We arrived in Auckland around 3am (they served us breakfast before we landed!). We stumbled off the plane, leaving most of our bags behind and only taking enough for a couple of feeds for Andres. We had to pass through the transit area before heading into the main part of the airport to wait for our flight to reboard – which meant going through security again. However, when we reached the security area, the doors were locked with a sign saying “security opens at 4am”. Not impressed. Fortunately someone must have gone to wake them up, since they opened up security about 15 minutes later for us.
We went through to the foodcourt area and bought some drinks and snacks and then sat around to wait for our flight. We had nearly 2 hours to wait until we started boarding again, and most of the shops were closed – although some of them did open around 4am. I had purchased some internet time at the airport during our stopover on the way to Santiago and still had credit, so I was able to get back online for a while and get a few more things done. When that ran out, we took it in turns walking Andres around the airport, showing him the TVs where they were playing Rugby (and explaining that this is what they call “Football” here in Kiwiland and that he would also find people playing it in Sydney).
When we eventually boarded and took off again, we didn’t bother getting the bassinet set up. Andres did eventually fall asleep in Leanne’s arms, and she fell asleep holding him. The flight went pretty well – and Andres didn’t complain at all during landing, and with the sun now up, he was able to look out the window as we came in, which kept him occupied. They served us another breakfast before we landed and we arrived in Sydney a little ahead of schedule just after 7am and were out of the plane and heading for immigration by 7:30am.
Immigration was pretty smooth – they checked Andres’s passport and visa and gave us the all clear. They did insist on checking our yellow fever vaccination records – but that’s normal for people who have travelled to this part of South America. We waited about 45 minutes for our bags to arrive – Sydney international airport still has not improved in that department! Since we had bought some souvenirs back with us that might cause some problems for customs, we declared them and had to pull them out of our bags to show the customs officers. They didn’t have any problems with most things, but some of the little shakers (percussion instruments) had seeds in them. We let them break open one of them and they confirmed that it was a seed and not just stone or something else harmless. Even thought there may not have been any problems with the seeds (I thought they had been cooked myself) – they err on the side of caution at customs and said they would either need to treat the instruments (very expensive relative to the value of the instruments themselves), or confiscate them. I wasn’t that fussed – they were pretty cheap items and I always suspected that customs might have an issue with them, but the customs officer did offer a compromise, and suggested that he removed the seeds from each of the instruments and let us take them. This kind of defeats the purpose of the instrument, since they no longer make any noise, but we should be able to find something to replace the seeds with and repair the damage to make them function again – so we took him up on that offer.
After leaving the customs area, we headed to the Hertz counter to collect our car. Rather than waiting for a taxi with a car seat (you can no longer ride in a taxi in NSW with an infant just sitting on your lap), we decided to rent a car with a child seat for a few days. This way, we have some time to get ourselves organised with a bit of the shopping we have to do – including buying a car seat for the Charade! We had been looking at buying a new car, and probably will eventually – but for now, the Charade still runs very well, and even though it is too small to carry a car seat and a pram at the same time, we figure it is still good enough for most things. If we want to go away for a trip where we have bags and want to take a pram, we’ll look at hiring a car instead – still far cheaper in the short term than buying a new car.
The Camry we had requested wasn’t available yet so instead they gave us a rather large Ford Fairlane. That gave us more room for our bags, but it’s more of a pain to park. By the time we got to the carpark, the guys were fitting the car seat for us, but Andres started yelling for a feed so we had to wait for him before leaving anyway. Eventually we got the car packed and Andres settled in the car seat – Leanne sat in the back with him since it was reverse facing and he couldn’t see us. Being just after 8:30am, the traffic was still pretty heavy, but at least the car is comfortable and it was a smooth drive home.
After bringing the bags inside, we walked down the street to collect some supplies (milk and Weetbix being the most important!) and then spent the rest of the day unpacking, sorting through mail, catching up on emails, tidying up and generally trying to stay awake. It is very cold here in Sydney compared to Cali and Cartagena and the room we have Andres sleeping in gets quite cold too. When we were shopping for clothes before we left, we mostly concentrated on warm weather clothing, so we are a bit short of stuff for him to cope with the colder weather. After lunch, we walked up to the shops at Chatswood to buy some warmer clothes and a warmer Grobag for Andres to sleep in.
Leanne’s sister came around for dinner and to meet Andres for the first time (although she has seen him via video chat), and we sat around talking for a while before putting Andres to bed. We are hoping he will sleep most of the night – although I won’t be surprised if he does wake up early. I struggled to stay awake most of the afternoon – and we ended up going to bed not long after dinner.