By now I was feeling rather tired and not at all thinking very clearly. But I had to get my act together before arriving in Palmerston North, as I had a rental car to drive on the LEFT side of the road to the Holiday Park where I was to stay for my 13 days in NZ.
Up, up and away went the small "puddle jumper" AT7 on it's way South to Palmy. Lake Taupo, where my parents had a holiday home, in the distance, through the early morning mist.
A short time later we flew close by Mount Ruapehu which looks a little like Mount St Helen's here in Washington State.
I had forgotten how many, many miles of flat, very green pasture land there is in NZ, and the rows of trees and hedges which separate the paddocks.
Now I was feeling very excited, as I caught my first glimpse of Palmerston North, framed by the Tararua Ranges in the distance. We have had our tea and coffee cups collected, tray tables and seat backs back in position, and seat belts fastened, ready for landing at Palmerston North International airport.
We have lined up with the runway, and are slowly descending over the rich farmland surrounding the city, in preparation for our landing on the runway.Across the road at the end of the runway, bump, bump, bump and we are on the runway. The plane rushes towards the end of the runway, flaps up, engines in reverse to slow our speed and we slowly come to a stop at the end of the runway. The plane turns and taxis back to the terminal where Don P. is waiting with the car I have arranged to rent for my stay.
It is now 8am and Don is there inside the terminal, waiting to drive me back to the rental car depot so I can fill out the necessary paper work before driving to the Holiday park. All I need to do now is collect my luggage from the carousel and start the first day of my vacation. I was pleasantly surprised to see the lovely little red Toyota Corolla waiting for me outside the terminal, small and very economical to drive. Gas being around $6nz a gallon I did not want a gas guzzler.
I would probably not be able to check into the park until 1pm, unless no one had rented the cabin the day before. Knowing this, after I had signed the car rental agreement, and figured out all the Toyota's controls, (everything opposite to what I am used to, I kept turning on the window wipers instead of the turn signals for the first couple of days) I drove to my daughter's home to visit, and fill in time before getting settled in my cabin.
At around 11 am I took a chance and drove to the holiday park to see what the status of the cabin was, and was very happy to be told I could move in right then.
I dragged my luggage inside, did a little unpacking then lay on the bed for a well needed nap.
After a short nap, I was hungry so found the nearest grocery store and stocked up on a cooked chicken, salad, fruit, soda, milk, and my favorite cookies, gingernuts, to get me through the next couple of days.
Around 5:30pm my brother Graeme, arrived home from work and we had a wonderful reunion. Graeme has lived in the holiday park for many years and loves it there. It is so quiet and peaceful with lovely trees and well kept gardens and many songbirds filling the air with Sweet songs.
The end of my first day came to a close very early. After a couple of glasses of wine with my brother, I was ready for a good night's sleep and fell into bed at 8pm, which in reality was 11pm USA time.