WE left Manila for New Zealand on Saturday, 9 Feb. The flight was slightly delayed in leaving, so we took off at around 8PM. Landed in Sydney after 7 hours or so, at around 6AM local time, and around 3AM manila time. Timmy slept through most of the trip. He woke up though at around 1AM manila time and didn't go back to sleep. So the last two hours were a bit hard as sol and I had to carry him (he would fight when we tried to hold him while sitting down).

When we landed in Sydney we were a bit confused as to where we were to pick up Timmy's stroller. After some walking around we were told that it would have been shipped through to Wellington. So we went off in search of diapers because Timmy had run out by then (multiple diaper leaks on the plane). There was a little pharmacy in the airport bookstore and they had diapers. That was a Godsend. We also got to change some USD for AUD. Which was just right since we needed to get some water and a snack.

Apparently, in my peregrinations in search of Timmy's stroller I had dropped (i.e., LOST!!!) my passport. I had no idea it was lost, so we were very relaxed while waiting for our connecting flight. Fortunately, someone found it and gave it to AU immigration, who tracked me down and sent it on to our connecting flight gate. So on net, everything worked out well. It could have been a bit of a nightmare though.

I was a little irritated at NAIA international (Manila) because at a security stop the body search guy ran across my envelope of dollars and, when I told him what it was, paused for a bit, trying for intimidation, I guess, and then winked at me and told me it was OK. Which it was, I'm familiar with the rules and we weren't violating any law. Winking and letting me go was fine, but he then started hinting loudly for a tip by saying "Kung Hei Fat Choy", which is the greeting for Chinese New Year.

I wasn't irritated enough to make a scene. I ignored him though, and remembered to blog about him. In fact, every time I've been through NAIA customs, I've never been shaken down for bribes. I've seen a lot of hinting for tips and gifts though. So, things have improved from 20 years ago, when bribery wasn't the name of the game, instead customs officials would extort money and gifts to let undeclared but taxable items through. But things aren't normal yet.

In contrast, Sydney was a joy, and Wellington, International, although a much smaller airport, was just as good. Customs were very efficient and helpful. They could have been more efficient if they'd opened our boxes. But they took our (truthful) word that we only had clothes and such in there. I had to fill up a currency import form for the dollars, but that I'd expected. And in fact, the customs officer actually filled most of it up. She did the math (converting USD to NZD amounts) and, when I took my time trying to understand what to write in the form, she went ahead and entered most of the numbers, leaving me to enter just passport information and signature.

We are staying at a home-stay. That is, with friends of a friend who has a spare room. We'll stay maybe for a week or two, then we'll search for and find our own apartment or small house. Timmy was a bit confused about sleep last night. He slept most of the night, but fitfully, sometimes waking up and crying. He did sleep through most of the night though. He's having his morning nap now. He's slept longer than he should, so I'll be waking him up and maybe he won't have his afternoon nap so that he'll sleep through tonight again. All together, he's sleeping pretty well. That was our main concern. He has no problems eating and walking around, but we can't tell him about sleep yet. He's already half adjusted though from last night. I expect that he'll be fine by tomorrow.

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