United was pretty good about everything, despite being the underlying source of my misery. They gave me one $100 travel voucher to pay for my $67 hotel room, and they gave me another to pay for the fact that Air Pacific started levying charges at me.

Me: I’m here to check in for my flight!
Air New Zealand*: Hm. We… can’t handle you. Let me fetch the Air Pacific rep.
Me: Watch me just stand here!
Me: (10 minutes later) Um, Hello? Anybody?
Air Pacific Rep: *saunters out, sloth-like* Okay, you’re booked. That’ll be $100 for your flight change.
Me: Wait, what?
APR: $100. Cash. There’s an ATM right over there.
Me: Hey, wait – that was United’s fault, not mine.
APR: Yeah, about that – we don’t care. Also, you have to check in again in Fiji.
Me: *stares, baffled* ..Okay, jerk. But I need a receipt, seeing as you only take cash, even though you are an airline, which makes me suspect you are jerking my chain and you are going to go buy yourself a new pair of shoes as soon as I leave. They had better not try to charge me in Fiji.
APR: *handwrites receipt on what might actually be scrap paper.*
Me: Okay, okay, so my luggage will be there, right?
APR: About that – I’ve no idea. It’s a tossup!
Me: How about you find out.
APR: No. You’re gonna go, and it’ll be there, or not. And if it’s not, you’re shit out of luck!
Me: I hate you SO HARD.

*Air Pacific only flies every OTHER day, so they shuffled me off to ANZ, who were pretty reasonable about it, except for taking 10 million years to deal with me.

There was another girl in the airport who flew Southwest, whose response to her being charged extra said basically “Hey, we got you to LA. It might have been late, but we got you there. Everything else is on you.” Mental note: never fly SW when connecting to international flights.

But then I flew to Fiji, and everything was sunny and gorgeous there and incredibly mountainous. As I stepped off the plane, I was greeted by a four man band, in hawaiian shirts and skirts, with guitars and mini-guitars (ukuleles, maybe?) and cheerful smiles.

If LAX had cheerful smily live musicians, I would have liked it a hell of a lot more.

I got to Auckland, and discovered that – as I had half suspected – I had no luggage. Air New Zealand was pretty good about it, taking all my info and giving me a “We lost your shit! Our bad!” consolation pack, which included various toiletries and an XL tee. They checked it through customs and delivered it right to my hostel, which was great (round trip to the airport costs about NZ$25, and I didn’t really wanna pay that.)

The hostel – Base Backpackers – is pretty awesome. Clean, friendly. If anybody’s coming to Auckland anytime soon, it’s a pretty good place to stay. The internet is kind of dodgy, and they don’t have wireless, but otherwise it’s pretty good.