3/3/10: Auckland, New Zealand
When we planned our trip, we didn’t make a lot of ground rules. Having no idea what a world trip like this would be like, we decided it would be best to figure things out along the way. However, I do remember one request of Zhou’s: every now and then we had to stay at a nice hotel room instead of the run-down hostels I like.
Yesterday, we stayed in that nice hotel room at the Hotel Grand Chancellor. As it turned out, I think I ended up needing it more. Ever since I began planning this leg of the trip, I have been cutting costs by booking us into dorm rooms. In fact, before last night we’d spent 26 nights in Australia and 19 had been in dorms. Of the remaining seven, two were on buses and one was in the Auckland airport, so we’d only had four nights where we were able to unpack our bags and spread out. This lack of personal space had finally been catching up to me. Zhou, on the other hand, seemed to be enjoying the fact that she didn’t have to spend too much time alone with me. (Who can blame her?)
Anyway, the point is that I loved every minute of our time at Hotel Grand Chancellor. It was so enjoyable that I voted to stay there as long as LAN would pay for it, rather than going out to explore the most beautiful country in the world for one more week. Notice how I said everything in past tense there? Today we were kicked out of the hotel.
No, they didn’t kick us out because we were too rowdy, or too smelly, or too backpacker-y. I didn’t make the hotel go bankrupt by eating the entire buffet. This morning LAN issued a statement saying they would no longer be paying for the accommodation of travelers waiting on flights to open back up to Santiago. And even though our room was still available tonight, that was as good as kicking us out. (By the way, I was incredibly angry at LAN for ruining our fun, but can you imagine how many travelers all over the world they had been paying for because of an earthquake that I believe was completely out of their control? No wonder airlines never make any money.)
Doing our best impression of backpackers again, we decided that $8/hour for internet at the hotel was too expensive and we wandered the streets trying to find something cheaper. Eventually we struck a deal with another lodge to use their internet all afternoon for $7. We booked – you guessed it – a dorm room in the city (and of course watched the gamecast of the Vandy/Florida game online), much to the delight of Zhou. Me, I felt like I had gotten pecked in the gut by an angry kiwi bird.
The whole reason though for my false hope that we could stay somewhere nice for a while was the earthquake in Chile. And really, I hated even thinking that we were benefiting from all the suffering that is going on there. I’m no expert on earthquakes, but I’ve never heard of anything even close to an 8.8 before. I can’t imagine how bad it must have been to create waves so large that Japan had to warn their coastal population.
It’s never easy to rearrange flights and travel plans during a time when everybody else is doing the exact same thing. Normally people treat cancelled flights as if their lives have been ruined, and in this case we’re pushing all our plans back an entire week and then flying into a completely different city than before. But what if we had planned our wedding two weeks earlier (as we originally wanted to do) and started our trip right after? We might have been taking a bus right through the area that was impacted worst by the earthquake. So I guess in the grand scheme of things, getting stuck in New Zealand for an extra week isn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened to us. Rather than spending more time writing this blog, perhaps we should go enjoy ourselves.
Picture of the Day: All Curries $14? That includes you, Zhou!