I am currently in Tairua, New Zealand. : )
The 7-hour layover in Bangkok, Thailand was actually kind of nice, as I had a latte and read most of the John Grisham book I had brought - The Broker.
We were taking off from Bangkok to Auckland about 40 minutes behind schedule... Not bad... But as soon as the plane began to pick up speed there was a (not-so-good) sound and the speed cut out. We were told an engine blew... Thankfully before we took off! We then had to taxi back to the airport and sat on the plane for an hour and a half while it was checked over. THEN we were told we needed to switch to a new plane and were bused back into the airport to sit and wait.
We ended being four hours behind schedule... But I would rather everything be safe and good-to-go for the long flight (any flight, actually). From there, everything was smooth and I arrived into Auckland yesterday afternoon.
Ben, a good friend of my brother, Lenny's, when he lived in New Zealand, picked me up at the airport and we drove about two hours to Tairua. Ben and his wife, Melanie, are renting a house in Tairua... A really small town on the east coast. The house is great... It is set on a hill and overlooks the harbor!
After a shower (bliss after 27 hours of traveling!) the three of us went to dinner with Ben's brother and his wife. Mmm my first meal in NZ was fish and chips!
This morning we took a drive to a nearby beach called Sailor's Grave. There really is a sailor's grave there... As one drowned back in the 1840's. the beach was really pretty but it was overcast and still pretty cool so, other than their cute dog, Charlie, none of us went in the water.
From Sailor's Grave we drive to Cathedral Cove. Beautiful spot! There are numerous islands off the coast... It reminded me of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. Ben and I walked the 30-minute hike to the actual 'Cathedral Cove'... Very pretty... Pictures to come once I get back to Vietnam. (Mel didn't hike, as she is just 4 days away from her due date with their first baby!! Very exciting... And they are amazing for hosting a guest at this time.)