It was October 2012, and after a pleasant flight with Emirates we landed in New Zealand. We’ve got one longer overstop in Dubai and one short in Melbourne. The flight lasted about 32 hours which was the shortest one you can get from Vienna. On board we felt like in luxury hotel with all the professional service Emirates provide for customers, but after we got out of the plane we felt exhausted not from the lack of the sleep, but mostly from the excess of air-conditioning during the flight. Not to mention that unfortunately Radito has been sick with antibiotic treatment. And the lesson is, I’ll never enter the aircraft again so lightly dressed – jeans and t-shirt (even though we got a blanket and a warm socks provided on the plane it wasn’t enough for me).
The very different airport experience
As we’ve been deplaning we heard a cows mooing from the distance. Maybe we hear wrong, we thought. Later we’ve been walking through the arrival hall and passing around the window, we curiously looked out on the scenery. “What’s wrong with this picture?” flashed through my mind. We expected we’ll see the skyscrapers and the “civilization” of the biggest city of New Zealand. Instead, we saw the wide green pasture with the feeding cows and sheeps. Not very usual view even in the rural areas from where we are from. Especially not near the city.
So where are we gonna stay tonight?
Before our departure we didn’t book any hotel for our first night in Auckland from one reason which wasn’t very smart as we’d learnt later. We simply didn’t have time cause we left everything important for a last couple of days before departure. On the main hall we found a little corner with adverts of hotels with the phone to call them directly. We picked the Hotel International Travelers and they told us they are sending a driver to pick us up in 10 minutes. So we went outside to the pickup and drop of area and waited for the silver car. After 20 minutes no silver car was showing, so we went back inside to phone to hotel again. They said they are sending the driver NOW and we should wait for another 5 minutes. This scenario repeated once again, so you can imagine how frustrated we felt. Suddenly the silver car showed up and some arabic guy stepped out of the car. He looked very serious and it was a bit terrifying but it is sure just my prejudice, I thought, he’ll be nice when we’ll be on our way to the hotel. I was wrong. The driver didn’t smile and it would really help the situation if he would say a few words to us, but nothing! Instead, he remained silent and looked bothered.
What is worse than the worst?
When we arrived to the Hotel International Travellers it looked like a dump station from the outside. But we’ve been very tired and really wanted to go to bed as soon as possible so we walked in and headed to reception. Inside this place didn’t look like a dump station, it was dump station.The mouldy smell, obviously very bad maintenance, 10-years-closed restaurant on our left hand and poor interior, all of these signs we ignored simply because our eyelids were half-closed and the vision becoming blurry from tiredness. We came to the reception and two guys (including the driver) were behind the desk. Without any politeness and kindness we paid and got keys. Actually we felt that we are bothering them at most. I was flattered for this very “warm” welcome. Wait a minute, are we right in New Zealand?? Ironically, I can’t wait to see our room.
Voila – we opened the door to our room. Briefly, the shower was mouldy and dirty, toilet the same, stained and musty bed, dark room with the dirty window which was cracked and..wait, what? in the middle of the wall was a door to the next room. They were locked but we heard someone talking and coughing from that room… So we skipped the shower because it was way too disgusting to even think about it and went sleep. We also refused to lie in that bed so rolled out our sleeping bags and put them on the bed sheets. We stuffed ourselves in the sleeping bags and tried to sleep. Before I fell asleep I was thinking that maybe all of this was just a dream and when I wake up I’ll be still on the plane. Next morning we woke up (so apparently it wasn’t a dream), packed our things and went away as soon as it was possible. We caught a bus to the city centre, and from that time only the good things were waiting for us. 🙂
Later on, we found out that this hotel is based in the South Auckland, an area with the socio-economically disadvantage and the higher rate of violence and crime. What a lucky strike! When I recently checked this hotel on tripadvisor, I was horrified that not even does this hotel still exist, but their services remained the same and the customer reviews are similar or worse than ours. Despite all these complaints, hotel is still running their advertising scam for tourists. I’m very surprised that in such organized, clean and tourist-friendly country as a New Zealand, this is still tolerated.
© 2015 Independent Couple