Downstairs, checkout was at 12pm, which I feel is a much more civilized hour than the usual 10.am we’re given in New Zealand. So we checked out, stashed our luggage in their luggage ‘room’ – which was actually the room without a door close to reception, and not actually all that secure, considering I could have just wandered in and fiddled with any of the luggage in there – then lazed around on their delicious couches, gazing up at the rich swathes of material pinned with Moroccan lanterns. I think it was about the most relaxed last day I’ve ever had overseas.
At the airport, where we handed over the last of our mangosteins to the taxi driver, we played on the moving sidewalks and floated around on the clouds of perfume testers trialled at the expensive perfume counters. Not being a commercial perfume user, I didn’t realise that they had wee pieces of paper to test them on, so I probably stuck out like a high-class skunk to passers-by… We ate our last Thai meal at ‘The Spawn’ and set out to ogle all the things we now couldn’t afford – such is the way one spends ones time at international airports until boarding time.
Going through Customs, I somehow managed to set of the metal detector. The woman made me spread my arms while she passed the detector over my torso, then I fessed up about my toerings. She looked at my snake backbone necklace and said ‘What is that!?’ ‘Erm, it’s bone.’ I said. ‘It’s snake isn’t it??!!’ demanded She. I nodded, then surprisingly She let the matter go and sent me over to her female counterparts, who all came to a halt and fawned all over my purple monster-toe shoes. I KNEW they’d come in handy. Heh heh. A cunning distraction.
Back on the plane and the downhill journey back to New Zealand. Isn’t it interesting how it’s faster to get home than it is to leave there? The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel movie helped pass the time for a while, but the rest of the night I spent fidgeting and moving around, due to the relative cold and the pain in my scrunched up legs.
Somehow Customs didn’t see the snake backbone necklace that was in plain sight under the scarf around my neck, and they didn’t seem that interested in the potential for traces of elephant dung on any of my clothing, so it was fairly smooth sailing through the green doors and into New Zealand, where I could once again breath in fresh, crisp air, eat cheese, use my phone to text people, and understand what was written on the side of groceries.
So I have returned, am still alive and kicking and didn’t sneak one single live elephant into the country, contrary to what quite a few of my email recipients presumed I would do. I’ll be writing about my experience at the Elephant Nature Park and attempting to put some photos up on my blog or somewhere shortly. I’ll let you know.