine my surprise when Lepeka told me that the salad was the main course.

Lepeka ordered the
Granola and yogurt
My breakfast 
We ate one of our breakfasts the Honey cafe across from the Pacific Area LDS Offices in Takapuna NZ.  Lepeka ordered the Granola and Yogurt while my breakfast was a good ol' ham, cheese, tomato, and mushroom omelette.  It came with some type of greenery (maybe bean sprouts) on the top but I quickly brushed them aside (I've had my salad for the year).  They probably shouldn't have had to tell me that the skillet was hot but since they didn't I found out the hard way.

Who knew that you could also order salad at McDonalds.
If I had only know before I ordered the Big Mac extra value meal!

Driving on a multi-lane highway was a bit more confusing than
driving in Tonga even though I am used to driving on the left.
Driving on the left side of the road on multi-lane highways was much harder than driving on the two lane roads in Tonga.  Signage, exits, roundabouts, and lane markings seemed pretty overwhelming at first.  We were glad we had a GPS in the car we rented.

We also went grocery shopping at Countdown (one of the big grocery chains in Auckland).  We didn't buy much since we couldn't bring it back with us but just walking through and seeing all of the options was fun.  We were going to buy some more Miracle Whip and just pay the fee to bring it back but we couldn't find it at any of the store we walked through.  I guess we'll just have to wait until we get home again in November.

Sister Kapp is all smiles while waiting for her first good
salad in a long time at the Leaf and Loaf.  Hair cut and style
is on the schedule for tomorrow.

Sunset view from the wind of our plane on Saturday night.
We headed back to Tonga on Saturday evening and were 2 hours into our 3 hour flight when we were informed that due to a storm in Tonga we would be returning to Auckland.  Our 3 hour flight back to Tongan had now turned into a 4 hour flight to ... nowhere.

We were told that since the cancellation was due to weather they airline was not responsible for our hotel.  We tried to reach every hotel listed on the convenience board that we near to the airport (probably about 15 of them and they were all full.  We rented a car and decided to put hotels in the GPS, select one and go there and ask (our phone didn't work in NZ).  After trying a few we decided to get a little bit further away from the airport.  I found a Best Western about 10 miles away and we headed there.

It took us quite a while to get there since we were routed through all of the backstreets.  Oh, and did I mention it was also raining cats and dogs in NZ.  When we finally got to the Best Western, the lady at the desk said she could move a few things around to accommodate us and then asked, "how did you find us?"

She said that not many people are able to find them as there location is pretty out of the way.  We felt grateful and very blessed to find a place to stay our 2 extra days in New Zealand.

Boarding for the second time on Monday afternoon with our fingers crossed.

The flight locator on our flight Monday afternoon.   Hmmm, I guess we weren't
the only ones thinking about coming back to the United States.