I like tourist sites. There, I said it. I don’t know why that’s so controversial. I guess, as a world-renowned travel blogger (using the terms “world-renowned” and “travel blogger” loosely), I’m supposed to be a contrarian and tell you not to go to a restaurant in Paris that has an English translation of their menu. To avoid Times Square if you’ve already been. To “get out of the tourist area” to “live like the locals”. I don’t get it.
So hopefully everyone’s finally figured out the irony of the title of this trip report, in that I didn’t really ever make an effort to see or do anything particularly Middle Earth-ish on this trip. Next time, I guess. But anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed everything thus far. This part has been a joy to write, because everything was simply fantastic. Thanks for your patience and your wonderful comments. The Plan As a quick review (explained more thoroughly in the preview for this trip report), I built this trip around First Class availability on the Qantas A380 for the long-haul between Sydney and Los Angeles. The cost was 72,500 AAdvantage miles and a relatively small amount of fees (American doesn’t charge fuel surcharges on Qantas flights). In order to maximize the value of the ticket, I booked my return flight starting in Christchurch with a one-night layover in Sydney, followed by the long flight back to the City of Angels, then onward back to Dallas for a whopping 3 days rest until I left again for a work trip. Getting out of Christchurch I had a restless night of sleep after being followed and passed slowly by the same SUV full of guys yelling at me while walking down a mostly unlit street in a so-so area of Christchurch. I’m a big and relatively strong guy, and it takes a lot to make me feel threatened, but this was full-on fight/flight feelings. I always joke about my two-step process for… read more