Tuesday, December 3, 2019

New Zealand - Kalos Golf - December 1, 2019

IN THE AIR AGAIN!!  ... But First ...

I actually cooked today for Thanksgiving.  Scary!  But I haven't lost my touch for gravy ... my speciality.  Thank goodness everyone else pitched in and brought food.  It was delicious and we had enough food for an army!!

By now, the last of the turkey has been shredded and put in the freezer to be used to enhance the puppy chow, and all of the lemon cake and pecan pie is gone.  So I guess Thanksgiving is officially over.  We had a fabulous Thanksgiving in Tampa this year.  The last one at 10,000 Lindelaan.  Also known as 10K.  Next year, we'll be living in the new condo on Julia Street in South Tampa.   Anyway, the food was delicious, but the company was better.  It was so much fun to have the family together again after so many Thanksgivings spent AWAY from Tampa since Jeff's passing.  The weather was spectacular.  While I didn't make anyone dress as Pilgrims and Indians this year, we did eat outside beneath the Spanish Moss laden oak trees.  

The tables were decorated beautifully by Emma, Noah and Lila.

As I looked around the table and out to the beauty of White Trout Lake, my mind was flooded with memories of previous Thanksgivings and the hustle and bustle that went along with it.  This year, for some reason, everything was smooth and easy.  Everyone brought a dish and everyone helped clean up.  The children set up and decorated the tables.  Everyone pitched in and things went seamlessly.  Such a lovely day.  And it was especially great having my two children in Tampa with me.  Every mother's dream is to spend time with her children.  My mother-in-law used to say that to me and I never really "got" it. But now ... I do.  Anyway, all of this babble to say we had a lovely Thanksgiving and now I'm off to New Zealand.

So happy being together.  Smiles all around.

Today, I depart sunny, warm and low humidity (which is rare for here) Tampa, Florida heading to Queenstown, New Zealand.  I'm meeting Stevie in Houston and from there we fly non stop to Auckland and then on to Queenstown.  We are traveling with Kalos Golf.  My first experience with Kalos, but I've heard wonderful things about them.  So I'm excited.  This is a golf trip with 6 rounds of golf scheduled.  I've played most of the scheduled courses before, but they are beautiful enough for another round or two.  So off I go.  

My flight was right on time.  I arrived in Houston, where I met Stevie at the Centurion Lounge in Terminal D.  

We had lots to catch up on as Stevie just returned from a trip to South America less than a week ago, returning in time for Thanksgiving at her son's ranch in Texas mingling with Zebra and all sorts of exotic animals living there.  We chatted over Champagne for about an hour until it was time to board our flight on Air New Zealand to Auckland ... a mere 15 hour plane ride.  

#AirNewZealand was incredible!  The seats were very roomy and comfortable and the service was exceptional.  Not only that, but the food was delicious!!

Ironically, my seat number is 10K. My address on Lindelaan.
After a fine meal ... and more champagne ... I stretched out and settled in for a "long winter's nap."  I slept from 10:00 p.m. eastern time until 8:00 a.m. eastern time.  During our 15 hour flight, we crossed the international date line, which means we departed the U.S. on a Monday evening, December 1st and arrived New Zealand early in the morning on Wednesday, December 3rd.  I'm still confused as to what time it is here and what day it is.  We just lost the 2nd of December somewhere along the way.  But we'll get it back when we return to the U.S.  The point is, I slept well and arrived rested and ready to tackle New Zealand.  

After only 20.5 hours of flying time, we finally arrived at our destination, Queenstown.  Greeted by a downpour of rain with no end in sight, we made our way to the Sofitel Hotel, our home for the next 5 nights.   Stevie and I have been to Queenstown before, so we were familiar with a few of the best eateries.  We put our things in the room, immediately grabbed umbrellas and walked to the best burger joint on the planet ... Fergburger, for lunch.  (At least it felt like lunch time.  My internal time clock is a bit whacked out right now.) We beat the lunch rush as the line standing outside in the rain was only 1/2 a block long.  It moved along quickly as we only waited about 20 minutes to place our order.
There was a break in the sky after we got our burgers and the sun shone for a few minutes.

Here we are inside the crowded Fergburger waiting for our food.

This place is packed all the time.  Always a line.  But they are efficient and fast.  
The burgers are huge, so we knew to order one burger and have it curt in half.  Since the restaurant was packed, AND it was raining outside, we carried our food back to the Sofitel and feasted in the lobby. 
Yes ... the burger is THIS big!!
Lobby lunch from Fergburger.  Yum!!
The burger didn't disappoint and was worth the wait and the rain.  Just as good as we remembered.  I will NOT play golf in the rain, but I will wait 20 minutes in a line for a Fergburger in the rain!!

After lunch, we were in search of an iWatch charger for Steive's watch.  It was like being on a scavenger hunt.  Each person giving directions in the complete opposite direction until we finally Googled "Mac Store" and found the place almost next door to the hotel.  But we did find cute raincoats along the way.  (Which Stevie bought without approval from our closet organizer, Nazy). Since it looks like the rain will be here for a while, they will come in handy.

We returned to the hotel at what felt like cocktail hour.   It was actually only 2:00 in the afternoon.  Staring at the downpour outside, our only option was to find the bar.  We quickly learned that the hotel lounge didn't open until 4:30, so we opted instead for a cafe in the lobby that serves breakfast and lunch to have a cappuccino instead.  We were greeted by a delightful server from Italy, Sara, who told us we could have a cocktail in the cafe.  So we did what any American in this situation would do ... we ordered a bottle of wine at 2:30 in the afternoon.
Our rainy day activity.  This may have been bottle #3.
Sara was adorable and kept the bottles coming until we began to yawn and our eyelids were getting heavy.  So around 7:30, we said goodnight to each other and Sara and went to our rooms.  

I must have been fast asleep by 8:00 and slept soundly until 3:45 a.m. when I got a call from my sweet Mom.  She couldn't get her head around the fact that I was on the other side of the world in a different time zone and it was the next day.  We chatted for a while and then, to no avail, I tried to get back to sleep.  So instead, I'm catching up on this blog post and wondering why I decided to do a skin cancer treatment on my face a week before leaving for New Zealand!! 

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