They say if you stand with one foot in a bucket if ice and your other foot in a bucket of boiling water, on average, you’re feeling pretty comfortable. Well, on average, our trip to the US today has been good.
It’s one of those three (well five actually) legged races where you travel all day, sometimes end up somewhere before you left the last place, and eventually find yourself more or less where you expected to be.
It starts like this. Our travelling companions for the next few weeks, who I’m still calling Wayne and Cathy to protect the innocent, are collecting us at 7:00 for the pre-start road trip to Brisbane airport, so we’re up, breakfasted and waiting before the earliest birds have even turned their thoughts to those worms. ….. We’re off. “Did you remember to turn the iron off?” “Yes dear, did you pack your iPad?” “Of course, but did you bring the chargers…..” and, so it starts.
… Fast forward three hours. We’ve reached the airport (early) done the bag drop thing, and are now relaxing at the gate. Boarding is delayed by a few minutes, but no biggie. … Slow forward another hour or so. We’re sitting in the plane looking out the window at, well, the other side of the same boarding gate. The pilot is giving his tenth update. “Hi folks, the good news is they have finally worked out how to open the emergency fuel cap and they’re now filling the plane with a hose and bucket. We should be underway in about forty five minutes.
… Fast forward four hours. Our Air NZ pilot has grabbed the chance to “see what this baby can do” and we’ve arrive in Aukland only about thirty minutes after schedule. Our connection is tight, so we join a group dash to the next gate (actually hard to dash when there’s no airbridges available and we need to bus ten minutes from plane to terminal, but you get the picture.) … Slow forward another two hours. We’re sitting in another parked plane. “Hi folks, they still seem to be having some trouble getting the fuel onboard. Oh, and we’ve had a minor medical emergency, so ….. only another forty minutes.”
… Fast forward twelve hours. We’ve again made quick time, and we’re ready to land in San Francisco. The clock says it’s five hours before we left Aukland but, hey, anything’s possible in the US ain’t it?
… Slow forward four more hours. We’re now sitting on the plane for our last flight, San Francisco to NewYork. Air NZ has subcontracted this bit to a United Airlines domestic service. Some things are the same – we’ve been sitting for a long while wondering when they’ll start the engines – some things are different – a couple of very young kids just wander on to the plane with no adult in sight, another guy keeps walking on and off muttering something about his wife not being here yet. The cabin attendants don’t seem to take any notice, probably seen it all before. At last we take off. Someone eventually turned up to claim the kids, but no sign of the missing wife.
… Slow forward one last time. We’re finally in New York. It’s about 3:00am local time, the day after we left (though 35 hours has actually elapsed, but who’s counting). We’ve been warned not to take anything but a yellow cab for our last leg – the drive into the city. We could easily speculate who else has had their first view of the Big Apple through these same windows, but, we’re done. They reckon this city never sleeps, but we definitely plan to.