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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Home sweet home...

Stepping off the plane onto the skybridge on Saturday morning at 4.45am was quite an experience. Being first off the plane, and not stuck behind the crowds of cattle class was nice, and it ensured we had DFS all to ourselves, with enough time to stock up on various alcoholic delights, and still get through customs and to the baggage carousel without queues.

Sadly our "priority" luggage wasn't "priority" at all. It took us nearly 30 minutes to get our bags from the carousel, after everyone else on the flight (non Gold class, I might add) got their bags first. As such, we still found ourselves queuing for MAF inspection like everyone else.

(Question: What's the point in a Gold Koru Club membership if one still has to queue like the average traveler?)

Every time I return home, I'm reminded of all the things I love about this place. Upon return from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, the fresh clean smelling air was big on my list. This time, the Summer warmth was number one. 4.45am and the Captain had outside air temp as 21 degrees Celsius.

A Far cry from New York's -15 degrees, or Los Angeles' 10 degrees.

I wasn't that impressed with LA. Colour me weird, but I need tall buildings, even if the tallest office building here is only 40 something floors, I need to see a skyline. LA, to me, was far too spread out. It was as if they'd taken all the skyscrapers in NYC floor by floor, and put them each in single story buildings from Papakura to Silverdale. Sure, the financial and business area was in one place, but in my opinion a good city centre should include all facets of life, from finance and business to entertainment, nightlife, dining and recreation. One should be able to live in a city apartment, or at least a townhouse, and never need a car. LA, however, one would need not only a car, but also the patience of a saint to deal with the awful traffic!

Visiting Las Vegas was a shock. I expected a sparkling and wonderful city of sin- I expected top shelf and Dom to rain down on me in a daily shower- day and night burlesque shows and Godiva chocolates. It was still a lot of fun, but the bubble of preconceived notions in my head was burst and Reality hit.

Las Vegas is the sparkling city of money.

On the upside, however, I did not expect quite the variety of shopping that there was. Within walking distance from our hotels (we switched halfway through our 6 day stay from one end of the strip to the other) one could experience any number of hotel malls with no less than 150 specialty stores each including Victoria's Secret, Christian Lacroix, Dior, etc etc (blah blah blah), but oh the prices!

Diesel was especially expensive. Smith and Caugheys, and the collective of High Street, have the Auckland Diesel market pretty much sewn up, and a great pair of jeans will cost no more than $250 NZD.

Vegas Diesel stores (not stores that bought and resold diesel, these are Actual Diesel stores), would sell Diesel jeans for no less than $220USD (Plus tax) - nearly $370 NZD! Dolce and Gabbana had great prices on their shoes (end of season sale), but jeans for no less than $350usd...

I have a new appreciation for shopping to be found in Auckland - as, apparently, do New Yorkers. An article in a popular New York publication touted Auckland, New Zealand, as the new "hot place to shop"...

That's some food for thought!

I'll more photos into the Bebo Album when I get around to it - more New York photos and Disneyland to come!

P.S Through the entire trip we only saw one celebrity, although due to alcoholic imbibing, we wouldn't have noticed if we saw more. The celeb in question is Weiss from Alias - also known as the Pilot from the first season of Lost, Matt from Heroes, 'that dude' from Felicity... Although Matt saw Ron Jeremy the day before I arrived.

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