Back in New Zealand

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This post was originally published in 2008
It may contain stale & outdated information. Or it may have grown more awesome with age, like the author.

We returned to New Zealand on the 16th of February. I’m writing this so late because my parents only just got broadband.

That is about as close as an apology you’re going to get.

We flew back to New Zealand the same way we flew to China, via Singapore Airlines. This time I ate only the fish, as I suspect the chicken was the cause of some stomach discomfit I suffered from while flying to China. On the flight from China to Singapore, I HAD THE WINDOW SEAT! I took some photos through the dirty window, go ahead and waste some bandwidth having a look at them.

At the Singapore Airport, I tried to take photos of the guards again, but I was no more successful than last time. They are very heavily armed. hanging from the back of their belt they have a 9″ knife, on their leg they have a pistol, and in their hands they have MP5 sub-machine guns. They appear tough, and walk around in groups of three, eyeballing everyone.

Computer controlled

Computer controlled

The best thing about Chang e airport is the “skytrain” that links the three terminals. These trains travel on raised tracks, and are automated. They consist of one carriage per line, with no driver, just an automated voice announcing the stop, when the train will depart, and when the door closes. Awesome.

The flight from Singapore to New Zealand was alright, apart from the fact that my TV was broken. This meant I had to wait for Yvonne to go to sleep before being able to watch anything other than the guy two seats up, who complained constantly. He must have forgotten that he was in economy class.

About half-way through the flight, a flight attendant approached us and offered a US$75 gift voucher as compensation for my TV not working. We thanked him and accepted, and found some make-up in the catalogue that Yvonne liked the look of. We weren’t going to complain about the faulty TV, but we were extremely pleased with the service and understanding shown by Singapore airlines, and would recommend them to anyone considering air travel.

The first thing I noticed when I arrived back in New Zealand was that there are more fat people here than there are in China. The second thing I noticed was that the air was actually clean, having no discernible smell. The third thing I noticed was all the fat people. There really are a lot of fat people here, compared to China. Go for a run, people!

* * *

Shortly after we arrived at my parent’s house, we gave them the presents that we had brought back with us from China. Luckily, an exotic infectious disease was not among them. My parents enjoyed the presents, as can be seen in the photos.

Now I’m back at university. We’ve been staying at my parent’s house, in Otorohanga (45 minutes from Hamilton), and coming into to town with Garry every morning. This means we have to leave at about 7:30, and don’t get back until about 6. It is impossible for us to go to bed early, so we’ve been very tired this whole time.

I’m sitting four papers this semester: PSYC305, PSYC337, COMP316 and CHIN301. PSYC305 will be the best – Cognitive Neuroscience. The other psychology paper is all about psychological measurement, wooo. Chinese will be good, the class is small (four people), and all are motivated to learn. We agreed as a group that we will not be allowed to speak anything but Chinese during the class, as the goal of the Chinese language program is to produce students who can actually speak to real Chinese people. This requires that we practice speaking, and listening. COMP316 will be interesting but painful. I already have an assignment for this paper, and am procrastinating about it as we speak.

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