Sunday, 30 August 2009

Travelog part X

28/8/09 8:07AM. Been awake for the past hour or so, am now up and mooching around. Keep hearing cars and thinking it's Anth but it's not. 8:14 - here he is! Seems there was nobody at the office. Odd.

8:19AM. Check out of motel and go to meet Anth's family. Lovely people :)

1:30PM. Head off to lunch and airport.

2:15PM. Over to the airport, farewell to Anthson. Check in and then fly to Denver and thence to Los Angeles.

9:09PM. Change timezones again, now blogging on Pacific Daylight Time. It is now 7:09PM, and I'm standing here waiting for our baggage. The landing announcement said that we were twenty minutes ahead of schedule, and she asked us to please remember this next time they were twenty minutes behind! (I applauded but it wasn't taken up by the other pax. :( ) So far, not much baggage has arrived. Passengers are beginning to gather, the carousel is turning, the incoming conveyer belt is stationary. Come on, bring on the bags; we have three hours till the next flight, I want to spend as much as possible of it on external power!

8:20PM. We hunted down Air NZ's checkin. Couldn't find them, so we asked an airport official. He pulls out a little reference card and informs us that they're in Terminal 2 - handy information! We're told that that's some distance away and round the corner... so off we go. Turns out it is a LOOOOONG way from Terminal 5 (where we were) to Terminal 2... ahh well. We arrive, and Air New Zealand move our things through at some efficiency. I like. Through customs much quicker than I was expecting, so we make our way to Gate 28 and, hooray, discover an open GPO. Wifi is all secured or hl-secured, but I have power. Yay!

10:05PM. We board Queenie. Stairs in an aircraft.... wheeee! We're not upstairs though. Incidentally, there's what looks like a private compartment underneath the stairs - for those passengers for whom "First Class" just isn't exclusive enough.

10:11PM. There's wifi on this plane!! It says "Sorry, the Gogo Inflight Internet service is currently down. Please try again later", so I will - specifically, when we're at altitude. I don't see any power outlets here though; I think I'll ask the crew - maybe they can do what Emirates did and take a laptop (or battery) to be charged in their station. It'd be more than a little cool to be blogging live from altitude - and sending pigeons home!

10:32PM. Pushback 10:42PM. Takeoff! Ooooh da power....

10:47PM. The usual PA announcement about what's happening. Today, the flight crew supervisor informs us that Air NZ is committed to the environment, and consequently would request that people retain and reuse their plastic cups; and also, that they'll be happy to fill people's water bottles. M: Yay!

10:53PM. No wifi detectable. Hmm.

Mmm. Dinner. They served the same cheese as last time, so now I know the name of it: Egmont.

1:27AM. (Still blogging on PDT.) Amazing that we've only been flying for three hours. Feels so lovely and at home here. I'm beginning to think that international flying is just way more fun than US domestic - the service is far better, the comfort levels are excellent, and you're on a plane with some real size to it - for instance, my backpack (Mont 40L, specifically specced to be within airline carry-on dimensions) fits in the overhead locker, not guaranteed on all the small craft that flit around the US. With Air NZ, I feel completely comfortable, but with Frontier I didn't, even though there was nothing specifically wrong with the service. There's something fun and lovely about this flight that calls to mind our days with Amtrak - sure, the cabin (in this case, seat) is small, but it's not a problem.

1:32AM. Having finished the above paragraph, I feel like a little sleep. You probably feel the same, now that you've read it. No wifi btw, so no sending pigeons down fram altitude. Guess what I found on the ground was actually from another aircraft parked next to us.

9:30AM. Changing to Auckland time, which is GMT+12 (no DST now, we're nearly home!). It is now 4:30AM. Breakfast has been served. Only a couple hours till we land in Auckland; and last time we came through, we had ethernet available but no wifi, so this time we've brought some cat 5 in hand luggage. After Auckland, two more timezones to cross and we're home... so it's now 2:30AM at home. (Actually, I'm not so sure now. Windows tells me NZ is on daylight time. This may and may not be correct - I've known Windows to be wrong on these things - but either way, it's 2:30AM at home, I'm pretty sure of that.)

6:28AM. Landed in Auckland, have come through security, and with an hour before our next flight, we park ourselves here. Unfortunately the wired ethernet isn't working; nobody knows who's in charge of it. Fortunately, though, I still have a login at the paid wifi that I used last time, so I can get online with that. Yay!

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