Monday, 17 May 2010

NZ Holiday - Day 1 - The Airport/Customs/Flight/Airport/Customs Horror.

Our need to go on holiday coincided with the In-law’s similar need. We decided on NZ as it was being flogged mercilessly on the TV as a fantastic holiday destination, and the dollar conversion was favourable. Another plus - they almost speak the same language as us.

After a horrific, yet non-crashing flight from Mackay to Brisbane, a group of relatives on both sides of the family organised a combined catch-up, send-off, dinner for us. I got to play with my Nephew and found the getting up off the floor harder than getting down. (Getting old.)

The next day saw us at the airport were we managed to finesse our way through Customs in much the same way frightened sheep approach the slaughterhouse. (Except we were actually trying to get to the stony-eyed, humourless guards who weren’t going on holidays and didn’t see why we should be either.)

With my face now scanned and every nose hair counted, sanctimonious approval to leave the country is granted. We relaxed in the stinking cesspool also known as the International Departure Lounge where I bought a pair of magical ear-hole opening devices (ear-plugs with a hole in them) for $15. Yes, I am that desperate for relief.

Plane trip sucked but we didn't crash.

Got off the Flying Cylinder of Death in Christchurch. Grabbed duty-free bottles by feel and threw brightly coloured play money at the cashier before heading to...another line up. This line split many times, and we gravitated at the slowest possible pace in the slowest possible line each time we chose one. Hid my guilty conscience again and showed our passports to the same suspicious, dead-eyed clerks until we popped out in the baggage claim. Dead fricken last.

The baggage handlers looked tired but happy after beating the shit out of our bags. At least this time our baggage actually got on the same plane as us. Good baggage.

Then we lined up again.

Right now I’m wayyyy past my tolerance point (which is fairly non-existent anyway). Having to show and arrange all the little bits of meaningless paper over and over but in a different order each time and then getting it all stamped and bits torn-off coloured sheets with stickers and hole-punching; it was all grating my nerves like a crazy Italian chef with a huge piece of Parmesan. (Or something.)

Managed to punch and kick our way into second-last place and grabbed our bags from the baggage-irradiating machines. We were then greeted by our shuttle-bus driver who accosted me with a ‘Dunemann’ name-card. (Majority rules I guess. I’d walked past him looking for my limo.)

Despite being next-to-last out we waited a further half hour for the driver to herd together other, visually-challenged passengers, who were also looking for their limo’s.

Got to the Motel. Had venison at a nearby pub which was rather awesome. Tried every beer on the menu. Rushed back to the rooms to sample the duty-free Rum.

See Day 2- The Case of the Missing Hire Car.

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