We were bang on schedule as we approached Queenstown but because of heavy rain, the flight captain decided not to land just yet... instead he brought the aircraft into a holding position burning fuel for half an hour until it was safer to do so. As we touched down with the passengers in pin-drop silence, I could see airport emergency vehicles waiting with their siren lights flashing. I probably hadn't realised the gravity of the situation having a number of times landed in wetter conditions, in sturdier vessels perhaps. The pilot deserved an applause I thought, just like what an Arab pilot was given by a plane-load of Italians on a flight from Cairo to Rome I once was in.
The Kiwis are very nice people as I found out from the get-go. Customs/Immigrations greet you in the manner of tourist guides rather than officious uniformed personnel, and they profile you in a friendly conversational way. Well, since I had written my occupation as "housewife" on the disembarkation form there was nothing further to ask of me apart from my accommodation and transportation in NZ. However with Munie and hubby this was how it went.
Officer: So what are you working as Miss? (smiling)
Munie: Oh, I am a media producer.
Officer: Hmmm... that's very interesting. What do you do exactly?
Munie: I produce on-air promotions at a local TV station.
Officer: You're going to be very famous. And what do you do, sir? (still smiling)
Hubby: I'm in engineering.
Officer: Aha... may I know in which area would that be?
Officer: Chemical eh??
An American in the adjacent line was getting slightly annoyed at being questioned about his address in NZ. He will be staying at his son's apartment actually. Just then our officer vouched for the American saying he knows the son. Meanwhile I whispered to hubby that the officer is now on alert mode vis-a-vis hubby's occupation as a Chemical Engineer.
Officer: So what kind of chemicals do you work with, sir? (We had expected this)
Hubby: Oil and gas
Officer: Oil and gas eh?? ....OK (stamping hubby's passport)
Wishing us a pleasant stay in New Zealand, he wrote in bright red ink a big capital D on our respective disembarkation forms. We wondered what it meant... tourist? or terrorist? What with the body check in Sydney and this D grade in Queenstown, were we beginning to be just as paranoid as they?
Anyway, we were happy to see how unbusy the airport was. We bought some NZ currency with Singapore dollars and Euros, collected our pre-booked rental car from Budget, and with the aid of our Garmin GPS which I had loaded with a free NZ GPS map (obtained on-line) drove directly to the Four Seasons Motel in Queenstown which we had also pre-booked on-line.
After freshening up, we decided to explore the town, get something for dinner and next day's breakfast, and also do a rekkie of the bungy-jumping station for two dare-devils.