We arrived in Auckland, New Zealand about 5:00 AM on Wednesday morning the 25th (we crossed the international date line so we missed Tuesday the 24th all together). Our flight was 13 hours long, but they fed us two good meals and we could watch movies or TV and sleep (the best we could).
Brother Ngatai (pronounced Naw-tie) Smith from the CES/S&I (church education system/seminary and instate) department picked us up at the airport and by the time we got to the hotel by the area office it was about 7:00 AM. The plan was that we would check-in to our room, freshen up and be at the area office at 9:00 AM for training. But when we tried to check-in, the room was not ready, and so we went straight to the area office. Brother Smith took us to breakfast about 8:00 and then we went back to the office until about 1:00 - when we went to lunch with some of the office staff and the Budgett's and Spencer's (who were in the MTC with us). They left after lunch to fly to Samoa. A funny thing happened at breakfast. Dennis ordered milk to go with his meal, and when they brought it, it was hot - steaming in fact... He tried really hard to finish it, but just couldn't. I was safe, I ordered hot chocolate! After we had lunch at 1:00 we went back to the hotel to get some rest. We showered and laid down to try and get over our jet-lag. We both went to sleep and didn't wake up until about 8:00. We turned on the TV to see what New Zealand cable was like. There were four channels. Two of them sports... One channel had women's Net Ball - no backboards and they don't dribble. And not every player can shoot. It took a few minutes to figure out what was going on. Because we found it less than exciting, we turned to the other sports channel and they were having a Dart tournament of all things. Needless to say, we didn't watch any sports. We finally found a channel with some Olympics coverage. We were on the 9th floor and our room looked out over downtown Aukland - across the bay. It was so beautiful.
Auckland, New Zealand from our
Hotel Room (Spencer Inn)
Susan in front of the Area Office
Because we didn't have any New Zealand money, and were not sure about where to even go to eat, and because we were so tired, we skipped dinner. We needed to be back at the area office by 8:00 the morning for more training, and we were not sure what to do about breakfast - the only information in our room listed prices for breakfast (about $20.00 for the cheapest items) and we didn't know if they would take a credit card, so we had a couple of Slim Fast's in our luggage which we drank them. They took us to lunch at an India restaurant (we had Butter Chicken like we had in India, and it was so, so good). After our training ended at about 5:00 we asked about where we could go to eat that would take our credit card - and was close because we had no transportation. Brother Smith looked so embarrassed and said he forgot to tell us that our meals were paid for with the room... Another good laugh... Anyway, the restaurant at the hotel was wonderful, and the food even better. We ordered steak and it came with some wonderful vegetables. The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and it was the breakfast I have ever had at a hotel. There must have been 20 items to choose from - and Dennis didn't have to drink HOT milk! We had additional S&I training in the morning and then Brother Smith took us on a tour of Aukland. It is really a beautiful city. We stopped at a convenience store and he bought us some New Zealand ice cream. It was really good. And the Diet Coke is the best ever - it is really smooth - don't know what the difference is, but it was good... Diet Coke here in Samoa is about the same as home - but it is hard to find a cold one. No fountain drinks here....