My very recent trip to Hamilton, NZ for a one day conference turned out to be a series of “events” one after the other.
Because I was flying from Adelaide to Melbourne to Auckland and then Hamilton, as I checked in with Virgin I asked, “Will this luggage be checked through to Hamilton?”
I arrive at Hamilton on what was the last incoming flight of the day. The carousel stops, the lights go off and I have no luggage. Helpful Shuttle Bus man Jim points me in the direction of someone who can help. “Did you pick your luggage up at Auckland?” “No, I was told it was going all the way through to Hamilton.” “You have to pick it up at Auckland to go through customs.” “No-one told me that.”
A phone call later and I was assured that my luggage would arrive on the next flight in at 12:00pm the next day. O.K. So I am only here for one day and the conference starts at 9am and goes until 3pm. I am given an overnight “Survival” kit which has all the essentials…except clean underwear!
In the morning a catch a taxi to the Uni where the conference was being held. Driven by a beautiful Iraqi refugee, who drops me off at gate 8. Yep, you guessed it. My Conference was at completely the opposite side of the Uni, down the hill and past two lakes. I arrive at 9:30am. Only half an hour late. Not bad considering I came all the way from Australia. But…my conference books, sticky note paper etc etc is in my luggage, so at morning tea I have to duck over and buy a new set of books etc.
Great conference! The Writing Book, workshop run by Louise Dempsey.
Back to hotel, bit of a walk around Hamilton. Very pleasant small city. Takeaway for tea, a bit of TV and off to sleep. That’s what I was hoping for…a bit of sleep. Room 510 next door were holding an orgy that went all night, after three complaints from other hotel guests they finally went quiet at 4:30am. In the morning I ask for a refund. I came here to sleep. Refund granted. I think. haven’t seen it yet.
Overnight, storms have hit N.Z. including Wellington which was my next destination in a smallish plane. Twenty minutes before arrival the captain tells us to make sure our seatbelts are on and prepare fro a rough ride. That was an understatement! But I was prepared…had taken 2 Stemetil before the flight. Survived but don’t really ever want to do that again.
Big plane to Sydney…20 minutes before landing the captain says, “I have bad news”. There were thunder storms in Sydney and the airport had been closed down so we were diverted to Brisbane. Another hour onto the flight.
Arrive Brisbane, are shepherded around by Virgin staff for 3 hours before they tell us they can’t get us on any flights and so we are rounded up and put on a 25 minute bus ride to a hotel in the city centre. No worries…at 9:30pm we are given vouchers for a meal and breakfast.
3:00am I wake up with diahorrea. I’m not going anywhere in a hurry the next morning!
At 10:30am I make my way to the airport and arrange my own direct flight back to Adelaide.
On the plane I am sitting with 3 young guys who have just got off 3 weeks work in the Pilliga on a gas rig and are on their way home to Adelaide for 3 weeks R and R. The funniest plane trip I have ever had. Laughed all the way. The boys were arrested by Federal Police on arrival to Adelaide! I know nothing!!!!!
A trip I will never forget.