Dear diary

19-21.08.2018 In the air

I boarded the Emirates Boeing 777 in Lyon around 21.30. It looked nice, with soft lights and a scent akin to the one at the “Bombay”, my favourite Indian restaurant in Grenoble. The 6-hour flight went well, I slept a bit. The 15-hour flight from Dubai to Auckland was much longer, but the Airbus A380 was comfortable as well once I had overcome my stomach ache. I watched the latest Avenger movie, and also the last Harry Potter movie.

21.08.2018 Auckland

I arrived in New Zealand at 10 in the morning. I passed the biosecurity check with ease, and took first a bus out, through green pastures. Seeing people drive on the left of the road was profoundly unsettling. It still is now.

I didn’t want to take the direct bus to the city but go with the cheaper way, with “normal” urban transportation. After the bus, I took a train in Papatoetoe station. Trains are really slow, they open their doors very slowly, and take their time before leaving the station. Chill… Oh, and they still have people manually checking your ticket, like in Budapest. They also still have phone booths in the city.

My first spendings: a bus ticket, a bird book and a burger. Then I walked to the hostel.

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A blue throat

Sometimes, I’m asked why I travel alone, why I don’t take a friend with me (even if sometimes, I do). Half-jokingly, I say I don’t know anyone who would be able to sit for hours with me just waiting for birds.

That’s basically what I did that day. I went to the entrance of the national park, and waited. I walked a bit as well, but after one hailstorm I took directly in the face, I decided it would be wiser to stay close to the car. I still had time to see a Horned lark (Eremophila alpestris) walking in the tundra, the first one for that trip.

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High tundra

I’m writing from home, in France, and even though temperatures have been very high here, I still don’t remember fondly the weather I faced when I drove accross the mountains of Varanger, going from Berlevåg and Kongsfjord to the Varangerfjord. Hail, wind and two degrees, that’s not how I had envisioned my vacation.

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