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Monday, March 31, 2003

New Zealand Wrap-up

Alas, I ran out of digi-film in Raglan. Kalistrya* may have more pics when she catches up in her journal. But, this is where I started, so nothing categorically new to see anyway.

Yesterday or the day before we were talking about what makes someone easy to travel with. "Apathy!" I said, and then amended it to "Apathy with Passion!". My new motto?

It's nice to travel with someone who isn't disappointed if you don't see every tourist attraction in the travel guide. In fact, it's nice to travel with someone who isn't disappointed if you don't see any tourist attraction in the travel guide. Spent all day randomly wandering around? Ate someplace that just happened to look good when you passed by? Climbed up some hill just because one of you saw it and said "I want to climb that!"? No problem, I'm game. You?

We did find one new area of interest today--Mission Bay, east of Auckland. It seems to be a tiny wealthy retirement town that happens to have a great bay for kite surfing. Reminded me of Del Mar (north county, San Diego). Checked some of the rents (fantasizing about walking across the street to kite surfing every day for a couple months) and they were still quite reasonable once you adjust for currency diffs.

Apr 1, we had lunch in Onehunga (pronounced oh-nuh-hunga), a little one-street ethnic burb of Auckland with lots of restaurants and fresh-fish markets. We coined the tag-line "Onehunga, Many Restaurants".

Not much else to report. Yeah, my NZ trip report sort of fizzed out, but better that than ending in a bang. :)

At this point it should go without saying that I was specially accosted at every security checkpoint. (Anyone keeping tabs?) Before I even made it to the Qantas line in New Zealand--just standing nearby it talking with Kalistrya*--the security guy came up and asked me where I was going. "Uh, LA?" "Come with me please." [to Kalistrya* as I'm practically being dragged into the baggage molesting room] "Uh, ok, bye, uh, seeyou later, somewhere in the world...". Out of the whole plane, from what I saw, it was just me and the other guy with long hair, nobody else.

And then in the US, at LAX, I'm naively thinking it will be no problem here because I look fairly normal for LA and I'm a US citizen rather than a foreigner... And everything seemed hunky dory 'till my final goobye-glance at the passport guy, when I saw the look in his eye that said he was internally scrutinizing me, and I knew then that I was flagged and wouldn't be getting anywhere soon. Sure enough, five paces later, my papers are glanced at and I am shuttled into the clean room--the only person on the plane--where I am interrogated with cop-questions while my bags are hand searched in their entirety.

"What's this??" she says, holding up my hand-written journal and thumbing through it. "That's my private journal," I say, giving her the "just put it down, now" look. She puts it down. "These are not the droids you're looking for..." Damn! Next time I've got to say that.

I returned her questions with progressively more viral answers until clearly she felt uncomfortable with her own job, and then I said, softly, "Do I really have to cut my hair to be treated like a human being?"

If looks could be tears, her face fell to rain, and she stuttered "N.. no..." and didn't know what else to say. I turned (before she could see my smirk) and walked away.

I'm such a bastard. But only when I should be.

The world is run by children.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com