Steve and I are having a great time in New Zealand reconnecting with our good friends Melanie* and Don, Campus Crusade staff who minister throughout the Pacific Islands. They have kept us so busy that jet lag hasn’t been a factor at all. We left San Francisco on April 4 and arrived in Auckland on April 6, losing a day when we crossed the International Date Line. The day of April 5 does not exist for us. If we’re ever asked in a court of law to account for where we were on April 5, 2009, we can honestly say, “Nowhere.” We will make up for the missing day by living through April 22 twice. Steve is excited that we are now officially time travelers.
It’s fun to be Down Under where everything seems to be inverted. The seasons are backwards (it’s now autumn), the toilets flush in the opposite direction, and cars are driven on the wrong side. Even the sky looks different. Instead of the North Star and the Big Dipper, we now see the Southern Cross.
I’ve discovered some interesting facts about this gorgeous green land. Kiwis are native flightless birds and a name for New Zealanders, but they are not fruit. That is called a “kiwifruit.” There are nine sheep to every one person in this island nation. The total population is four million people so you can do the math for the number of sheep. Auckland, called the City of Sails, has 48 volcanoes. We hiked to the top of one of them, Rangitoto, today. More Polynesian people live here than in any other city in the world. Aucklanders love bungy jumping. As our ferry passed under the Harbour Bridge, we watched people plunge themselves over the railing. While we ate in a revolving restaurant at the top of the Sky Tower (which is, incidentally, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere), people jumped from the roof and waved on their way down. That was a first for me.
*Melanie is in We Wait You. Chapter 5 begins in her flat in Prague.