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New Zealand report

January 2, 2009

Ok after some minor snafus, I have things situated. Even with squeaking under the baggage weight limit, I forgot some items at home. Mainly I forgot all the pieces to my international adapter, which meant that I wouldn’t be able to charge my computer. Then the places that I was staying mentioned that they were having trouble with their wireless network, which I found surprising because I could see the network and connect to it, but that is another story.

So today we have located an international plug in adapter, the wireless is working and I’m back on line. As my dad stated, the flights were very long. I flew from Portland to LA, LA to Auckland, and Auckland to Taupo. Somewhere in the air I crossed the international date line, so New Year’s was celebrated in the air. The long flight was pretty uneventful with the exception of about 2 hours where there was extreme turbulance. And I mean extreme. I’m a pretty seasoned traveler so it takes a lot for me to start white knuckling it on the plane, but I was hanging on for dear life. The only message over the PA was “Flight Attendants to your seats”. I think that did little to calm the passengers that were screaming. Only after we landed did the pilot explain that the aircraft was fully equipped to handle that type of turbulance. Thanks could have used that message about 10 hours prior during the turbulance.

Anyways, I landed safetly and Penny and Chris Palfrey picked me up from the Taupo airport which is more like a one room station. Apparently I had assumed that Taupo was larger than it was. I think that the 10 seater plane where the flight attendant was also the co-pilot should have been my first clue that I wasn’t headed someplace really large.

Penny, Chris and I spent the day getting to know one another. We started off with breakfast and then spent most of the day relaxing before an afternoon swim. After one day together it was just amazing. First it seemed like we had already spent 2 weeks together and we were getting along swimmingly (pun intended). I also had the opportunity to meet Philip Rush who was helping organize all the particulars of the swim like pilots, boats, etc. A good laugh was had by all sitting overlooking Lake Taupo and enjoying some cold beers.

Yesterday, 2 more of the swimmers arrived and really does just seem like one big extended family. I haven’t really experienced the ackwardness that usually comes with meeting new people. I find myself spending a lot of time just laughing and really enjoying the company. I have been really blessed to be asked to be apart of this amazing journey.

The rest of the swimmers are arriving throughout today and I would imagine that I’ll meet them either tonight or tomorrow morning. According to Philip the swim will go off on Monday at around 5am. Unfortunately, I will not have this blog updated during the swim as I don’t have anything like that arranged and I’m not sure my phone will work on the lake.

For those that are curious about the time change, I’m 3 hours behind Pacific Time, but I’m a day ahead. For example, if it is 1pm in Portland Oregon it is 11am here, but it is the next day. So the swim will go off at around 8am PST on Sunday January 4th (or 5am NZ time on Monday January 5th).

I’ll be in touch very soon.

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