Jan 14


by in Drawing & Writing

It was straight back to Queenstown, with a pit-stop at a kiosk/convenience store. Having been away from that stuff for four days, it didn’t really appeal to me… until Antje came back with two ice cream bars, three bags of chips, and two ginger ales. Whoa! And YUUUUU-MMMMY!

In Queenstown we drank too much coffee, ate too much food, had one beer too many. It was perfect.

Our flight took off at 2PM, heading north to Auckland. Down below, a lake drifted by with an island in the middle. Lake Wanaka!

“Lake Wana-naka,
we hold you in our heart!
And when we think about you,
It makes us wanna ________!”*

That’s where we’d kayaked and spent New Year’s with Robbie and Rebecca, and watched a catamaraner lose his money; next the captain announced that Mt. Cook was on the right-hand side, and sure enough, there was the mountain we’d watched turn orange with a bottle of wine in Twizel; behind Mt. Cook was Lake Tekapo, with the Mt. John Observatory somewhere on top. Maybe we could see Christchurch…?

The reminiscing was interrupted by the worst turbulence I can remember, and the kind Antje, who hates flying, will hopefully soon forget. The airplane was small, much too small – the dreaded Boeing 666!? – and the wings kept flapping with each and every elevator drop. No one was injured, but it was bad enough that I remember thinking, “I should’ve emailed my parents that we were on this flight.” Then we broke through the clouds, and all the shaking was over in an instant. To calm Antje, I ordered her a 4-euro airplane Heineken, and my 9-year-old seat neighbor found this entire transaction very fascinating, start-to-finish.

This flight, with New Zealand’s low-cost “Jetstar”, was the only flight that day, and had originally been scheduled for 10AM. They’d sent an email a while back explaining that it’d been changed to 2PM, and that it was totally, totally OK if we wanted to cancel our flight, no questions asked, everything refunded IN FULL, seriously no problem.

Um, that doesn’t help.

People usually book a flight first. After that they lock in accommodation and transportation, and after that, excursions. The delayed flight meant a missed bus, the last of the day, and the first domino in a series that resulted in a missed dive-trip.

Everything was refundable, but the dive was one of the world’s ten best, and Jacques Cousteau’s personal favorite.

So with regard this “We changed your flight time” phenomenon that seems to be happening more, rather than less, here’s two votes for seeing that go away, immediately, through legislation, in the next congressional session. Otherwise, where are we headed?

“Dear Passenger,

Your flight has been moved to yesterday.

Where were you?

Low-cost carrier”

So, instead of diving, we got an extra night in Auckland. And, for the first time on this trip – and almost ever, for us – we stayed in a real HOTEL.

We’d almost forgotten about this world, with its piles of white towels and little refrigerators with cold candy bars and room service and a pool with an exercise room and a sauna and a cocktail bar and a helpful concierge next to the business center.

Checkout time was 11AM, an hour later than the hostels.

And 11AM is when we checked out.

* Modified Nickelodeon theme song. The missing word begins with ‘f’


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One Response to “Jetstar”

  1. From Mark:

    Just finished catching up. Milford sound trek sounds like heaven on earth. Hope you are feeling better Antje, I had that happen 6 miles into a 13.1 mile race, I finished but will always remember wondering if the race would end or my knee would lock up. Glad you retired the boots. Sorry you missed the great diving trip, but from your writings, I can imagine you will both return for more adventures. Maybe you and Antje will be like the 73 yr old grandpa returning to show the next generation the beauties of New Zealand.

    We are in Everett, Dillon making fire truck cookies with Brooke (Leo ate 6 of them when Brooke was out of the room), Liam is teething and Megan is singing a,bc..now I know my abc’s. trying to get him to nap. The first snow is falling,sticking to the ground. Children across the street are throwing it at their mom as she takes pictures of them. My piece of heaven for today.

    Looking forward to more of your beautiful stories and beautiful drawings and pictures. They are amazing and for me complete the whole story , both are excellent , awesome together .

    Posted on January 15, 2012 at 00:32 #