06.01.2009 - 06.01.2009 25 °C
6th January 2009
Despite running through my head at least ten times the expected timing for getting my flight to New Zealand this morning, I must have had the biggest mental block ever as I seem to lose time everywhere. I miss the first train by a minute to Central, then I miss the airport train. When I finally reach the airport, my check in desk has to be the furthest away - about a mile from where I arrive. Typical!
I get there and join the queue for what has to be the slowest check-in ever. The more agitated I get, the more time seems to run away. I can hear my Dad's voice ringing through my head - something about being late for my own funeral! I get to the front of the queue as they're calling the last check-in for my flight. I relax.... But then I'm told that my e-ticket isn't enough evidence for New Zealand Authorities and that I'll have to get something printed from the service desk. I realise that with 30 minutes to go until my flight goes, that I'm not going to get chance for some breakfast, a relaxed look at duty free or..... will this woman ever get off her headset phone?? The Air New Zealand Service Desk agent doesn't even acknowledge me standing there for an age which irritates me immensely and appears to be busy booking someone onto a flight in two weeks time. I mean, hello? isn't there a call centre that can do this for you?? When she finally does look up and I mouth 'please, help!', I get a "I'm on the phone" short shrift.
I honestly feel that this could be my day to get violent. In my head I play out a 'monster-in-law' style scene of me grabbing her by the collar and hitting her on the head with a frying pan. Then I realise, I'm checked in, this flight will have to wait and when the despatcher is asked why the flight is late going, I can put up my hand and say that it is this idiotic, rude "call yourself Customer Service" desk girl. In the words of Donald Trump / Alan Sugar... "you're fired". Air New Zealand / Sydney Airport staff (the latter I suspect), have not made my day at all!
I finally get my slip of paper (I really don't see what all the fuss is about) and run through security where a butch security woman has it in her head that she must use her powers to annoy me even further. This time the offending article is my 100ml toothpaste - clearly contraband material! Despite it clearly being in a plastic bag and only 100ml, she is intent on taking it. Now, not that I'm emotional about keeping my toothpaste you understand but its the principle of the matter and after Little Miss Rude, I'm not taking any prisoners. Thankfully for her, my fine thread emotional state is detected by another security guard who offers to help me sort my hand luggage out and tells me to hide the afore-mentioned toothpaste quickly. "Have a nice flight miss, you take care" and that was my faith restored! But, I don't have time to exchange pleasantries, they're final calling my plane.
And that is how you leave Australia in style!!
A few hours later and the South Island of New Zealand stretches out below me. I can't see much because of the cloud cover but as we near Christchurch I feel more like I'm landing in Shannon - its also overcast!!
I take an airport shuttle over to the YHA and am amazed on my journey to see the river, parks and architecture. Saying that this place resembles England is a joke - its more English!!
After checking in, I decide on a walk around the City - very easy to navigate and helped by the drop in temperature from Sydney. I stop off at an Irish pub / restaurant for a guinness and some hotpot! You know it makes sense!!