After a whole 24+ of crying I finally went through departures, my heart breaking for my husband that I left behind.
I was sitting on the plane, surprised that it isn’t the usual fully packed plane, a seat beside me that was free and a whole row opposite. I was wondering how I might blag more space when a stewardess came to me and explained how my mum had contacted the airline and told them I was travelling alone and asked could they look after me. They said she had asked them to provide champagne so as a good will gesture they were also upgrading me to a sky couch!
I almost wept as I explained how I had to leave my husband in the UK as I emigrated to New Zealand to take up a new job.
Sky couch is a whole row of three seats to yourself, but they also have leg rests that raised level with the seats to make a bed style thing. How wonderful! That’s solved my old lady bent knee problem! (And got me away from the young girls on their way to Vegas, with a bag full of crinkly sweet packets!)
After a long time of meaning to, I watched Life of Pi.
The absolutely lovely stewardess explained how mum called and asked for a cake, they have all sorts of restrictions on food stuffs and she was going to buy one herself but was not allowed. She gave me an ice cream dessert from business class and a glass of champagne, (as well as the skycouch) and said she would email mum to let her know that they did do something for me. Thank you that wonderful staff member Jenny Rice.
It wasn’t till I visited the toilet a few times that I realised there was humour in the book case wallpaper: ‘insiders guide to nude ski resorts by Seymour butts’ and the guide to Ariel Hitchhiking!
8946km, LA reached, less than half way! 😦 land 7pm- I have gone back in time it’s 3 am in London !
Sat 13 April
Where I am sitting its still Friday evening, and where I am headed it is coming into Sunday, and where I came from its Saturday! The fun of crossing the international date line! Los Angeles airport was boring, we walked round in a circle through three doors so we could pass through immigration and get finger printed and retinal scanned, all this we were supposed to work out for ourselves because there were no ground staff! Then we were left to sit in a tiny departure lounge for an hour. I was pleasantly surprised to see there was free wifi, if not a little temperamental to get connected to it and stay connected! I got chatting to a guy while standing in one of the many lines, who was British (sounding) called Geoff, who lives in Invercargill, he was giving me a few tips on housing etc. Small world! He was taking the same series of connecting flights. The baggage checks were a little random, a woman wandered around with scales checking cabin baggage for weight. I began to panic knowing mine was slightly over. I didn’t volunteer mine like everyone else did, well, she only came past once, I could have been anywhere, in a cafe, the loo or wherever. I expected to be nailed later but no, that was it!
Flight no2: 12:30 and 10400km!
I was told to ‘make myself known’ to the staff, which I did. Very early on I was offered an empty row of seats over the bulkhead. No sky couch but certainly better than my regular seat, and I know you normally have to pay more to sit in an exit row seat! Who was I escaping this time? Two large Americans who were discussing how they were going to maximise the order from seat facility and get drunk!
This flight seemed longer and more boring than the last: it took me a while to get to sleep (because this time my body clock wasn’t agreeing that it was night time!) I found myself checking the movies wondering which ones I might watch on the way back… Wait a minute, this isn’t a RETURN journey! It also seemed odd ticking different boxes on the visa declaration form, how long will you stay? Permanently! I watched Skyfall this time which I have wanted to see for a while.
Although sleep wasn’t that easy to get due to my screwed up bodyclock, I was relaxing nicely with eyes closed, until about 1:30am NZ time when a man brought a screaming baby to the bulkhead to walk back and forth, and it screamed for about 2 hours. I could have committed murder!
I decided to give up trying so watched. les Miserables the film instead. I haven’t seen the film, read the book or watched the west end show so I had no idea of the story and didn’t know how I would feel about a singing film, but it was pretty good, very heart wrenching story. (Perhaps not the best thing for me to be watching!)
Sunday 14 April
Auckland was a blur. The 2 hour comfortable connection turned into a nightmare. We had to collect and then check back in all the luggage, but the delayed luggage carousel started a nightmare chain of events. We ended up too late to pre check baggage and had to carry ALL of it the ten min walk to the domestic terminal, making it to gate with literally a minute to spare. I seriously thought I would miss the flight. Thanks Geoff, another ex pat who helped me with all the luggage.
A lovely lady called Helen was sat next to me, Chinese / American / kiwi from Invercargill, who shared contact details.
You would think the worst was over but apparently not. The plane circled the skies above Christchurch for 30 minutes and the pilot told us that unless the fog cleared soon, we would be sent back to Auckland. All sorts of nightmares flooded to mind including being stranded, standing up poor Karen waiting for me in Invercargill, missing my first day at work and a million other things. But, we were given permission to labs just in time.
This is the impressive view for the full length of South Island.
Christchurch was about only one thing: locating Vodafone and getting a NZ SIM card. This took literally 3 minutes. I was so excited that I could now communicate with the UK and more importantly with Mark. A cuppa and a sit down (for longer than expected!) as the domestic flight on the titchy tiny plane was delayed.
It was nothing to be excited about because it was a tin can plane with a flight of steps that flopped down for you to climb up from the Tarmac!
The flight crew had a fold out seat for take off and when he sat on it he was practically sitting in my knee! The door behind him revealed the luggage! You know you’re doomed when they offer you tea and ask do you want a lid?!
At long last, after a mammoth 33 hours and 4 planes, I finally landed in Invercargill on Sunday at 13:30, 33.45 hours after I set off!