Monday, March 10, 2008

Shame I despise the music of John Denver

Off to New Zealand on Wednesday. Obviously, I am departing on a jet plane - or at least on a plane that travels with some considerable velocity across the sky - but I refuse to quote an obvious choice of couplet from the music of John Denver. Why? Well, I don't like the music of John Denver, for a start.

Also, I've just been watching YouTube clips of Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe and am now channeling his angry middle-aged duffer persona, unable to get his whining yet witty voice out of skull. Is there some kind of Brooker-exorcism available? No? Thought not. Moving on.

I depart the UK on Wednesday but don't arrive in New Zealand until Friday, thanks to the vagaries of international time zones and just how long it takes to travel halfway round the world. For a start, I have to get to Edinburgh airport - that's an hour gone. Have to reach the airport at least an hour before the plane's due to leave. That's two hours.

Assuming the flight in on time [ha! ha!], that's another 1.5 hours to Heathrow. The actual flying time is closer to 50 minutes, but you need to allow another 0.5 hours for circling round London and ten minutes while they drive halfway across the city to get from the runway to the terminal.

Then there's several hours of waiting at various Heathrow terminals - 3.5 to be precise - before boarding the flight to New Zealand. So that's seven hours to get on a plane in London. Next comes the big flight, with a stop at Hong Kong en route - that's twenty four and a half hours. Yes, it takes more than a day of real time to reach New Zealand from the UK.

Total traveling time to reach Auckland: about 31.5 hours, all going well. But we're than flying on to Christchurch, after one hour and 45 minutes switching from international to domestic terminals at Auckland. Throw in a flight of 80 minutes to Christchurch and that's 34 hours and five minutes.

But the fun still hasn't finished. After travelling for the best part of a day and a half inside tin cans or trapped inside airport terminals, there's still the joys of waiting for bags, clearing customs and immigration, and - finally - getting from Christchurch airport to a nice B&B in the centre of the city.

All in, somewhere around 36 hours of fun, fun, fun. No wonder people are always grumpy in airports. They're either just experienced a hellish journey or else still have a significant proportion of that journey looming ahead of them. Bleurgh.

On the plus side, by Friday I'll be savouring the late summer sunshine of New Zealand, rather than waking up to snowstorm as I did this morning. So 36 hours of torment is not that bad a trade for what awaits at the other end. Fingers crossed.

Today is about packing and preparation, knowing that without a doubt I'll forget something of significant importance. So long as I remember to take money, plastic, passport, driver's licence, iPod and comfortable walking boots, everything else can be replaced without too much trouble.

Plus I need to contact everybody who might get the sudden urge to offer me work and let them know why I'm out of contact for the next three and a half weeks. It'd be less of an issue if I could deduce how to set up an Out of Office reply for my Hotmail account, but that's beyond my puny brain.

I will be able to access emails occasionally in New Zealand, but am trying to cut the cord as much as possible. I won't get another holiday of this length for another five years in all likelihood, so best to enjoy the break as much I can. Come April 7th I'll be gagging for work, but now I just want to switch off.


potdoll said...

Hope you have a wonderful time. Sounds lush.

Anonymous said...

Cool! See this... Charlie Bishop video

Paul Campbell said...

Don't forget to clean your boots!

And I mean really clean them. Spotless.

I did much the same trip a while back and very nearly missed the connection to Christchurch because the NZ authorities deemed there to be too much mud on my walking boots. I'd cleaned them specially, but they took one look, bundled them into a plastic bag and took them off for decomtamination. It took nearly an hour as I recall.