Boots On The Ground

It has been a very interesting 24 hours. I’ve found out a lot of things I was not expecting, but mostly, I’ve found that there are things here that are much more than even I expected.

Yesterday, we landed at LAX due to a kid having a medical emergency. Stuff happens, and apparently things are good for him according to our co-pilot. That’s always good to hear. What was a surprise, however, was not long after we took off, the crew confirmed that they would “time out” before we got to Auckland. This meant that we would be landing and refueling in Nani, Fiji. No, seriously. We actually stayed on the plane again, but there was no contact to the world. A woman seated nearby and next to a window was able to get wifi at a local hotel for $15. Amazing what prices can be had when captive. I passed, knowing Auckland would be 3 hours away.

It was; we landed in Auckland, and I got my items. Because of the delay, the timing for customs was terrible. I was instructed to go to the domestic terminal and drop my bags. Two hours after landing, and one hour left, I got through customs. Inexplicably, I was given only 3 hours (I had 3 1/2 before, and early morning) to get through. The 10 minute walk to domestic was 20+ with 5 bags, and I went and dropped my bags. Well, 2 of 3. I was informed my golf bag was oversized and had to go across the way. The oversized bag attendant told me I had to re-check-in because of the rebook. The problem was that two bags were already on their way.

After that was sorted out, I was told to go through security. I had 11 minutes and had been called on the speakers three times already. Security then did a full bag screening, and decided that they needed to see a small pair of scissors. After unpacking, measuring the blade length, and having them handed back to me, I’d heard my name twice more. I am instructed to hustle up to the gate, and obviously it’s the farthest one. Quarter mile run, and I get to the gate. They take a long time to decide whether to put me on the flight, which astounds me, but they do. I’m sweaty, but I make it.

As soon as the seat belt sign goes off, I head to the bathroom with my carry-on bag. This is why you always bring a change of clothes in your carry-on; I changed everything I had on. I no longer smelled like a gymnasium towel. I also got to stand most of the flight.

For now, I’ll stop here. The next post will cover the rest of yesterday. In one sentence, the people here have thus far been incredibly nice to me. The only downside is McDonald’s doesn’t do drink refills here.