Return to Neverland

12510278_948224675264449_5976642710946878563_nOhope Beach, New Zealand

Kia Ora from Aotearoa                                                                                                      May 6,2016

Mr.Bill and I have returned to Aotearoa,’The Land of the Long White Cloud’, which is Maori for New Zealand. We arrived in Ohope Beach, safe and sound, one week ago today; thirty one hours from door to door, ‘easy as’ as the locals would say.

It’s heaven to be back in paradise, which is what the Kiwis call New Zealand. Our daughter, Elizabeth, has always referred to New Zealand as Neverland. That moniker suits this astonishing country as well. Like Peter Pan, we flew “west through the night, straight on into morning”. Time feels suspended, when flying through the darkness over the Pacific Ocean. Sometime during the night, we crossed the International Dateline and Thursday disappeared into the vapor. On and on, the plane flies but you cannot see anything for twelve long hours, until the sun rises with a piercing brilliance (Mr. Bill goes to sleep and misses all this excitement).

On our first trip, we arrived in Auckland in mid March. It was a crystal clear dawn and the ocean was a deep ultra marine blue with the sunlight glinting off the water. Our first sighting of New Zealand was of an emerald green, land mass of mountains, valleys, twisting coastline and golden sand beaches, all shimmering in the early morning light, as we flew over the stunning, Coromandel Peninsula. It truly looked exactly like the illustration of Neverland, from my much loved, Little Golden Book of Peter Pan; a fairy tale landscape had come to life. We really did pinch ourselves, it was too amazing to be real. Thus began our adventures in Neverland.

On this journey, the sun rose like a glowing orange ball, illuminating a sea of clouds, that looked like churning surf. Descending through the white waves, the countryside slowly revealed itself, veiled in an ethereal mist. At once familiar to us yet different from our previous arrivals. We were back and still pinching ourselves, grateful for this new adventure. Zip, zip, we breezed through customs, absurdly excited to see the drug sniffing beagle, working the baggage claim area. “Oh , look honey! It’s the little dog from Border Patrol (one of our favorite NZ television shows, which follows the everyday workings of the Customs Department).I felt giddy and star struck. This was a celebrity sighting for me. I soooo wanted to shake his wee paw but thought better of it!

The brisk walk from the International to the Domestic Terminal, a flat white and a bit of shopping for our granddaughter, Adrian, revived us. We were ready for our flight to Tauranga. That’s when the wisdom of Mr. Bill’s strategy of sleeping through the flight, revealed itself to me. He had an hour’s drive ahead of him, on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, before we would reach, Ohope Beach, our final destination. And, he did it brilliantly!

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